Friday, October 1, 2010

End o' the Week Rant, Courtesy of United Way

Wednesday's post by Raine, over at "True Confessions of a Single Mother" and SkyDad's comment on the post, reminded me of just how much I dislike United Way. I haven't thought about them for a few years, since I am no longer employed in a workplace that supports this dreadful organization. But, I love a good rant on a Friday morning, so I thought I'd rant a bit.

I agree with SkyDad. I hate United Way.

Generally, United Way collects donations through employee payroll deductions. They may have other ways to collect money, too, but the employee payroll deduction program is the one I am most familiar with. In this sca-- er, I mean, program -- the employee can fill out a form to donate a certain amount per paycheck, and tell United Way what organization to give the payroll contributions to, or alternatively United Way will decide for the employee what other organization to donate the money to. United Way keeps a portion of the donated funds for their administrative expenses.

What is the point of THAT? Why not just skip the middleman and donate directly to your organization of choice? That way, more of your money goes to helping your cause, and less of it lines the pockets of United Way personnel.

But the worst part of the United Way process, in my view, is not the fact that they skim a portion of your contribution to otherwise worthy charities. They claim to investigate the charities and to ensure that the charities themselves are worthy, not scams. If true, then some folks might find that to be a valuable service, worth the cost of a portion of their donation.

In my view, the worst thing United Way does is that they pressure the employees of participating organizations to donate through their payroll deduction program.

I absolutely hated this when I was working full-time as a lowly office assistant making just barely more than minimum wage and supplementing my income by working part-time as a waitress. The pressure from my bosses at the office (who earned over $100,000 per year) to donate was incredible - and WRONG.

Why should my bosses at work tell me when / where to donate money to charity, when they were not even paying me enough to live on and I had to take a second job just to support myself? Why did they even *think* they had that right? What arrogant schmucks.

And if I did want to contribute money to charity (which I actually did, even though I had very little to contribute), I wanted to select just the right charity and also make sure that ALL of my hard-earned money went TO THAT CHARITY, not to United Way executives, who were undoubtedly earning way more than I was at the time.

And yet, the pressure to contribute something to United Way was huge - the employer was aiming for 100% participation among employees and there was daily pressure to sign up for the payroll deduction plan. I'm not sure what the executives were to get if they reached that lofty goal - some sort of bonus, perhaps? Paid for, essentially, by their lowest paid employees? Nice....

Ugh. I hate United Way.

Feel free to argue with me in the comments, but I don't expect that you'll change my mind.


SkylersDad said...

Argue? I am standing and applauding you!

Silliyak said...

If you want an argument, you'll have to change the subject.

LOLA said...

I'm so excited! I, too, detest United Way and have ever since I was a switchboard operator in a department store while in college. The managers held a mandatory meeting one morning to pressure us to give to United Way. I did not attend because I am a naughty girl. When an old bat arrived in the office after leaving the meeting she grilled me about where I had been. I said I didn't come to the meeting because I wasn't giving to United Way. Old B. sputtered, But you have to! It's required! I said, No it's not. Nobody can make me. What a cheeky little 18 year old I was. I blame it on participating in debate in high school. Anyhow, why would you give to United Way instead of donating to the charity of your choice? You can investigate your charities before you give. United Way is a scam.
Infinities of love,

Jaime said...

doesn't look like you have anyone who wants to argue with you on this topic. i hate them too

Brahm (alfred lives here) said...


Have moved away from supporting them -- they piss me off with all the letters, mailers, posters, buttons, wasting my money and killing damn trees.

Trying to get my employer to move on also, think they are starting to get it!

Raine said...

The first year i worked at my current job i signed up for that payroll deduction crap because of a raffle, which i ended up winning therefore making my contributions nil. but then i ran into some hard times and went to the U.W. and they rudely told me that i made too much money or some bullshit. so now every year, about this time actually, they start harrassing us to sign up for the payroll deduction. Last year they had a table in front of the cafe and when we walked by they accosted us and i told them my very abbrievated story and told them I'd never donate to them. EVER. the guy gave a quiet okay. Hopefully they remember me from last time and leave me alone. But I agree, Daily emails telling us who to donate to??? Screw them.

Fickle Cattle said...

Good thing we don't have something like United Way in my country. It sounds horrible.

I am Fickle Cattle.

Prunella Jones said...

I never give money to charities anymore. All the scamming has disgusted me. It seems to me that all of them end up lining their own pockets with $$$$$$ and then maybe giving a little piddling amount to what you actually wanted to support. I now prefer to just donate food to local shelter.

Mulled Vine said...

The safest is to spend the money on yourself. That way you know all your money is going to a worthwhile cause.