FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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.

How do I volunteer?

There are many, many organization, 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, in other parts of Maine and even other states, is through unitedwaygp.org/volunteer.

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.

Does United Way send a lot of money to its national office?

United Way of Greater Portland is a member of United Way Worldwide and pays dues equal to approximately 1% of the amount we raise during our annual campaign. United Way Worldwide is a national organization that functions much  like a trade association and provides support to help local United Ways. Some of the membership benefits include: training credits, materials discounts, market reports, fund-raising reports and data, access to national organizations with coordinated fund-raising, staff and volunteer training programs and group purchasing discounts.

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.

How do I know United Way is financially accountable for its actions?

United Way of Greater Portland is an independent organization serving the people of our community. We are committed to being the most efficient and effective community builder possible, while upholding high standards of professionalism, accountability and ethics.

Our organization is accountable for its actions by working with committed volunteer leaders in our community, developing and implementing fair and thoughtful policies, and having our books audited every year by a local, independent firm. This ensures that our financial statements are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. We strive to meet the philanthropic goals of the Greater Portland community by being fair, honest and effective. To view our most recent Annual Report and audited financial statements, click here.

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.

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.