United Way works closely with our partner agencies to ensure that your generous donations are carefully and thoughtfully put to good use to help the most people. Each year, hundreds of dedicated volunteers make important allocation decisions that impact us all and help make our region a better place to live and work.

The graphic below highlights the steps our volunteers take during the allocations process.

1. Volunteer Recruitment

The United Way allocations process starts by bringing together hundreds of individuals who live and work in our 16-county region in Illinois and Missouri. These volunteers serve as the eyes and ears of the more than 200,000 donors. Volunteers participate in a 7-month process to ensure that funds are distributed fairly, objectively, and with great consideration for their best use.

6. Approval & Distribution

Once all of the allocation recommendations are compiled, they are vetted through a three-part approval process, ending with a final decision by the United Way Executive Committee. Following approval, funds are distributed to the agencies in the next fiscal year.

5. Allocations

Agencies request funding based on their particular needs and programs. Funding requests can be as basic as operating costs to as advanced as developing a new program. Based on the knowledge gained through the allocations process, volunteers now must come to consensus about how much money each agency will receive in the coming year. Volunteers determine funding based on the merits of the requests and the capacity of the agencies. While allocations vary greatly depending on agency size and impact, United Way volunteers invest more than $1 million in our region each week.

4. Debriefing

Following the site visits, volunteers meet to discuss their findings about each agency. They also develop specific recommendations for improvement to help agencies stay stable and strong.

3. On-Site Visits

Armed with the Quality Standards, volunteer groups are dispatched to visit United Way member agencies. They conduct an annual in-depth review of the agencies through site visits, community impact presentations, and reviews of reports
submitted by the agencies.

2. Volunteer Education

Volunteers learn about the importance of building a stronger community by investing in a system of quality agencies that help people in need. Training includes an overview of key issues in the nonprofit community, the allocations process, and the United Way’s Quality Standards – a best practices tool developed by volunteers and experts. Each nonprofit is required to meet the standards to maintain United Way membership and receive funding.

1. Volunteer Recruitment
6. Approval & Distribution
5. Allocations
4. Debriefing
3. On-Site Visits
2. Volunteer Education
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