Where Does Your Dollar Go?

The 2017 United Way fundraising campaign is in full swing. But once this goal is met, what happens to the money? With more than 80 partner agencies and programs in five counties, distributing money is a challenge when needs are growing.

Over the course of the campaign, around 500 volunteers visit each United Way agency, review their allocation requests, tour the agencies and meet with the agencies’ volunteer boards and executive directors. Funding recommendations are decided based on what was requested by the agency, as well how well the teams judge the agencies are performing in their various missions for the community.

VAT volunteers tour the Boys & Girls Club of Central Alabama in 2016.

The volunteers are split into smaller teams that comprise the Visiting Allocation Team (VAT) portion of the campaign. Each team has a chairman, who represents the interests of that group in a meeting with all VAT chairs and the VAT director immediately following the campaign finale. The chairs present their allocation recommendations for the coming year, and the campaign results are divided among the agencies accordingly. The allocation amounts will be announced after the agencies are notified in January.

“United Way doesn’t raise $38 million or more without trust in the process,” Frank Caley, a VAT chair for the past 6 years, addressed his team. “It takes volunteers like you to make decisions and recommendations that will shape the impact these agencies have on the community at large.”

The VATs meet several times over the course of the campaign to ensure that United Way’s partner agencies are held to high standards and use the funds they have been given in a responsible manner. Their voices speak for the interests of Birmingham citizens across Blount, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties.

If you’re interested in becoming a VAT member for the 2018 campaign season, or have questions about the allocations process, please contact Randy Betsch at vat@uwca.org, or visit http://www.uwca.org/volunteer/visiting-allocation-teams/ for more information.