Frequently Asked Questions

Tell me more about United Way of San Luis Obispo County.

United Way of SLO County is an independent local nonprofit organization governed by a Board of local volunteers. United Way of SLO County is working to advance the common good by focusing on education, income and health. We are committed to supporting local programs that focus on prevention. United Way recognizes that we are all connected and interdependent, and that it takes a collective effort to create solutions, just like in the workplace.

Is United Way a local or national organization?

While we are affiliated by membership with United Way Worldwide, United Way of SLO County is a local, autonomous organization focused solely on SLO County. While each United Way must meet basic organizational standards of the highest integrity, each is separate and independent from United Ways in other counties and throughout the country. 100% of your donation stays in San Luis Obispo County when you contribute to our Community Impact Fund.

What’s involved in a workplace giving program?

The Workplace Program is an easy way to give back to your community. The money you contribute to United Way’s Community Impact Fund stays here, improving lives of hundreds of people in our community. You can also designate to any nonprofit you choose. It may be a local, national or international organization. You can make a one time gift or give through payroll deduction. The convenience and affordability of payroll deduction will provide you the opportunity to make a significant impact in the community without a significant impact on your wallet. You can launch the program without an informational meeting although a face to face meeting works the best. The average enrollment period lasts about two weeks.

How is United Way of San Luis Obispo County creating an impact?

We’re working with individuals, community leaders, local nonprofits and over 100 companies in our region to build partnerships and create programs that target the areas of education, income and health. Some current examples of United Way programs include 211 SLO County, Born Learning, Money Talks For Teens, and the Coast2Coast Rx and FamilyWize discount drug prescription cards. Additionally, Community Impact Fund grants are available to qualifying nonprofit organizations on an annual basis.

How does United Way decide who gets Community Impact Fund grants? How do I know my money is really going to make a difference?

Volunteers decide. Through a competitive grant process that occurs annually, local nonprofits are invited to submit applications for programs that serve residents of SLO County in the areas of education, income and health. Volunteers from the community review the grant applications and make funding recommendations to the United Way Board of Directors. United Way is results-oriented so our grant process takes into account an organization’s financial soundness, effectiveness of program delivery and measurable results before they are awarded funding. Most people do not have the time to intensely analyze every nonprofit they wish to donate to. United Way’s grant process ensures accountability so our donors are confident their money has been put in the right places.

Can I designate my gift to a specific nonprofit organization through United Way?

Absolutely. To designate your donation or a portion of it to a specific nonprofit organization [501(c)(3) or equivalent], please provide the agency name and amount. United Way of SLO County does not directly oversee the use of designated funds, for which a minimum of $120 per agency annually is required. 15% is withheld from most designations to support United Way of SLO County's Community Impact Fund.

Is my United Way contribution tax deductible as a charitable donation?

Yes, your contribution is fully tax deductible; see your tax professional for more information. Donations can be made by payroll deduction or a onetime gift by credit card, Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or check.  If you pledge through payroll deduction, your paycheck stub is your receipt. Contributions made by credit card, EFT or a personal check will be documented on your credit card or bank statements.

I am already on a tight budget. How can I afford to make a donation?

Even a modest designation such $5 or $10 per month can help to meet the most critical needs in our community. By investing through payroll deduction you can spread your investment out over the coming year. Most of our donations come through the workplace and most of our donors give annual gifts of $130 ($5/paycheck) or less. This is the true power of workplace giving.

I can’t give but want to help my community. What can I do?

Your Workplace Giving Program is not only about monetary contributions. It’s about connecting you with volunteer opportunities as well. Sign up for United Way’s monthly eNewsletter where you will find out what is happening in SLO County and how you can lend a hand. Use the box below to sign up.

I am interested. What is the next step?

To start your own Workplace Giving Program or if you have a question not listed here, contact Leslie McKinley at (805) 541-1234 x 15.