Donor Information and Policies
The Mission of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County is to bring people, organizations, and resources together to create systemic community change. The annual campaign is United Way's primary vehicle for raising funds and offers the entire community an opportunity to contribute financial resources toward the achievement of United Way's mission.
Below are United Way's donor policies along with other important information.
Table of Contents (click on any heading to move to that section)
There are several ways an individual or corporate donor can pay their pledge:
2) Check - made payable to United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
3) Credit Card - If using a paper pledge card, an invoice will be mailed to the donor's mailing address to secure this confidential information. Credit card payments are accepted online for those companies using our e-Pledge and via uwbec.org for those contributing outside a workplace campaign.
4) Direct Debit - a direct debit form will be mailed directly to the donor's home or mailing address to secure the donor's checking or savings account number, the donor's bank's routing number, and the account holder's name. Direct debit payments are debited from the donor's bank account on the 15th of the month, as directed by the donor (monthly, quarterly, annually).
5) Payroll deduction - Payroll deduction is the easiest and most convenient way of paying a pledge. This option is available only to donors giving through their workplace campaign. By signing the United Way pledge form, or submitting a pledge online through the workplace campaign, the donor authorizes his or her employer's payroll department to deduct a certain amount from his or her paycheck on a pre-determined schedule. The amount deducted is then remitted to the United Way by the donor's employer.
6) Electronic Fund Transfer - this payment option is reserved for companies and other organizations to remit payment to the United Way for their corporate pledge and/or United Way deductions withheld from their employees' paychecks.
7) Stocks or Securities - there are two ways to donate securities:
a) Via broker - the donor's broker should initiate a transfer of the gifted securities to United Way of Buffalo & Erie County's brokerage account as follows:
Firm: First Clearing
Account Title: United Way of Buffalo and Erie County
b) Via stock certificate - issue a stock certificate naming the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County as the owner of a specific number of stocks being donated. The original stock certificate can be picked up by a United Way representative or mailed directly to the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County's finance office.
Whichever option donor may choose, the date of the gift is the date the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County becomes the true owner of the donated securities. For income tax purposes, the deduction value is the mean between the high and low quoted selling prices on the date of the gift.
Within a month of receiving a pledge, regardless of the payment method, United Way sends a thank you letter or card to the address provided by the donor. This communication also lists any agency or agencies designated by the donor to receive all or part of the donor's contribution. As noted in the following section, this letter might be needed if the donor itemizes deductions on his or her tax return, and should, therefore, be retained with other important tax documents.
Occasionally, there are reasonable delays in transmitting pledge information from the workplace to the United Way. In any case, the United Way will send donor the Thank You and acknowledgment letter within a month from the date when United Way receives the pledge from the donor's workplace.
1) Undesignated gifts make the biggest Impact in our local community. Funds are directed to local programs that address our community's most significant needs in the areas of education, financial stability, and health & wellness.
4) Some employers may have an arrangement with the United Way where their employees can continue or carry over their previous campaign year's pledge to the most current campaign year, as well as into a new calendar/tax year (if a payroll deduction pledge). The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County’s annual “campaign year” runs according to our fiscal year, which is April 1 – March 31 (the largest portion of pledges arrive between August and December of each year). In the past, for employee donations that continued, resumed, or “rolled over” their gift to a new campaign year, the United Way did not presume that a donor had the same designation intentions, therefore left their contribution as undesignated, which is distributed to our locally funded partners. However, due to the ever-changing times, we are offering this courtesy starting the 2020 General Campaign for donor workplace campaigns. In these cases, donors shall also check with their employer to be sure they can carry over their previous campaign year’s agency designation(s), or if they are to complete a new paper pledge form, or submit a new pledge through our online e-Pledge. Charity designations are also dependent on other factors, such as current agency eligibility. Still, the best way to ensure contact, pledge, and designation information are all entered correctly, is for donors to complete a new pledge annually, whether online or via a paper pledge form. It ensures we are getting the information directly from the donor each year.
i.) It is not feasible to maintain donor level payment information on company payroll accounts. To serve our donors and agencies in the most efficient, systematic, and cost-effective way, our system is designed to calculate the amount to be paid to agencies based on the overall collection experience at the company level. As an example: ABC Company remitted 94% payment of the total payroll pledges. The balance of 6% is due to employee turnover. United Way will then pay all agencies designated by ABC employees 94% of the total dollars designated to them, minus our cost-recovery charge cited below, based on our payout policies and procedures.
The United Way, like every other not-for-profit and for-profit organization, has functional expenses associated with its operations. For us, these could include program service expenses for grants to funded member agencies, utilities, insurance, employee salaries and wages, benefits and contributions, payroll taxes, equipment rental/maintenance, office expenses, bank/credit card and third-party processing fees, independent contractor charges, affiliated organization dues and subscriptions, meetings and conferences, education, etc. For our fiscal year ending March 31, 2020, these expenses amounted to 15.66% of our revenues, which include pledges to the annual campaign. For our 2023 General Campaign, we have an administrative and fundraising cost-recovery charge of seven percent (7%) on donor-designated contributions, to partially offset the amount of running and processing a charitable giving campaign.
Thank you for entrusting the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County with your charitable dollars. We are grateful for your generosity and will continue to uphold the highest standards of stewardship as we work to improve the quality of life in Erie County.