Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does United Way of Greenville County do?

We bring people and resources together to fight for long-term solutions that help individuals and families build a Cycle of Success, where (1) all children start school prepared to learn and go on to graduate, (2) well-educated graduates find good jobs and create stable homes, and (3) children from stable homes continue the cycle by starting school on track and prepared for success.

2. What makes United Way different from other nonprofit organizations? 

Rather than focusing on a single agency or issue, your gift is strategically invested into a partnership of programs and initiatives that work hand-in-hand to create solutions to many of our communities most difficult problems—problems that no single organization can solve on its own. As a funder, partner and convener, United Way of Greenville County works with the entire community to build resources, focus investments, and foster partnerships that create lasting solutions to big community problems.  

3. How does United Way maximize the impact of my contribution?

United Way of Greenville County is committed to maximizing the impact that every dollar you contribute has on our community. United Way staff study the best practices in other communities and use the latest available research to help ensure donor dollars are being strategically invested with the greatest opportunity for return on investment. They also leverage donor contributions by securing additional grant dollars and resources. For every dollar you contribute another $1.27 in grants and resources is secured, creating a community investment of $2.27.  

4. How many people were helped by United Way and its supporters in the past year? 

Last year, more than 133,000 people benefited from the programs and initiatives your contributions make possible: more than 100,000 people received assistance with basic needs, a critical first step in being better prepared to begin a Cycle of Success; and more than 29,000 people advanced along the Cycle of Success though improvement in one or more of three key areas: School Readiness, High School Graduation, or Financial Stability.

5. Does United Way of Greenville County have a formal financial audit procedure? 

An annual audit of United Way’s financial statements is conducted by an independent, certified public accountant whose examination complies with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS), and in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Volunteer finance and audit committees monitor all aspects of the organization’s finances and audit relationships to ensure United Way adheres to the highest standards of financial accountability. United Way is in compliance with all state and federal laws. Financials are posted at unitedwaygc.org.

6. What were the results of the 2016 United Way campaign in Greenville County?

In 2016, United Way raised $16,536,964. 32,000 individuals and 650 companies contributed.

7. How much of the money raised by United Way is used for administrative purposes? 

Only 15% is used for fundraising and administration. United Way is this efficient because community support keeps costs to a minimum—including extensive volunteer leadership, executives "loaned" by companies, in-kind public service advertising and more. 

8. Who makes program investment decisions? 

Volunteers and staff work together to determine which portfolio of programs in which to invest. Decisions are based on those programs that demonstrate the ability to advance people along the Cycle of Success and the positive community changes they create. 

9. Who may receive program funding from United Way of Greenville County? 

Any tax-exempt, nonprofit organization that conducts health or human service programs in Greenville County may apply. Programs are funded on a three-year cycle based on factors designed to ensure the greatest return on investment for the 32,000+ donors who support United Way. Factors include: 1) Ability to achieve measureable and meaningful results; 2) Strategic alignment with United Way’s priority issue areas; 3) Effective use of resources; and 4) creating a culture of continuous learning. The United Way Board of Trustees makes the final decisions on all allocations. 

10. Can I designate my United Way donation to specific agencies? 

Yes, but keep in mind that United Way volunteers ensure that contributions are invested to help build a Cycle of Success in Greenville County (see no. 1). However, if a United Way-funded agency or other nonprofit health and human service 501(c)(3) organization is especially important to you, you can designate your gift by completing both a pledge card and a Donor Designation Form available from your campaign coordinator or the United Way office. A minimum designation of $25 is required. If you make an online contribution, you can designate your gift by following the instructions and completing the required information in the designation section. 

11. Do donor designations to specific agencies affect program investment decisions? 

No. Program investment funding decisions are made by volunteers without knowledge of which agencies received donor-designated contributions. They are treated as separate streams of income with neither affecting the other. There is a fee of 16% for the processing of donor-designated dollars. There is no fee for a designation to other United Ways in Upstate SC.

12. If I give through payroll deduction, do I need to keep a copy of my pledge? 

Yes. IRS regulations require individuals giving through payroll deductions to show a copy of their pledge form and documentation from their employer with their charitable deduction noted on it. This is required for anyone who itemizes charitable contributions on their income tax return. United Way of Greenville County's printed pledge card includes a tear-off stub that provides the information required by the IRS. This stub of the printed pledge card, a copy of the entire printed form, or a printout of your pledge receipt if you contributed online should be kept for tax records. 

13. My spouse and I both work. Why should we both give?  

United Way asks individuals to contribute according to salary and ability. If both spouses work, each is asked to consider participating in their company’s workplace campaign. Even though they may work at different places, couples whose combined giving exceeds $1,000 are eligible for dual membership in The Palmetto Society.

14. What is The Palmetto Society? 

Donors who contribute $1,000 or more are recognized as Palmetto Society members. There are many opportunities for networking through a variety of events, and through targeted initiatives for African American Leadership, Women’s Leadership and Young Philanthropists.

15. If I stop working or leave the company where I made my donation, what happens to my pledge? 

Should you stop working, your payroll deduction pledge stops, too. Your pledge is made in good faith based upon your employment. When you start a new job, ask to sign up for payroll deduction again, or call us for further options. 

16. What if I live in another county? 

United Way asks people to give where they work, but services can be used where they work or live. If you wish, you may designate your gift to United Way in the county where you live by completing a Donor Choice Form.

17. Someone I know didn’t receive help from an agency supported by United Way. Why? 

To find out why, we need to get the facts: names, dates, and all pertinent information. Then, call United Way at 467-3509 and we will fully explore the concern.

18. Why do some agencies charge for services? 

Agencies supported by United Way serve all of us. If there is a fee for service, it is usually based on one’s ability to pay, and represents another source of income for the agency. This is necessary because United Way cannot cover the full cost of every agency’s operation.  

19. How does United Way support the Boy Scouts?  

United Way of Greenville County funds Boy Scouts of America, Blue Ridge Council, at a level of approximately $118,000. This includes investment funding of $90,000 and donor-directed gifts of more than $28,000. United Way volunteers who guide investment decisions recommend investing in the Boy Scouts because youth benefit from participating in safe, structured life skills programs.

20. Does United Way support Planned Parenthood or agencies/programs that promote abortion? 

All funding decisions regarding programs and initiatives supported by United Way of Greenville County are made right here and led by a board of local volunteers. United Way of Greenville County has no relationship with Planned Parenthood and does not fund Planned Parenthood. Additionally, none of the programs and initiatives funded by United Way of Greenville County promote, endorse, or make referrals on abortion.  

21. What is the relationship between United Way of Greenville County & United Way Worldwide? 

United Way of Greenville County is autonomous and managed by local volunteers. United Way Worldwide is a national training and service center serving local United Ways across the country. United Way of Greenville County pays membership dues to United Way Worldwide in return for services that include use of the United Way name and logo, market research, promotional items, national/NFL advertising, and training for staff. United Way Worldwide does not govern United Way of Greenville County. Led by a board of local volunteers, all funding and leadership decisions for United Way of Greenville County are made here. The $210,880 paid by United Way of Greenville County to United Way Worldwide for services are part of United Way of Greenville County’s overall fundraising and administrative costs (see no. 7).

22. How many individuals work at United Way? 

United Way employs 53 people in a combination of full-time and part-time roles to provide leadership in fundraising, community planning and programs, grant writing, financial administration, communications, information & referral, and volunteer engagement. Staff also recruit and engage more than 1,300 volunteers during the year, effectively utilizing their expertise to further the mission and work of United Way. Specific questions should be directed to Ted Hendry, president of United Way of Greenville County at (864) 467-3333.

23. How does United Way pay for events and luncheons? 

Volunteers are asked to pay for lunches. Local companies provide event sponsorships to help offset the cost of recognition and cultivation events for donors.

24. What is United Way 2-1-1? 2-1-1 is a 24/7 information and referral line? 

Callers speak with a counselor who provides free, confidential referrals to hundreds of local programs that assist with counseling, job training, emergency assistance and other needs. 2-1-1 is also the number to call to access United Way’s VITA program (see no. 25). United Way 2-1-1 counselors responded to 21,000 calls in the past year.

25. Does United Way really provide free tax preparation services? 

Yes. United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free tax preparation services to people with a household income of $53,000 or less. This year, more than 10,300 returns were completed for Upstate taxpayers, generating $12 million in tax return dollars. VITA participants received $3.3 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), while collectively saving an estimated $1.5 million in tax preparation fees.

26. What is the OnTrack Greenville Middle Grades Success Initiative?

Conceived by United Way and strategic partners, OnTrack Greenville is an unprecedented community initiative that is leveraging data and relationships to keep middle school students on track to high school graduation. OnTrack Greenville partners identify the challenges and barriers students face and mobilize the school and community around students and families. OnTrack Greenville is focused in the high-need schools serving students in the White Horse community: Berea, Lakeview and Tanglewood middle schools, and Greenville Early College. The long-term goal is to provide an effective model that can be expanded to other schools and other communities.

27. What is United Way Hands On Greenville and how can it help me get involved? 

United Way Hands On Greenville links volunteers with rewarding opportunities and champions volunteerism and community engagement. In the past year, 8,637 volunteers donated 41,000 hours of service, resulting in $1 million in economic impact for our community in 2016. Opportunities to volunteer are available year round. To learn more, visit handsongreenville.org.

28. How can I get updates on United Way’s work throughout the year? 

To start, we suggest you visit unitedwaygc.org and sign up to get our quarterly newsletter. Also, like us on Facebook (facebook.com/unitedwaygc), or follow us on Twitter (@UWGreenvilleSC) or Instagram (uwgreenvillesc).