Frequently Asked Questions

What is United Way?

United Way is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 agency that brings people together to help our community reach its full potential. We partner with local nonprofits, businesses, government, and social service agencies to address our community’s most pressing needs.

United Way of Northwest Louisiana fights for the health, education, financial stability and essential needs of every person in every community.

What does United Way do?

Our work helps provide the foundation for a good life through efforts in Health, Education, Financial Stability and Essential Needs. Our goals address poverty’s root causes on multiple fronts, and we measure our impact and success each year in our Annual Community Report.

During specific local disaster-relief situations, we also work in partnership with United Ways that cover other Louisiana parishes to ensure that immediate help is coordinated and effective.

Who and where does United Way help?
The Volunteer Center of Northwest Louisiana, a program of United Way of Northwest Louisiana, mobilized volunteers who invested more than 3,700 hours in 2016. This free service matches individuals and groups to volunteer projects with United Way community partners across the ten-parish area. Volunteers’ help these nonprofits achieve their missions and make a lasting difference in our community. Learn more about volunteering.
What's the difference between United Way and other nonprofits?

Making a gift to United Way is the most effective way to help our whole community. Our unique ability to work across complex issues with hundreds of community partners is unmatched.

We mobilize volunteers and convene partner agencies, corporations, community leaders and policymakers to make broad, systemic changes like no other organization can on its own.

Our programs help people in crisis get back on their feet, help prevent future problems and build a stronger community for all of us.

United Way of Northwest Louisiana also operates more than a dozen nonprofit programs and services to fill the gaps in our community. Bank On Northwest Louisiana, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, FamilyWize Prescription Assistance Program, and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program are just a few.

Are United Ways related?

The 1,400 community-based United Ways are separately incorporated and independently governed by local volunteers. Many of these organizations are similar in their mission and structure, but some are very different.

United Way of Northwest Louisiana pays a voluntary membership contribution for the rights to use the name and logo, and support broader community impact goals through United Way Worldwide, which attacks the same problems on a national and global level, and provides guidance, training and development services to local United Ways. These dues are less than one percent of each dollar contributed.

Contributions raised in our ten-parish area stay here and decisions about which programs to invest in and which partnerships to pursue are made here in our local community.

Why should I give to United Way of Northwest Louisiana?
United Way of Northwest Louisiana brings expertise and strategic focus creating profound and positive change. United Way brings people together to create innovative solutions and collective impact to the toughest problems facing our community. We measure progress made in the community because we are focused on solid, tangible results that create lasting change.
Where does the money go?
Your contributions are invested locally – in your parish – in health and human service programs proven to make our community stronger. Ninety-nine cents of every dollar stays in our community. View the list of all funded organizations.
What guides United Way of NWLA’s investment of donor dollars?
We conduct research to assess the strengths and needs of our community. Knowledgeable, well-trained volunteers and experienced United Way of NWLA staff and Board of Directors work together to identify the most pressing issues as well as review and score applications.
Why should I choose United Way Community Impact Fund?
This fund is used to fulfill grant requests, and targets our community’s most critical needs. Much research and time is spent determining the most efficient use of donated dollars to help the most people as part of our strategic initiatives.
Can I give to a specific agency?
Yes. You may specify that all or a portion of your gift go directly to any 501 (c)3 organization or you can choose to designate all or a portion of your gift to one of our strategic areas: Education, Financial Stability, Health and Essential Needs.
What is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization?
501(c)3 is the tax code for nonprofit charitable organizations. Donations to these organizations are tax deductible.
What is Leadership Giving?
Leadership Giving is a recognition program to encourage gifts of $1,000 or more. Each of our Leadership Giving Societies offers specific benefits. Learn more.
How can my company gain more recognition for its support of United Way of Northwest Louisiana?
Corporate sponsorships offer a wonderful way to receive extensive exposure. You can also choose to participate as a Pacesetter Company. Pacesetters raise a significant amount during a short eight to ten week period. Being a Pacesetter has many advantages including increased United Way support, increased community recognition, and campaign completion when the majority of the campaigns begin.
Can our company become more involved with United Way?

Yes, we offer several ways for you to be engaged in our community:

  • Subscribe to our news alerts.
  • Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Comment and share!
  • Post about your campaign news and other United Way-related topics.
  • Interested employees can join together to find rewarding volunteer opportunities.
  • Financial Literacy Lunch & Learns
  • Free Tax Preparation Programs
  • Assemble a team and participate in a Day of Caring project.
  • Host a food or supply drive and collect essential items to donate to one of United Way programs.
  • Talk to your United Way staff member about other ways to get involved.
Are there fees for using my credit card?
No. If a gift is made via credit card, United Way of NWLA deducts the credit card fee (avg. is 3%) from the gift.
Does United Way of NWLA pressure people to give?
No. Under no circumstance should an employee feel threatened or coerced into contributing. Giving is a personal matter.
I already give money to a church or another charity. Why should I give to United Way?
Consider giving to United Way as a way to enhance your charitable portfolio. The benefits derived from United Way gifts are vitally important to the entire community.
How do I know that service providers supported by United Way will use the funds responsibly?
Volunteers make investment decisions based on an organization’s fiscal responsibility, sound management, and the measurable results of specific programs. Oversight of continued adherence to sound fiscal policies and of program outcomes is part of the Community Impact Grant Panel process.
How much is used for 'overhead'?
Nearly half of our administrative cost is covered by corporate gifts from companies. Therefore, most of every dollar you contribute goes to initiatives and programs that help people and build a stronger community.
Does United Way invest in Planned Parenthood?
No. We do not fund any programs at Planned Parenthood, nor have we in the past. We do invest in health-related programs at several local nonprofits. See a list of our partner agencies.
How can my organization become a United Way agency?

Agencies interested in United Way funding can apply for a grant. See our grant information.