Does company get anything out of employee's United Way donations?

I used to work for a large company that “encouraged” its employees to have a small donation removed from every paycheck to go to United Way (“UW”) When I say “encouraged,” what I really mean is intimidated, bullied, bribed, etc. (e.g. Casual Fridays for the office if you participate! But, everyone in the office has to participate. And, if you don’t participate, everyone else will know!)

Anyhow, my wife is now working for another large company that is doing something similar. I’d like to think that this is just a company trying to encourage charity. But, I tend to be a bit cynical, so I’m inclined to believe there is some type of ulterior motive.

I don’t see how the company would get any tax benefit out of this. So, does UW offer some other type of incentive? Maybe, giving them public recognition (i.e. good PR) for getting enough people to donate?

Generally, the United Way only can offer good will. It’s the company’s decision and they don’t get anything out of it other than a feeling they’ve performed their civic responsibility.

If you want to be cynical, you could argue that by forcing people to give to the United Way, the company feels better when they downsize. But cynicism aside, they do it primarily because they want to give back to the community.

It’s possible that the United Way reports on donations so that companies compete to give more. And the UW does give recognition to those that donate a lot.

No, they give to UNited Way because they’re simpleminded, shallow people who like fame more than actually doing good.

The boss gets to brag about his percentage compliance, which makes him more of a stallion to his wife/mistress that evening.

Yep, it’s bragging rights.

That’s all there is. I know that’s what other people have said so far in this thread, but I wanted to confirm that from my professional and academic position in fundraising.

By the way, the technical name for organizations such as United Way is “fundraising consortium.” Just in case you wanted to throw that into your next conversation about UW.

Take a look at this Pit thread from a few years ago about hatred of mandatory United Way participation.

As far as I know (and I’ve worked in many accounting departments and seen the charitable donation receipts myself), corporate donations get a tax receipt. So all of your donations get pooled and the company gets to take the tax deduction for it. My husband and I have our own organizations we support, and we’ll take our own donation receipts, thank you very much.

Maybe Revenue Canada does give the company a tax receipt but I would find that rather odd since they would be sending two receipts for the same donation, one to the company and one to the individual. I don’t particularly like giving to United Way (it’s a philosophical objection to giving to “umbrella charities”, not anything I consider bad about UW) but on those rare occasions when I contributed through payroll deductions I certainly either got a receipt or it may have been included as a charitable donation on the T-4 slip (my memory is fuzzy since I haven’t done it for so long - I seem to recall there is such a box; regardless I had the paperwork to deduct the donation).

In the U.S., companies can write off charitable donations they make directly, including to United Way, but they cannot write off employee donations that they merely collect. They can write off matching donations, but that’s still a direct donation.

The IRS would jump all over any company that claimed United Way money from employee donations.

I agree with everyone else above. Companies force donations because the total generated usually gets big play in the media, company big shots get invited to a trophy dinner, they get invited to sit on Boards, and they can use the good will in a number of ways. They get no tax write off, no kickbacks, nothing tangible.

As I’ve posted in these type of threads before, United Way participation percentages and raw totals are the currency of CEO dick-measuring contests.

You just described why I do not like the United Way. I think it is wrong. I usually just throw the pledge card into the trash.

The company gets to claim that they are a United Way sponser.

My office has recieved a “gold plate” and “silve plate” award for food drives, they hang in the hallway. It shows that we aren’t just souless bureaucrats. The Dep’t head can mention it in her annual report, and that might get her a warm fuzzy.

Mostly, it seems to be just an attempt to do good. The bragging rights are pretty small. There are no econominc benefits at all.

Moving this to IMHO will allow everyone to express their personal opinion as well as facts.

samclem GQ moderator

As others have said, it gives a company an opportunity to associate their name with a branded charity. The United Way seems to have been doing this for years. Maybe it’s just my perception, but the March of Dimes seems to be getting increasingly aggressive with its fund raising efforts as well.

Ah, my bad - I misunderstood how the corporate collection on behalf of the employees worked. I’ll just go with “CEO Dick Measuring Contest” then.

My buddy going about about 15 years ago was in good with management at our company; he told me our manager told him that he got a bonus for getting people to participate.