Administrative Costs & Value for Donor Dollars
A recent Topeka Capital-Journal article reported on the administrative costs of the United Way of Topeka. Our administrative costs are less than 15 percent of each donor dollar. Compare this to the IRS guideline that no more than 35 percent of a charitable organization’s donations should be spent on administrative costs.
The article reported a 7.45 percent figure for pledges made but not receaved. These are dollars that were pledged, but not received due to employees moving out of town, changing jobs or being laid off. Dollars not received cannot be disbursed to organizations. In an effort to be transparent, the United Way reported to agencies this year the percentage of uncollected pledges. This is not money that was withheld. It is money never collected.
While the United Way has always been proud to have one of the lowest administrative costs among nonprofit organizations, in our April 23 update, we chose to focus on the outstanding value you receive through your donation to United Way. The funds that we invest in the community empower individuals to be self-sufficient, productive citizens who will one day be able to make their own donations to help others.
This information was supplied to the reporter both by phone during the interview for the story and again by follow-up email.
Look for future updates from United Way on our blog under the News/Events section at www.unitedwaytopeka.org.
Donor Update - 4/23/2013
As a donor to United Way, you can directly enhance the lives of individuals and help bring about positive change in our community. We greatly value your support, so in light of some recent news coverage, we’d like to update you on our refined focus:
Our core mission has not changed. We exist to solve problems that improve people’s lives and our community. We believe in the potential of every human being to improve or succeed. By partnering with other organizations, the United Way makes it possible to reach individuals who would not otherwise receive services.
To illustrate our progress we’d like to share a story from the mother of a Pine Ridge Prep student. Pine Ridge Prep is a partnership between the Topeka Housing Authority, Topeka Public Schools and United Way. The mother sent a letter thanking agencies because her son can get an education close to home, because she is receiving parenting skills training, and because the presence of the center has had a positive impact on a dangerous neighborhood.
“I was on the verge of giving up,” she wrote. “Just you caring, you gave me hope.”
Through the work of hundreds of volunteers along with its staff, United Way brings outstanding value to the donor for their investment into the community. For example:
- The $5,000 per year that the United Way gives to VITA to help people prepare their tax returns brings $10,422,713 into our community.
- The United Way partners to provide quality childcare for children at high risk of failing. Statistics show that for every dollar invested in early education our community reaps a benefit of seven dollars.
In an effort to make sustainable change in the communities we serve, the Board of Directors of the United Way of Greater Topeka adopted a new model which refines its focus with measurable goals that start with root causes and outcomes to ultimately create a more vital, more stable and more livable community.
We focus on education, income and health. Kids who start school ready to learn stay on track, experience personal success and grow up to strengthen our workforce. Increasing the financial stability of families and individuals dramatically improves the quality of life for everyone in our community. Reducing obesity and substance abuse speaks to the guaranteed health and wellness of our community.
This focused model creates a level playing field where community organizations can apply for funding through a competitive grant process with review and funding decisions made by community volunteers. As part of this transformation, agencies were given two years and, in some cases, three years to develop programs that could meet the new funding criteria or find alternative funding for their programs.
Out of 32 agencies previously funded by United Way, only five did not receive funding. In addition, seven new agencies did receive funding, enabling the United Way to invest even resources on achieving the goals for sustainable community improvement. To learn more about how your dollars are helping improve our community, visit www.unitedwaytopeka.org and visit “Community Impact.”
Thank you for your support of United Way. In supporting United Way, you are supporting people in your local community.
Should you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Kent Townsend Todd Fleischer
Board Chairman Communications Chairman