Why should I support United Way?
Your support of United Way of Greater Portland is the most powerful investment you can make in our community. No other single organization has the scope, expertise, and influence to bring together hundreds of human services agencies, government, businesses, private foundations, and dedicated volunteers around a common vision of creating maximum impact and achieving long-lasting results.
What's the difference between United Way and other nonprofits?
Making a gift to United Way is the most effective way to help our whole community. Our unique ability to work across complex issues with hundreds of community partners is unmatched.
We mobilize volunteers and convene partner agencies, corporations, community leaders, and policymakers to make broad, systemic changes like no other organization can on its own.
Our programs help people in crisis get back on their feet, help prevent future problems, and build a stronger community for all of us.
How do I volunteer?
There are many, many organizations, from school programs to parks and recreation and community ed programs, that need volunteers. An easy way to find volunteer opportunities here in the Greater Portland area is to search the Volunteer Greater Portland website.
How do I advocate?
We all advocate informally when we talk about what’s important to us. With United Way, you can also do a bit of formal advocacy by speaking out on issues that affect the whole community. Look for our position papers and policy updates here.
Who decides how you invest in the community?
Knowledgeable volunteers and experts from our community carefully screen and select the programs funded by your contribution. Their recommendations are reviewed and approved by our volunteer board of directors.
What's the difference between designated and undesignated gifts?
A designated gift restricts your gift to a specific 501(c)3 organization. An undesignated gift takes advantage of United Way’s thorough, research-based program selection that gets the money to the issues and areas that need it most.This allows you to help the most people and do the most good for our entire community.
Why would I want to give an undesignated gift?
An undesignated gift to United Way allows you to help more people than a gift to a single agency could. Our community’s problems are interrelated and only United Way’s diversity of programs work to address the interrelated and complex causes of poverty in a way that no single agency can.
Can I give directly to my favorite charity through United Way?
You can designate your gift to a specific health and human service, nonprofit agency in Maine, but when you choose United Way as your partner in giving, you choose the best way to achieve results and make a difference right here in our region. Your gift does more than just support people who are in urgent need right now — you also support meaningful, lasting change that impacts the entire community.
If I designate my pledge to a specific charity, will it be counted against that agency during the allocations process?
Community investment panels are not given designation information when they make their funding decisions. However, because a designated dollar can only be spent on that particular agency, it decreases the total available for United Way to strategically invest, thus decreasing the total allocations to all agencies.
Does United Way support religious agencies?
There are some religiously affiliated organizations that provide human care programs. United Way policy prohibits the direct support of churches but does support church-sponsored organizations that are providing social services.
What if I’m afraid to commit to a pledge because of the economy?
There is no question that people are nervous about the economy, and yet, there is also no question that the need is greater than ever. As people sit down to make their pledge this year, we hope they will remember the thousands of people who need their help. A contribution, whether it’s $1 a week or a Leaders’ Circle gift of $1,000 per year, will be a valuable gift to the Greater Portland community. With everyone doing a little bit to help, we can keep our community healthy and thriving.