I’m not United

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Ugh.  It’s that time of year again- the United Way fund raising season.  For only $2 a week out of my paycheck I can do so many amazing things.  Um no, I’ll pass.

I’m not anti-charity. My current employer holds annual fundraisers for several other organizations each year- including events for our local food bank and animal shelter- that I happily participate in.  I give to my church. I put money in as many Salvation Army red kettles as I can.  I buy cookies, popcorn, pizzas, etc. from kids raising money for Cub Scouts, choir trips, baseball uniforms or any any number of other things kids raise money for these days.  But I have not ever nor will I ever give money to the United Way.

Why such hostility towards the United Way?  I have a long list of reasons, but I’ll stick to the top three.

#1 I don’t doubt most of the people who work for United Way are truly good hearted individuals who want to help others.  But they do have a large payroll and have been criticized many times for being too “top heavy”, with their administration costs eat up a significant percentage of the donations they receive. There have also been many reports over the years of monies be embezzled or simply stolen by United Way workers and/ or volunteers.  I’m not naive enough to think no other charity has problems, but the United Way seems to have had more than their fair share.

#2 The United Way is relentless.  Charitable giving should be from the heart and voluntary.  Yet every single fund raising kick off I’ve attended for the United Way at four completely different employers has been so pressure-filled it’s completely turned me off.  At one company I was almost made to feel that my job was on the line! This cannot be a coincidence, especially when none those same employers used any of the same tactics for any of the other charities they were involved with.  Clearly the United Way is encouraging this sort of presentation.

#3 The United Way loves to give awards.  Lots of big, shiny trophies are awarded every year.  And businesses love to display them in their lobby or other public area so everyone else can see how charitable they are.  Not only do I find this really tacky, but trophies aren’t cheap.  How many people thought they were helping battered women or hungry kids but really just helped pay for someone else’s vanity piece?


So, thanks but no thanks.  I’ll sit this one out.

1 thought on “I’m not United

  1. Sara Broers

    Great point. I have always struggled with trophies and such for charitable work. And I must say, you are definitely doing your share of charity work within your community.


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