Value in our community
Simply, our role in the community is to provide a means by which those who so choose may help those who are less advantaged in our community.
While our role is simply stated, the implementation involves somewhat greater complexity.
There are three key components:
Identify community needs
This is a crucial but often overlooked component within the community development mode. It also reveals one of the great strengths of the United Way movement in Canada. As each United Way in Canada is autonomous, needs can be identified and assessed on a community by community basis. Priorities in one area may not be crucial in another area of the province or the country. With the United Way, donors have the assurance of knowing that local volunteers and staff work to identify locally based needs. For example, in our community, research has demonstrated that substance abuse issues are a greater concern here than in many other areas. As such, we can work with the local stake holders and agencies to ensure that dollars are used to address these matters.
Other priority needs include support for children who are identified as coming from “at risk” environments.
At the core of what we do is fundraising. Once needs are identified, funding must be secured to ensure that programming is undertaken. Whether providing shelter for women or children, or counselling for those who need employment training, or help in returning to school, or support for single parents, support programming is best utilized when it is local, and freely available. The United Way conducts our annual campaign so that a great diversity of need may be addressed with a single effort. This ensures great economies and efficiencies, and provides the maximum amount of funding for programming.
Fiduciary oversight and program review
A key component of our commitment to donors is the assurance that their dollars will be utilized in the most effective and efficient fashion possible. This entails volunteer oversight to ensure that programs are working and doing what they are intended to do, that there is a minimum of overlap or duplication, and that all business is conducted in a manner which adheres to the highest ethical standards. With our emphasis on local support and a local volunteer base, the United Way is uniquely positioned within the charitable community in Canada to ensure that “every cent is well spent.”