It felt good giving our time to our United Way this year. When we learned that United Way raised 20% more donations compared with last year's teacher workplace donations, we were reminded why we do this: Results. (The warm fuzzy isn't bad either. )
The great thing about the United Way is that they vet the charitable agencies that receive the community's money. For months, in fact, a panel of trained community volunteers dig deep to learn which agencies best guarantee that the money given them will be best used to achieve its goals. Three panels in the areas of Health, Education and Financial Stability visit sites, review financial statements, goals stated, goals achieved and then deliberate on the information gathered in order to distribute the funds to the most deserving agencies.
Trouble is, most people don't know that the United Way does this. So when it comes to choosing which charity to donate to, most people tend to give to a cause that gives them the warm/fuzzy good feeling rather than to agencies that can best benefit the community.
Full disclosure: My husband is the CFO of the United Way of Escambia County, so I've known about this conundrum for years, but only recently have I offered our own video production services to tackle the problem.
So this is the start. Two days ago, we crashed a reception given to United Way's Community Investment panelists and lured them into a quick interview with us to talk about the process. The board approved their fund distribution choices last night, and the winning agencies will be awarded the funds on June 25th, 2015. We most likely will film some of this event, however it's our goal to film the process from the beginning in 2016, starting in February, following the panel to site visits, filming their deliberations, and creating a moving and informative documentary on the entire process to present next year at the event itself. Our mission is to shine light on the power of giving through the United Way. We've talked about doing it for years now. Sometimes, you've just got to do it. This is the start. Take a look. And stay tuned for much more along the way.
Thank you to all of you who donate, volunteer and advocate for charities, and especially for the United Way.