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The United Way answers our questions about fundraising costs

Habanero will once again be supporting the United Way. This year's event will kick off on November 5th. The Habanero Giving Committee met with, Ravneek, our United Way representative today to begin planning the campaign. Some minor concern was raised this year about how much of what is donated to the United Way goes toward fundraising costs. Understandably, Habanero employees want to know that the money they give is being used responsibly to help others. Ravneek was open to answering our questions about this. She explained that much of the fundraising cost is covered by an endowment fund and that 86 cents on every dollar donated to the United Way is used to fund programs. A recent CBC story exposing how much some charities spend on fundraising is fresh in some people's minds. It was good to have Ravneek explain how the money we raise will be spent.

Like a business, charities have wages and bills to pay. And unfortunately it costs money to raise money. By raising money for charities the United Way actually enables those charities to focus their efforts on helping people, rather than on fundraising. Ravneek also explained that there is stringent reporting that grantees must adhere to. Basically, the charities who receive United Way grants have to show results. It's not enough, for example, to say that children were helped. They need to explain exactly how the children were helped.

Our concerns allayed, Giving Committee members set an ambitious target of raising at least $20,000 with 80% participation. Ravneek commented that our participation rate is high compared to other companies. Two years ago we had a participation rate of 91% and we raised $21,750. Last year our participation rate was 77% and we raised $14,730. This year we have more employees than ever before, so $20,000 should be a realistic goal — likely one we'll even exceed!

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