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United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is serious about public trust. We manage our donor funds in a professional and accountable manner.
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The United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is one of almost 1,300 autonomous 501(c)(3) United Way organizations in our country. As our mission is to Build a Better Community, we are a “community building” organization that raises funds through an annual campaign and invests financial and other resources in both short and long term solutions. We're governed by a volunteer board of directors who live and work in Tucson and Southern Arizona.
The communities that make up United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona’s service area include the communities of Tucson, Oro Valley, Saddlebrooke, Marana, Green Valley, Sahuarita and Vail.
The United Way system has guidelines for reporting campaign results and for calculating overhead.
These guidelines are documented and detailed in the following publications:
Functional Expenses and Overhead Reporting Guidelines for United Way’s Campaign Reporting and Spending Guidelines (available upon request).
These guidelines are under continual review and periodic assessment by both United Way of America and member United Way organizations. The ever-changing environment in which we work, coupled with donor requirements, warrants a continuously renewed dedication to standards that exceed public expectations.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants states that program expenses that deliver services to the community are not considered overhead. This is commonly misunderstood. In fact, some expenses are directly attributed to valued (direct or indirect) services to the community. For United Ways these services could include Information and Referral, public policy activities, volunteer development, and community needs assessment. United Way's proactive adherence to Functional Expenses and Overhead Reporting Guidelines makes us an industry leader in terms of donor-responsiveness, consistency, and clarity regarding the questions and concerns of efficiency, costs, and value to our communities.
No one number or percentage can ever define operating efficiency for organizations as diverse as those in the philanthropic arena, in general, or for almost 1,300 United Ways. However, several organizations have defined what they consider to be "acceptable" overhead rates, which is one measure of efficiency:
- Better Business Bureau acceptable overhead rate - 35%
- Federal Guidelines (CFC Campaign) - 25%
- United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona- 15% (average last three years)
United Way understands that donors are concerned about the cost of fundraising and other expenses. In that regard, United Way continually strive for efficiency without sacrificing service to the community.