Designation Policy

The following information applies only to gifts processed by Greater Twin Cities United Way (hereafter “United Way”).

Making a gift to United Way is the most effective way to help our whole community. United Way attacks poverty’s root causes through 10 measurable goals and provides solutions that are interconnected, so that people most in need have the best chance of success.

Making a Designation

United Way understands that some donors choose to direct a portion of their gift to a specific agency. Although we process these donor-directed contributions as a service to our donors, United Way is unable to guarantee how designated funds to a specific agency will be used or ensure measurable results by the recipient agency. Any agency receiving designations must be a 501(c)(3) organization and must comply with the United States Patriot Act by submitting the proper documentation to United Way.

If you wish to make a designation to a specific organization, the following is required:

  • Confirm that the agency you wish to donate to is a legally recognized 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization by visiting Guidestar, or contact your designated agency.
  • Specify the designation amount.
  • Provide complete agency information, including the name, street address, city and state to ensure that your designated gift goes to the right agency—many have similar names.
  • Submit designation information at the time of the pledge.

Agency Payments and Acknowledgment

Designations made to our partner agencies are sent in addition to any existing program funding provided by United Way.

Pledges made through payroll deduction are paid to agencies quarterly beginning in March. One-fourth of each designated payroll deduction gift is paid during the year in March, June, September and December.

Gifts paid by cash, check, credit card or stock are distributed to designated agencies in the next scheduled designation payout.

Donor names and gift details are forwarded to designated agencies unless the donor chooses to remain anonymous, or if an employer does not provide United Way with detailed donor gift information.

Administrative and Fundraising Costs

Approximately 12 percent of all gifts is used to cover the costs of fundraising, collecting, processing and distributing donations. The percentage will vary slightly from year to year between 11.5 percent and 12.5 percent. The Charities Review Council’s recommended range for administrative and fundraising costs is 10 percent to 30 percent for responsible charities. Visit Charities Review Council for more information.

For complete financials, please refer to our Financials page.


If You Give by Payroll Deduction

United Way can only distribute dollars that are actually collected. Therefore, on payroll gifts additional costs are subtracted to cover the loss of uncollected pledges.

United Way is given a lump sum from employers versus individual checks and thus is unable to know specifically which payroll pledges are unfulfilled.

Based on prior experience, United Way assumes that 2.5 percent of all payroll deduction pledges will not be fulfilled.

If You Give by Cash, Check, Credit/Debit Card or Stock:

If you give by cash, check, credit/debit card or stock, the 2.5 percent uncollectible allowance does not apply.