On Wednesday, November 4, 2015, the Tallahassee Democrat reported troubling news about Solix, Inc. a New Jersey-based, for-profit organization selected by the Department of Management Services to administer the State’s annual employee charitable contribution campaign. The facts laid out in the Democrat’s article reveal a cautionary tale of what can happen when outside, for-profit entities lead campaign community fundraising campaigns. However, it also provides us with an opportunity to underscore the value of what United Way of the Big Bend (UWBB) brings to the table.

While not a traditional business, non-profits like UWBB are not immune from the costs of overhead. With that said, the 29% attributed in the article is inaccurate. (We have provided a detailed explanation here.) Paying professional staff to fundraise and provide fiscal oversight of our agency partners as well as keeping the lights on are essential costs that every charitable organization incurs – including those you fund directly. UWBB’s overhead fee is 17.5%. Operations costs account for 8.5% of this amount and the remaining 9% is our cost for fundraising. To put those numbers into perspective, it’s important to understand three important facts.

  1. Our overhead is lower than most charities.
  2. We can raise funds at a lower cost than most non-profits, removing a large and expensive part of our partner agencies’ overhead burden.
  3. An administrative fee can only be charged once. This means that agencies cannot apply their own administrative fee to your UWBB donation. Rather 100% of the money agencies receive from UWBB must go directly to health and human service programs that assist our community’s most vulnerable.

UWBB brings more to the table than just dollars.  We live here and are committed to the wellbeing our our neighbors. We keep our finger on the pulse of the community and our investors rely on us to not only be good stewards of their charitable dollars, but to also bring people, organizations and resources together in order to have the greatest impact on our area’s most pressing needs. With our focus on making a positive local impact, investors can rest assured that their money will make a difference right here in the Big Bend.

Like many who read the article published on November 4th, we are concerned about the impact this article may have on charitable giving. Please help us spread the word about the impact UWBB is making in our community and dispel the overhead myth this article has distorted further. If you or someone you know has questions about UWBB, please direct them to contact us so that we can provide them accurate information to inform their decisions. Ultimately, the only person who stands to lose if people stop giving are the men, women and children in the greatest need in our community. They are the reason we get up every morning and ask our community to give, advocate and volunteer. If you are already a supporter of UWBB, thank you. If you have not yet pledged, we hope you will consider giving today.

Download a 2-page handout of that outlines Our Overhead and Impact.