FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW LONG HAS OUR LOCAL UNITED WAY BEEN IN EXISTENCE?
United Way of Rapid City was formed in 1944 out of concern by various business owners of the growing number of requests for donations. Business owners wanted to create a community fund which could help many worthy local agencies. They wanted a respected group of community-minded citizens to analyze problems in the Rapid City area, decide which agencies could best meet those problems, and then distribute the donations where they would do the most good. In 1945 this idea was put into practice, and more than $45,000 was raised and distributed to six local agencies. Today, thanks to tremendous community support, United Way of Rapid City has expanded to become United Way of the Black Hills with campaigns in Rapid City, Sturgis, Lead, Deadwood, Spearfish, Belle Fourche, Keystone, Hill City, Custer, Hot Springs, and Edgemont.
Every local United Way is independent from one another, and operates under the direction of a local board of directors. Money raised during the annual campaign stays in each local community. Each local board is responsible for giving donated dollars to the local agencies that can best meet the needs of each individual community. Local United Ways belong to United Way of America which gives them access to services such as marketing assistance, community problem solving, staff training and networking among other United Ways. Membership dues are less than 1/3 of one cent of every dollar raised.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST ADVANTAGES TO GIVING TO A LOCAL UNITED WAY?
There are many advantages to having a single community-wide fundraising effort. A portion of your single donation is given to each of the United Way member agencies that serve your community. This allows you to help people in many different ways. By coordinating fundraising efforts, each agency saves valuable time and money. Each agency United Way supports is then able to spend more of its time, energy and dollars doing what it does best - helping people.
HOW DOES UNITED WAY KEEP FUNDRAISING COSTS LOW?
We are very proud that our United Way operates throughout the year on only 15 cents of every dollar raised. Every year hundreds of people volunteer their time to the United Way campaign fund drive. This allows the whole community to help 55 local agencies, and only one fundraising office is needed to ensure that donated dollars are used where they are most needed. Local businesses also donate 'in kind' gifts that give United Way a significant savings on items such as campaign brochures, videos, advertising and more.
WHO DECIDES WHERE THE MONEY GOES?
Ultimately you can decide where your United Way donation goes. You can designate that your donation be given only to the organizations you choose. Contributions can be designated to one or more of the 55 agencies by writing the agency's name(s) on the pledge form. You may also designate that your contribution be directed only to the agencies that serve the Rapid City, Sturgis, Northern Hills, or Southern Hills areas.
If you choose not to designate where your donation goes, rest assured that when you contribute to United Way of the Black Hills, your donation is distributed wisely. United Way of the Black Hills boards allocate funds based on the greatest community needs. The evaluation process is extensive and based on the needs of the community to determine which require the most urgent attention. The board then identifies which agencies will best address the needs of the community, analyze budgets and audit reports, and distribute funds accordingly.
DO UNITED WAY AGENCIES CHARGE FEES FOR THEIR SERVICES?
Agencies funded by United Way strive to assure quality, affordable services to all people regardless of income level. Many agencies charge fees based on a sliding scale. People who can afford to pay do so; those who cannot pay the fees are helped by that agency through United Way dollars.