The last week in April, we will have one of our greatest weeks of the year: allocations panels week.
More than 10 years ago, I was a volunteer on an allocations panel via the request of my boss. I was given the day off to go visit four nonprofit agencies. United Way provided a packet of information for each agency. We have changed the process a bit since then. The packets are more condenses and we have narrowed down to what we feel are the key factors in determining funding for nonprofit organizations. Basic information and also more detailed information about the programs that the United Way funds. They also see quarterly reports that United Way requires from each funded program. A favorite are narratives included so that volunteers have a story of how United Way funding helped change a specific life.
The funding is restricted to programs that focus on health, education and financial stability.
After the agencies present, the volunteers get together to discuss what they learned about the agencies and then they are given a budget to allocate funding to each agency. The funding allocations are determined by volunteers and donors on behalf of all donors. It’s a wonderful process and we are so appreciative of each person that has volunteered over the years.
Something that is consistently stated by the volunteers is that the process is very rewarding and humbling.
The volunteers will see the needs in the community and often times hear directly from somebody who has gone through difficulty and been able to come out on the other end. It’s truly eye-opening just to catch a glimpse of the community around you that you may not see every day. Unfortunately, there are people that are suffering trauma every day. They may be going through financial difficulty every day. They may be hungry or neglected or scared. But you can find comfort knowing that there are so many local nonprofit organizations run by amazing people in social services that are here to help.
If you would like to serve as a volunteer during our allocations panels, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a wonderful past article featuring long time donor, Bill Wagner and previous UW executive director, George Smolder: