PDA

View Full Version : United Way



GAC
10-26-2007, 09:20 AM
Anyone listen to Scott Sloan the other night on the United Way and the pressure tactics they use in one's place of employment to get donations? I listened to many people call in and relate their experiences, and I absolutely concurred with what some were saying about the annual UW campaign drives at work.

At Honda, and it's in their handbook, any charitable solicitation is strictly forbidden except the company sanctioned and operated United Way campaign every year.

And like Sloan said... "They have found a way to hack into your company's payroll!"

Every year, and in every department, there is an employee "nominated" to go around to every associate soliciting them to sign a card where money is weekly payroll-deducted from their check. And it's not "Would you like to give to the United Way?" but (showing you the card) "Here is the recommended level we would like to see every one of our associates sign up for." And even if you choose not to participate they say you have to check off on the card and sign it. And I always ask WHY, and they say because you have to because it's for tracking/accounting purposes.

It's not that I don't think the UW is a worthwhile organization and doesn't do alot of good locally.... it's the methodology that is being utilized within the place of employment that bothers me. And yes, I've heard alot of testimonies from people that a type of pressure sales is involved.

The UW, as well as the employer, has turned it into a type of competition where they give out ribbons, plagues, and various awards for recognition of contribution levels. I've read stories in various other workplaces where managers will tell their employees they expect them to contribute so much because they don't want their depratment to look bad, or that it will somehow personally reflect on them.

During the drive they put up graphs at the entrances of the plant showing where the contribution levels are at, and in the shift meetings they'll occassionally read memos reminding people what level they are trying to reach and again encourage assocaites to sign up if they have not already done so.

I'm just one who believes that charitable giving is to not only come from the heart, but is also a personal, private matter that, IMHO, doesn't require some sort of outward recognition or pat on the back. One gives without any expectation of a return.

Chip R
10-26-2007, 09:25 AM
I don't do United Way. I remamber that scandal they had several years back.

919191
10-26-2007, 09:26 AM
Same thing happens at my job. Exactly.

RBA
10-26-2007, 09:33 AM
The military does: The Combine Federal Campaign or CFC. Every year you are armed twisted to give. The CFC reps have to list who they contacted and note if everyone gave or not, did the branch make it's "goal", did they give more than last year? etc. But it's usually the new troops, fresh out of basic that are giving the most out of their paychecks, because they think everyone is giving the "suggested" amount. And some want to reach whatever they call it status. Something like "Gold or Platinum Status"

Unassisted
10-26-2007, 09:52 AM
Mrs. Unassisted's employer ties the company dress code to meeting their United Way goal. If you want to wear casual clothes in that workplace, you'd better be contributing to the United Way. If it should happen that they don't meet their goal, it's neckties for the men and dresses for the women for the next year.

GAC
10-26-2007, 09:56 AM
Mrs. Unassisted's employer ties the company dress code to meeting their United Way goal. If you want to wear casual clothes in that workplace, you'd better be contributing to the United Way. If it should happen that they don't meet their goal, it's neckties for the men and dresses for the women for the next year.

And if you don't give, then it neckties for the women and dresses for the men. :lol:

Joseph
10-26-2007, 10:21 AM
We are currently inundated with emails on a daily basis during 'drive time' when they are looking to meet their goals. They give you 'rewards' like an extra day off if you contribute a certain amount per pay period. They have a picnic here for us and its almost like a time share, you have to go through this meeting with them before they'll let you eat or go participate in the softball game and all that.

It's like an accepted scam, thats for sure.

IowaRed
10-26-2007, 12:42 PM
Mrs. Unassisted's employer ties the company dress code to meeting their United Way goal. If you want to wear casual clothes in that workplace, you'd better be contributing to the United Way. If it should happen that they don't meet their goal, it's neckties for the men and dresses for the women for the next year.

We have a business casual work environment. If you purchase and wear a UW sticker then you are allowed to wear jeans to work-as long as there isn't a customer visiting. Same methods used here with memo's, charts, meetings, presentations. At the big meeting to kick off the new year's campaign they always bring in somebody who has benefitted from UW's services to tell their story. We also have to sign the pledge card if you are not participating.

Yachtzee
10-26-2007, 01:13 PM
I used to work at a place that had a partnership with the United Way. I couldn't believe it when they asked us to have money drawn directly from our paycheck and "suggested" that 10% would be a good donation. What is that? I thought I was at church. But at least the Catholic Church didn't have my boss handing me the form for having the money taken directly from my paycheck. If I didn't know better, I'd think the United Way was run by the Mob.

MrsHammer
10-26-2007, 03:04 PM
I work at the corporate HQ of a large apparel manufacturer. Every year, we have 'mandatory' United Way meetings. Meetings are held over the course of a week and there is always a representative from one of the local organizations funded through United Way there to give their little plea for your money. What makes me so annoyed though is that our company makes you sign an attendance sheet (so they can later harass the people who didn't show up), then during the meeting everyone is expected to fill out their little pledge card and turn it in before leaving the meeting. So, basically, they are trying to pressure you to give something because everyone is in there looking at each other and knows whether or not you fill your pledge form out. If you don't want to pledge, then you still sign your form and turn it in (then everyone knows who didn't pledge anything). It's ridiculous.

GAC
10-26-2007, 07:31 PM
I've decided that next year I'm not filling out the card. And I'm going to challenge them as to what they can do if I don't? I'm a rebel. ;)

Danny Serafini
10-26-2007, 08:28 PM
Back when I worked at Kroger they would pressure us pretty hard to donate. I got a good chunk back though. Everyone who donated had their name put into a drawing for a paid day off, which I won. You didn't actually get a day off, they just added eight hours onto your check. I was pretty close to 40 hours as it was, so when they tacked on the extra eight they paid me overtime for them. That worked out well.

George Foster
10-26-2007, 09:35 PM
I don't do United Way. I remamber that scandal they had several years back.

Exactly!!

They held the 9-11 money for months drawing interest on it.

They pay their CEO's 6 figure salaries. 6 figures salaries are great for a for-profit business, not a non-profit charity.

They pulled their financial support for the Boys Scouts for not allowing Gay scout masters.

They never will get a dime of my money.

I give to the Salvation Army, and the DAV monthy.:thumbup:

MWM
10-26-2007, 09:38 PM
I used to work for one the big accounting firm in their Cincinnati office, and the pressure there was pretty unbelievable. You could donate, but if you didn't donate your "fair share" according to your salary, you got a call from one of the partners. And if you're fresh out of undergrad trying to build a career, a call from a partner could be very "persuasive."

But at the time, I was donating a decent chunk of change to another organization who was sorely lacking in funds, who I thought needed it more and which was relevant to some my extended family who suffered from the disease I donated to. I didn't back down and told them I would rather donate there. I didn't go over well, but I knew I was only going to be there a couple of years, so I didn't really care.

Since that happened, I no longer donate at all to UW.

GAC
10-27-2007, 04:17 AM
I used to work for one the big accounting firm in their Cincinnati office, and the pressure there was pretty unbelievable. You could donate, but if you didn't donate your "fair share" according to your salary, you got a call from one of the partners. And if you're fresh out of undergrad trying to build a career, a call from a partner could be very "persuasive."

But at the time, I was donating a decent chunk of change to another organization who was sorely lacking in funds, who I thought needed it more and which was relevant to some my extended family who suffered from the disease I donated to. I didn't back down and told them I would rather donate there. I didn't go over well, but I knew I was only going to be there a couple of years, so I didn't really care.

Since that happened, I no longer donate at all to UW.

And your situation, which I have heard alot of, is exactly what I am talking about.

TeamCasey
10-27-2007, 08:46 AM
I used to work for one the big accounting firm in their Cincinnati office, and the pressure there was pretty unbelievable. You could donate, but if you didn't donate your "fair share" according to your salary, you got a call from one of the partners. And if you're fresh out of undergrad trying to build a career, a call from a partner could be very "persuasive."

This is very similar to my company although the high pressure tactics aren't as bad as they used to be. We used to be called into a high level managers office to do our donations. My charitableness waned when the phrase "fair share" started. I use it as a time to remind me to donate to my own charity of choice, privately. I stopped doing it through the company.

TeamCasey
10-27-2007, 08:48 AM
If I didn't know better, I'd think the United Way was run by the Mob.


:p: I think you're right!

RedsBaron
10-27-2007, 09:11 AM
I have never given one dime to United Way, because of the reasons stated in this thread and similar stories that I have heard. I have given directly to a number of organizations that receive support from the United Way, but my contributions go directly to who I feel lead to support.
God has a right to give me expectations as to how I donate. Obviously God can say give it all, but the tithe was 10%. The IRS has the legal right to designate, in accordance with law, how much taxes I pay.
The United Way ain't God and it ain't the IRS.

KittyDuran
10-27-2007, 09:51 PM
I have never given one dime to United Way, because of the reasons stated in this thread and similar stories that I have heard. I have given directly to a number of organizations that receive support from the United Way, but my contributions go directly to who I feel lead to support.
God has a right to give me expectations as to how I donate. Obviously God can say give it all, but the tithe was 10%. The IRS has the legal right to designate, in accordance with law, how much taxes I pay.
The United Way ain't God and it ain't the IRS.IIRC RB, you can give directly to those organizations that are supported by United Way. It used to be that you could check on the donor card.

BTW, I worked at an organization (for over 17 years) that received funds from UW. The agency was a private not-for-profit that was always being confused with county and/or federal government. Getting major donations any other way was nearly impossible at the time except through UW. Eventually, the percentage that was allocated was less than 18% by the time I left. Now, that might seem like a lot but it wasn't - even tho' the "drive" meter kept on going up - the money just didn't stretch as well as it used to.

Also, and not to turn this into a peanut gallery thread, but UW in Butler County used to support Planned Parenthood. Every year around campaign time the agency I worked for would get calls... "Does _____________ give or make referrals for abortions?" IF you should have any hesitation in your answer (which was NO) there was a click and one year it had a near domino effect (some would call the other supported agency with the same questions) with accusatory emails being sent around major companies like GE and Fisher Body (GM). We were stressed to be curt with our answer of NO and then asked if they wanted to be referred to the agency's school for pregnant teens. A few years later IIRC the donation cards had where you could channel the money to a specific agency instead of a general fund.

As far as giving, it for me was a no-brainer. If UW didn't pony up the funds I wouldn't have a job - the funds also came in handy when grants and federal/county funds were cut which were an ongoing dilemna - the joys of working in social services! :p: This might be apples to oranges but for those in the private sector (which I am now) it is sort of like if you work for a major company that produces a certain product (cars, toothpaste, sodas)... if would make sense to buy that product so you could keep your job. What products you buy in your personal life, well, it's personal, but I would feel strange if I worked for Coca-Cola and drank Pepsi, if I worked for P&G and used Colegate, and if I worked for Ford and drove a Chevy.

Just my $.02 cents.:)

GAC
10-27-2007, 10:02 PM
I don't think anyone would argue that the UW doesn't do alot of good Kitty,

It's the methodology that has been implemented over the last several years in the workplace that uses pressure tactics to get their employees to donate.

KittyDuran
10-27-2007, 10:12 PM
I don't think anyone would argue that the UW doesn't do alot of good Kitty,

It's the methodology that has been implemented over the last several years in the workplace that uses pressure tactics to get their employees to donate.That tactic has been in place for a long time - now it just makes it questionable because of the scandals surrounding UW and other charitable organizations (i.e., Red Cross) and how they do business. Scandals and ethical questions surrounding many organizations give people pause and make it harder to justify giving (Catholic Church, Oral Roberts University, etc.).

GAC
10-27-2007, 10:23 PM
That tactic has been in place for a long time- now it just makes it questionable because of the scandals surrounding UW and other charitable organizations (i.e., Red Cross) and how they do business. Scandals and ethical questions surrounding many organizations give people pause and make it harder to justify giving (Catholic Church, Oral Roberts University, etc.).

Sure -scandals and ethical concerns make people pause; but alot of people, including myself, have always questioned these tactics in the workplace over the last several years.

No employee should be pressured ("squeezed"),or told they need to give their "fair share" by their employer when it comes to charitable giving.

Yachtzee
10-28-2007, 12:12 AM
Sure -scandals and ethical concerns make people pause; but alot of people, including myself, have always questioned these tactics in the workplace over the last several years.

No employee should be pressured ("squeezed"),or told they need to give their "fair share" by their employer when it comes to charitable giving.

Yep. It's one thing to let people pay in money every week to wear jeans or have some sort of raffle or special parking spot for those who donate. It's another to bring everyone into a big meeting (right before annual reviews, mind you) and pass out donation cards while using pressure tactics to make you feel bad if you don't contribute.

Chip R
10-28-2007, 12:21 AM
It seems like they have almost a monopoly on companies as far as charitable contributions go. I mean how many other charities does your employer(s) implore that you contribute to? American Cancer Society? Jerry's Kids? March of Dimes? Make a Wish Foundation?

MWM
10-28-2007, 12:23 AM
It seems like they have almost a monopoly on companies as far as charitable contributions go. I mean how many other charities does your employer(s) implore that you contribute to? American Cancer Society? Jerry's Kids? March of Dimes? Make a Wish Foundation?

Yeah, my company pretty much won't support any other organization other than the UW.

Chip R
10-28-2007, 12:26 AM
Yeah, my company pretty much won't support any other organization other than the UW.


So why is that? UW only hire ex-used car salesmen?

MWM
10-28-2007, 12:35 AM
So why is that? UW only hire ex-used car salesmen?

It's not that they discourage support of other organizations, but they won't finacially support any other similar organization. They donate very liberally to the arts, but as far as charitabe organizations, they say that they donate so much to UW, that their policy is to not financially suppor other organizations. I don't really blame them as it's a large company and probably get approached all the time, so they have a need for such a policy. I do some volunteer work for the Cysic Fibrosis Foundation and I was hoping to get a little support for something I was helping to organize, so I found out quickly that it wasn't going to happen. But I fully understand.

But they do have a matching program for UW, where they match contributions and they also match contributions to universities and to artistic organizations. And this is the first place I've worked where we don't get any pressure at all to donate to UW. We have donation drive, and we're encouraged to donate, but it's entirely blind. No one knows who does and who doesn't.

GAC
10-28-2007, 07:50 AM
It seems like they have almost a monopoly on companies as far as charitable contributions go. I mean how many other charities does your employer(s) implore that you contribute to? American Cancer Society? Jerry's Kids? March of Dimes? Make a Wish Foundation?

None. As I mentioned earlier, it's even in Honda's Associate Handbook that solicitation for organizational charitable donations is strictly forbidden and could result in disciplinary action, and the only one permitted is the company-ran UW campaign.

KittyDuran
10-28-2007, 01:36 PM
Big companies get asked to donate for a lot of causes and there is a procedure with some that has to be followed. Didn't Target or some big box store get in trouble when they didn't give money to some veteran committee? Oops... here it is:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/target.asp

RedsBaron
10-28-2007, 04:39 PM
Sure -scandals and ethical concerns make people pause; but alot of people, including myself, have always questioned these tactics in the workplace over the last several years.

No employee should be pressured ("squeezed"),or told they need to give their "fair share" by their employer when it comes to charitable giving.

That's been what I've always objected to. I absolutely believe that everyone should support charities as much as possible, but I would no more pressure someone else to give to the charity of my choice than I would pressure someone else to tithe or give to the church that I attend.
Ask me to donate and I may do so. Pressure me to donate and I won't give a cent.

Sea Ray
10-29-2007, 10:47 AM
It's been this way for a longtime. When my wife joined Federated in the late 1970s it was like this. Why do corporations care about the United Way? They don't pressure you to give to Salvation Army or other charities. I wonder how it ever got to this point?

It certainly is one of the negatives of working for corporate America.

registerthis
10-29-2007, 11:07 AM
They pay their CEO's 6 figure salaries. 6 figures salaries are great for a for-profit business, not a non-profit charity.

That's a terrbily naive point of view. And I'm not even a big United Way supporter.

WebScorpion
10-29-2007, 03:22 PM
That's a terrbily naive point of view. And I'm not even a big United Way supporter.
I think he's actually talking about 7 figure salaries anyway, but I understand your point too. Why shouldn't a CEO for a non-profit be worth just as much as a CEO for a normal profit-oriented company? Well, perhaps it's because that same CEO will ask his employees to work for less than the normal salary in deference to the cause supported by the organization. I worked for the Red Cross for a year and the employees were some of the greatest people I have ever worked with, but we were all making 50% of the normal salary for our positions. I still volunteer for the Red Cross, but I've gotten a job with a company that pays me a commensurate salary.

The company I currently work for encourages community service and volunteerism by offering cash grants ($50 to $750) to the organizations where employees volunteer. The employee must submit the non-profit organization for the award and the company awards anywhere from 2 to 6 grants per quarter based on certain eligibility requirements.

I think United Way got such a strong foothold in corporate america by being a 'one stop' charitable contribution. They see it as a way to allow all employees the flexibility to contribute to many different types of charities and the company gets the credit for the combined charity of all their employees. If my company tried to strong arm me into contributing to anything, I'd refuse and consider seeking employment in a more forward thinking company. I feel the same way about cold calling telephone contributions, I refuse to support it and I tell the caller as much. By calling they are LESS likely to receive my charitable contribution.

George Foster
11-01-2007, 11:59 PM
That's a terrbily naive point of view. And I'm not even a big United Way supporter.

How is it naive? If you work for a non-profit full time you should make a decent living, don't get me wrong. However I find it some what troubling to ask people to donate to your non-profit when you are making 5 times what they make. The Salvation Army is a perfect example of how it should be done. It should be a "calling" to work for a non-profit. I don't want my money going toward 250K salaries...call me crazy.

Hoosier Red
11-02-2007, 01:19 AM
In order to attain the best talent you have to pay in the neighborhood of market rates.
While you can get many rank and file employees to work for much less(they also will last a shorter period of time.) You probably need a more talented CEO to run a non-profit than a for-profit company.

If you decide you'll only pay a CEO "enough for a decent living" you'll get what you pay for.

With that said, I'd imagine the United Way CEO is on the low end of the pay scale for CEO's of companies that size.

As for the organizations, I believe companies support the United Way as a cure all, employees can designate within the United Way which smaller company they wish to support, but the company only has to answer yes to one company(United Way) as opposed to hundreds of worthy requests.