Frequently Asked Questions
- Will United Way automatically renew my pledge from last year?
No, if you wish to make a contribution you must elect to make a new one each year.
- For tax purposes, what year will my pledge be deductible?
If your pledge is made through payroll, it will count as a charitable deduction when you do your taxes for next year. However, if you are giving by credit card or check before the end of this year, you may designate that your contribution count as a charitable deduction when you do your taxes for this year or next year.
- Where do I obtain a pledge form?
A 2019 pledge form is available Here!. A 2020 pledge form will become available with the start of the 2020 campaign.
- How do I make a contribution online using the ePledge system?
Make a contribution online using the ePledge system through the University of Michigan Wolverine Access page; the link is located in the “Announcement Section” of the Faculty/Staff page. The ePledge system will be available Fall 2019.
- What user id and password do I use to access the ePledge system?
You may sign-in to the U-M United Way ePledge system using your U-M unique name and password.
- What do I do if I am having trouble accessing the ePledge system?
If you are having any trouble please call the U-M United Way coordinator, Debbie Schilz at 734-763-3109 to assist you.
- How do I use the ePledge system if I am a retiree?
If you would like to make your pledge using the ePledge system, as a retiree you will need to contact Susan Smith at 734-677-7227 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- How do I know my pledge went through in the ePledge system?
If you provided your email, when your pledge is accepted through the ePledge system you will receive a confirmation email that also serves as your tax receipt.
- If I need to check on my pledge, whom do I contact?
Please call the U-M United Way coordinator, Debbie Schilz at 734-763-3109 to assist you.
- To whom can I designate?
Any 501(c)(3) agency or organization is eligible. When donating via the pledge form, you will write-in the agency name. When donating online via the ePledge system, you will use the agency search tool to locate the agency. If they are not listed, you may enter an agency name and address when prompted to do so.
- Are there a maximum number of designations that I can make?
Yes, but only when using the ePledge system that allows a maximum of 12 agency designations per pledge. If a donor wants to designate more than 12 agencies, via the ePledge system, you should contact Debbie Schilz at 734-763-3109 to assist you. When donating via the pledge form, there are no limitations on the number of agency designations.
- When splitting a designation between different agencies, do I use the amount per month or total amount per year?
The amount that you designate for each designation is the total amount per year.
- Where does my money go if I don’t designate my contribution?
Any contribution that is not designated will be allocated to the Community Investment Fund that supports education, income and health efforts in the community.
- If I designate my contribution to agencies other than United Way agencies, how much of my gift is actually forwarded?
The forwarded amount is 87.1%. The United Way of Washtenaw County deducts 12.9% from each designation to cover costs of collection, development, advertising, and administration of the campaign. For example, using WTVS as an example, the 12.9% for administrative and fundraising costs is far less than all but a few non-profit organizations in the state.
The Better Business Bureau recommends charities spend no more than 35% on overhead.
- How soon and/or often will an agency receive my designated funds?
Unless the organization has an electronic funds transfer arrangement with United Way of Washtenaw County, they will receive employee designated funds by check up to two times per year. Rather than the added expense of processing a check for small amounts of money every single month, they process those small amounts after a number of months of collection have taken place. If the organization enrolls in electronic funds transfers, they will receive designated funds up to four times per year.
- Does a donor have the ability to enter multiple pledges using the ePledge system?
Donors can make as many pledges as they want.
- Can I do a payroll deduction for less than 12 months?
Yes, it is sometimes necessary when someone knows that they will retire before the end of the year or when they have a seasonal appointment, for example. During the ePledge process you enter the number of months. On the pledge form you write in the months next to the amount.
- When will the deductions start from my paycheck?
Deductions will begin January of next year and once each month after that.
- Can I give stock for my United Way contribution?
Yes, on your pledge form indicate that this is a securities contribution. To do the actual transfer call the United Way of Washtenaw County at (734) 677-7212 to make the arrangements. They will inform the U-M United Way office of the amount. Click here for stock donation instructions.
- How much did I give to the campaign last year?
If you are using the ePledge System, simply click on the link “History” which will show your giving history to the U-M United Way campaign
- Why isn’t my giving history showing up in the ePledge system?
If you indicated in the past you would like your information to remain anonymous, your contact information was not released to United Way of Washtenaw County and not uploaded to their system.
- What is the United Way of Washtenaw County’s policy regarding donor information and privacy issues?
United Way of Washtenaw County uses your information only for its intended business purpose and will not sell or trade your information with any other organizations. They have contracts with third-party service providers (who help them with administration, data storage, mailing, printing and other services) who must adhere to strict confidentiality and security agreements. They do however, allow access of your information to auditors and other third parties as mandated by regulatory requirements.
The only other outside party with access to your information, which is limited to name, address and amount, is the recipient of any funds contributed by you, and only if during the pledge process you agreed to release your information. This information allows the recipient agency to send a thank you message to you for your gift.
- How do I submit my pledge form?
Using U-M Campus mail or regular mail, complete and forward your pledge form to:
U-M Charitable Gift Office
6080 Fleming Administration Building
503 Thompson Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1340
- How do I receive a receipt for my 2019 contribution?
If you are using a pledge form to make your contribution, make a copy of the form before mailing/faxing it to the U-M United Way campaign office.
If you are using the ePledge system to make your contribution, you will automatically be emailed a copy of your receipt if you supply your email address.
- How do I receive a receipt for my contribution from previous years?
To obtain a receipt for your contribution from previous years, contact Susan Smith at 734-677-7277 or email@example.com
- How does more than one person receive acknowledgement for a Leadership Giver donation?
If donating using the ePledge system, enter both names in the space provided on the “review your information” page. If there are more than two people to acknowledge, please notify the U-M Charitable Gift Office at 734-763-3109.
- What if a couple works at U-M in different departments, how do both their departments get credit and at the same time how do they qualify for the Leadership Giver designation?
If a couple is donating and both are U-M employees and they each want their departments credited for the donation, please split the gift and notify Debbie Schilz at 734-763-3109 that the gift should be combined and acknowledged together for the Leadership Givers designation.
- I want to add to/edit my pledge, can I do that?
Yes, you can. If you want to edit your pledge during the same month you can edit your transaction by logging into the ePledge system through Wolverine Access, enter your unique name and password. From the home page, under My Account select History. In the Quick Summary section, you should see your gift total and a pencil icon. Click the pencil to bring you to your 2018 Transactions. Click the magnifying glass to see the Details. At the bottom, there is an Update button. You can now go back through the pledge process and make any changes necessary. When finished, click Confirm and you will receive a new confirmation with your saved changes.
If you are having issues editing your pledge or it is past the month of your original pledge, please send an email to Susan Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, employee ID, and the changes you need and she will make those changes.
Occasionally United Way volunteers may have to address challenging topics. Here are some subjects that may require attention during the course of the campaign.
- The United Way is not very visible in our department.
The United Way expends a considerable amount of energy creating visibility for the good work that it does in the community. We need the support of corporate and community leaders to re-energize the workforce to compliment the huge amount of media attention the United Way generates from the positive force in delivering free services to individuals in Washtenaw County in following six areas:
- Healthcare + Nutrition
- Housing + Homelessness
- Early Childhood
- School-Aged Youth
- Financial Stability
- United Way administrative costs are a turn-off to their fundraising activities.
The United Way of Washtenaw County operates very efficiently raising $5 million per year and has only a 12.3% administrative expense for all staff, marketing, external audits of finances and fundraising activities. This is remarkably low, and it is one of the reasons why it is beneficial to give to the United Way as opposed to giving to multiple charities. In addition, for the 5th year in a row, the Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked the United Way as the #1 charity in the world. Their influence in Washtenaw County with coordinated funding has been viewed as a groundbreaking
The Better Business Bureau recommends charities spend no more than 35% on overhead.
- Employees want to give to individual charities, and do not want give to one centralized organization.
The United Way of Washtenaw County, through its designation program, can redirect funds to any named non-profit. By giving to the United Way, we raise the profile of all of the agencies in the Washtenaw County area, and by getting people to give collectively; we energize the workforce, which increases the participation rates, and contribution rates as well. Local non-profits are currently promoting the United Way campaign because they can leverage United Way gifts to obtain federal, state, and county grants.
- Some of my employees do not live in Washtenaw County, and are reluctant to give money to a community where they do not live.
The United Way and most charities suggest and recommend that employees give where they work. If all agencies and employees do the same, then every community will be well attended to. Moreover, giving where you work simplifies administration so that local charities where you work are not trying to redirect funds to agencies with whom they may not be familiar outside of the county where they are based. It is more efficient to give where you work, and it is a rule that has been applied consistently by the United Way for many years. In addition, employees that are passionate about designating to their local United Way can easily do so through this campaign.
- This is a tough economic time. We do not feel right asking our employees to make a charitable contribution to the United Way at this time.
Even in tough economic times, employees and associates still feel the need to support the local nonprofits and charities. In fact, it is during these times of economic hardships that the need is greatest, and therefore, the need to make people aware of the tremendous need of the community is required. Americans have a tremendous history of stepping up to big challenges and helping their neighbor, especially in dire economic times. We just need to give our employees the opportunity to support our community.
- It is easier just to give money to an individual charity as opposed to making a contribution to the United Way.
Individual designations can go to the United Way. United Way would prefer to see designations go to the general fund so these contributions can be allocated based upon strategic planning and the alignment of core agencies around key funding tenets. It is actually easier to administer one organization like the United Way either through payroll deductions or through the United Way’s online giving website
- We allow our employees to decide where they want to make their contributions. It is not the job of our company to do that.
It is our belief that employees want their companies to take the lead in setting the tone for fundraising because it energizes the workforce and it demonstrates that companies care about the community they work in and are not just driven by profits. By taking a leadership role and fostering consideration of the United Way — we never want employees pressured in any manner –- companies increase employee sensitivity to local concerns. Strengthening the community is a task that we all share because trying to have a healthy company in an unhealthy community adds a level of complexity and challenge in today’s very competitive world.