What is VAT?

Have you thought about volunteering for your community, but aren’t sure where to plug in or how to get started? Here’s the inside scoop from Shakeitha Tatum, Vice President of Agency Relations at United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA), about a great way to make a difference in your community while expanding your network of friends and contacts when you sign up for UWCA’s “VAT.”

Q:   What does VAT stand for?

A:    VAT is an acronym for Visiting Allocations Teams.

Q:   What do Visiting Allocation Teams do?

A:    The VAT program is part of UWCA’s accountability process. Teams of community volunteers are trained to visit our partner agencies, learn about their programs, services and operations and help United Way evaluate the agencies’ stewardship of the funds we allocate to them each year.  Not only is this a way to ensure partners are good financial stewards, but it also provides feedback on how UWCA can, in turn, support the agencies more effectively and learn about results of the work they do with UWCA donor dollars.

Q:   Why is the VAT program important?

A:    VAT is important because it provides the opportunity for community members to learn more about UWCA and the programs that we fund through our partner agencies and how those programs are benefiting our community. It is a great way for those familiar with UWCA to get directly involved in helping determine how donor dollars are being invested. And it gives those who are unfamiliar with us an understanding of United Way’s role in the community with respect to helping provide vital services to thousands of families and individuals through the partner agencies we support.

Q:   How many volunteers does it take?

A:    Each year, we have — and need — hundreds of volunteers. With such a large six-county area being served, it is an all-hands-on-deck effort to ensure that every partner agency gets the attention it deserves.

Q:   What are the time commitments?

A:    For each individual participant, it takes only around 10 to 12 hours in total! This includes team meetings and up to three agency visits per team.

Q:   How do I apply?

A:    Applications are closed for 2023, but you can always learn more and keep an eye out for next year’s application at uwca.org/VAT