Frequently Asked Questions
Transparency is of the utmost importance to us at Greater Twin Cities United Way. We’re always here to answer any questions you may have about our organization or the work we do. Below are responses to some of the inquiries we get most often.
About the Greater Twin Cities United Way
What does Greater Twin Cities United Way do?
United Way is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) agency that fuels lasting change in our community by uniting changemakers, advocating for social good and developing solutions to address the challenges no one can solve alone.
Learn about the roles we play in our community here.
Why does United Way do this work?
We live in a world where divisions, disparity and poverty affect everyone. There are many ways to solve problems, but when we unite as changemakers we can disrupt systems, unlock human potential, change narratives, create equitable solutions and advocate for policies that result in lasting change.
What challenges do you address?
We strive to create a community where all thrive regardless of income, race or place. To do this, we work with partners to change inequitable housing, food, education and employment systems so they’re available to everyone.
Learn about our impact areas here.
Who does Greater Twin Cities United Way serve?
We support our neighbors across Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott and western Washington counties to help ensure they all have their basic needs met.
What’s the difference between United Way and other nonprofits?
We are uniquely positioned to address challenges no one can solve alone in order to create lasting change throughout the Greater Twin Cities. We draw from our best minds, seeking wisdom and insight from changemakers across the community, including those who have lived experience in the issues we address and people most impacted by systemic inequities. Together with these and other changemakers — volunteers, hundreds of business and nonprofit partners, organizational leaders, and policymakers — we fuel broad, systemic changes that will lead to a community where all thrive.
Language and Terminology
What is a changemaker?
A changemaker is a person or organization that sees the problems in the world around them, identifies solutions and courageously takes action to transform their communities.
What do you mean by "income, race or place"?
Income level, race and zip code often predict a person’s ability to reach their full potential. We’re focused on helping everyone access stable housing, healthy and culturally relevant food, a strong education and family-sustaining jobs.
How do I become a business partner?
There are many opportunities to work with the Greater Twin Cities United Way as a business of any size. You can learn about these opportunities here.
How do I volunteer to help United Way?
Many opportunities are available to volunteer with Greater Twin Cities United Way and our community partners. You can stay informed about upcoming opportunities, learn about customizing a volunteer experience or get matched with community needs here.
How do I inquire about jobs at United Way?
What is the 211 resource helpline?
Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 211 resource helpline — available 24/7 and in 100+ languages — is staffed by certified, trained community resource specialists. Caring specialists answer the calls, texts and chats and provide guidance as well as information and referrals to resources and services, including housing, food, childcare, education and employment. 211 specialists leverage 40,000+ statewide resources, address 52 urgent needs every hour and provide approximately 460,000 referrals per year.
How can I access 211?
How much of the money raised is used for administrative purposes?
We use 19 cents of every dollar to run the organization, which compares favorably to the nonprofit sector. However, what’s most important is the impact we are having in the Greater Twin Cities by working together. Your investment in United Way provides tangible results in our community by:
- Providing 460,000+ 211 helpline referrals to human service needs.
- Providing financial support to 100 nonprofits on the frontlines of serving the community.
- Building the nonprofit sector’s infrastructure and capacity.
- Unlocking millions in state funding and influencing legislation to support those most vulnerable.
- Engaging volunteers to support 65,000+ individuals in areas such as food, education, job training and housing.
According to the Charities Review Council of Minnesota, a nonprofit is using contributions responsibly if overhead is limited to 30 percent or less of total donations. Other watchdog groups use 40 percent as an acceptable standard.
United Way has received the Charities Review Council of Minnesota’s “Meets All Standards” seal for meeting all 27 of the Council’s Accountability standards.
How much of the money raised stays in the Greater Twin Cities community?
We pay a membership contribution for the rights to use the name and logo, and support broader community impact goals through United Way Worldwide, an umbrella organization that addresses the same challenges on a national and global level, and provides guidance, training and development services to local United Ways. These dues are less than 1.5 percent of each dollar contributed.
Contributions raised in our nine-county service area stay here and decisions about which programs to invest in and which partnerships to pursue are made here in our local community.
How do you choose which nonprofit organizations to invest in?
Investment decisions depend on the scope of the project and donor intent. Generally, knowledgeable volunteers and experts from our community as well as Greater Twin Cities United Way staff screen and select the nonprofits funded by your contribution. Their recommendations are reviewed and approved by our volunteer board of directors.
Our Community Impact team works with our grantees in a number of ways to ensure donor intent, ensure outcomes are achieved, and amplify grantee stories and successes. We publish our progress in our annual Community Impact Report so our donors know the impact of their contributions in our community.
Who runs Greater Twin Cities United Way?
Our staff and senior leadership team work with knowledgeable, well-trained volunteers who represent our diverse community. They carry out the planning and implementation of United Way functions.
A volunteer board of directors sets policy and strategic direction.
Various volunteer committees oversee financial practices and provide counsel on operational issues.
Our volunteer network is a key reason why our administrative and fundraising costs are among the lowest of any nonprofit.
United Way Worldwide
How are United Ways connected globally?
There are 1,800 community-based United Ways cross the globe and each is separately incorporated and independently governed by local volunteers. Many of these organizations are similar in their mission and structure, but some are very different.
How do I find my local United Way?
There are more than 1,400 United Ways in the U.S. Greater Twin Cities United Way helps people in Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott and western Washington counties. You can find a United Way in your area here.