Membership requirements and network benefits

United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN) unites people and resources to improve lives in the area with a focus on education, income (financial stability), health, safety & well-being, and hunger-the building blocks for a good quality of life. Our mission is to improve lives in Southwest Minnesota by mobilizing the caring power of our communities. United Way achieves these goals by convening the community to address key issues, collaborating to achieve measureable impact, and connecting human and financial resources. Your dollar goes further with UWSWMN because we’re not doing our work alone. In 2014-15, we will partner with more than thirty community partner programs and deliver on more than a dozen UWSWMN programs & initiatives furthering the network of human services and volunteerism in the region. Your donation goes far, but never far away.

United Way of Southwest Minnesota has successfully completed all of the United Way Worldwide membership requirements satisfactorily and on time for 2014. United Way Worldwide is the leadership and support organization for the network of 1,800 community-based United Ways around the globe. Each local United Way must complete United Way Worldwide requirements annually in order to retain its United Way membership. The purpose of United Way Worldwide is to provide leadership, training and a wide variety of support services to the local community-based member organizations. However, it is important to emphasize that all of the 1,800 United Way organizations are independent and autonomous and work to create lasting change specific to the community needs in their own communities.

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is a separately incorporated non-profit that is governed by a 23-member local, volunteer board of directors with professional staff managing the day-to-day operations. Annual dues to United Way of America are slightly less than 1 percent of funds that are raised. The services received back from that membership far outweigh that small cost. For example, the United Way brand is the only nonprofit to make the Top 50 ranking 26th on the Forbes list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands, ranking between Verizon and Nintendo. The brand as an asset to the United Way network is valued at more than $34 billion by Interbrand. Our membership allows us access to use of logo’s and templates for local implementation. Additionally, the small membership fee we pay to United Way Worldwide is recouped by our local communities many times over in training, organization services, and access to national corporate and employee giving campaigns, such as UPS, Walmart, Shopko, IBM, Duke Energy, Excel Energy, etc., etc. Multinational organizations seek multinational partnerships, and the United Way network is well-positioned as the corporate social responsibility partner of choice to the world’s largest companies. These 100+ companies generate more than $1 billion annually in support to local United Ways across the globe.

Locally, this translates both into access to these companies and the investment of financial contributions back to our service area in southwest Minnesota.

Our last two audits and annual report are available for review on our website at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org. You can find them under YOUR UNITED WAY then PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY. You will be able to see organizations receiving grant funding, local fundraising and administrative costs/percentages, etc. Please share these with anyone that may have a question. We are proud of our transparency. If you are interested in learning about our work and that of community partners for 2014-15 email unitedway@unitedwayswmn.org or watch our website for the latest information.