Myth vs. Reality

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 11:58am -- kwilhelm

I have to admit to being terribly frustrated by the myth that most of the monies raised by United Ways across the country go to administrative expenses. I hear this over and over even though it has never been true.  People often perpetuate this myth via social media and by sharing emails filled with erroneous information.

My career with different local United Ways spans over 30 years.  Overhead ratios have ranged anywhere from 10% - 19% depending on the size of the local United Way.  Just as businesses can achieve economies of scale so can non-profits. The larger the non-profit the lower the overhead is likely to be.  United Ways reflect their local communities so there are many smaller ones in rural or less populated areas.  These tend to have the higher overheads but almost always less than 20% which is far less than what the Better Business Bureau recommends of 35% or less. 

Keep in mind that all United Ways (and there are more than 1,100 in the United States with hundreds of others throughout the world) are local, independent non-profits.    So that means in Middlesex County all monies raised in our region stay here to fund highly successful programs that benefit local county residents. 

Yes, there are administrative costs as we work to prevent and end homelessness;  to make sure kids are ready to enter kindergarten and also achieve college / career readiness;  to  reduce teen substance abuse and so much more!!  I’m proud of our small staff team and just as proud of the approximate 1,000 volunteers working with us to achieve our 5 year goals in Education, Income, Health and Housing.

I encourage you to check out our web site.  We aim to have the highest standards of accountability and transparency.   The facts and reality are right there.  Or better yet contact me and I will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you or people you know may have