United Way Celebrates National Volunteer Appreciation Week-April 21-27

United Way of Central Oklahoma, United Way of Logan County and United Way of Canadian County are celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 21-27.  This year we recognize our volunteer donors engaged in United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Community Investment process happening now with volunteers conducting site visits at Partner Agencies.

Each year, donor volunteers oversee the distribution of United Way dollars through an annual process called Community Investment.

Approximately 200 volunteers not only donate monetarily, but also donate their time to review funding requests from local programs hoping to receive United Way support. They carefully assess program proposals and outcome measurement data, meet with agency directors and visit agency facilities to get a firsthand look at the programs, the staff and the people they serve. Partner Agencies’ financial documentation including internal financial controls, fiscal health and audit of compliance are also reviewed and analyzed by volunteers who are state licensed Certified Public Accountants or other financial professionals.

The volunteer funding recommendations are reviewed by the Community Investment Committee that submits a final funding proposal to the United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Board of Directors, who are also donor volunteers. The Board approves the proposal and distribution of funds for Partner Agencies’ specific programs.

United Way’s Community Investment process ensures our stewardship. Partner Agencies are held to the highest level of accountability, and voluntarily agree to intense annual review. Therefore, this process assures United Way donors that their generous contributions are used wisely and efficiently.

In the previous year, 140 volunteers representing nearly 65 companies spent over 3,000 hours reviewing funding requests from current Partner Agencies and other non-profit organizations hoping to join the United Way partnership. Beginning in January, these volunteers spent five months rigorously examining each agency seeking financial support. Not only did volunteers evaluate budgets and audits, but they also conducted site visits with the agencies. Meetings were held with both staff and board members to discuss the specific programs to be funded. Based on all the information gathered, the Community Investment Committee made funding recommendations to the United Way Board of Directors in June.

This year is no exception. As both donors to United Way and members of our community, Community Investment Volunteers are afforded a unique opportunity to analyze funding requests, program outcomes, and performance histories, and make funding recommendations.