United Way of Dane County often receives questions from the public about our organization’s practices, policies and process. Please see the list of frequently asked questions below to learn more:

Where does the money go?

86% goes to organizations and programs tackling the greatest needs in our community, helping neighbors access the building blocks of well-being – a quality education, family-supporting job and health supports. To learn more about how we make our funding decisions, visit our investment process webpage.

14% goes administrative costs and fundraising. This small portion of the money raised goes towards maintaining a professional staff that monitors and evaluates financial effectiveness (including reporting and receipting), works to define strategic priorities, engage the community and secure tech systems and a healthy work environment. Volunteer committees provide oversight to all staff functions.

I heard United Way keeps all the money because of high overhead costs. Is that true?

No. In fact, only 14% of funds raised go towards administrative costs. United Way’s financial oversight is led by a volunteer Finance and Audit committee and the Board of Directors, comprised of esteemed community leaders – and accountability and transparency are core values of ours. In fact, Charity Navigator rates United Way of Dane County with 4 stars, placing us in the top 2% of rated charities in the U.S. for the 11th year in a row! All financials are public.

Why wouldn’t I give directly to a nonprofit and not through a “middle man”?

At United way of Dane County, it is our job to coordinate and amplify your impact, so that you know your money is making the biggest difference it possibly can. Through strategic partnerships with hundreds of local agencies, businesses and local government, we work collaboratively to bring the many voices of Dane County together to find common ground and develop a strategic architecture for change. We know there are a lot of great services and programs you could donate to – our role is to coordinate efforts to amplify our collective impact and tackle the root causes of issues in our community.

By looking at our community through a comprehensive, data-driven lens, we’re able to maximize your philanthropic investment and fund effective strategies that change systems and, in turn, lives.

How do Madison Community Foundation and United Way of Dane County work together?

Madison Community Foundation and United Way of Dane County have worked together on this document to explain our partnership and our points of difference.