The United Way. It works for no one.


I really dislike the fund raising tactics of the United Way. I have written this before on another website in 2008. I reworded it a bit to make it more grammatically correct. When I am writing and thoughts are in my head, my grammar goes to hell. Anyway…

In the 1990s, I was a casino dealer working for Harrah’s Entertainment, which is the largest owner of casinos. This company is aiming to be the Wal Mart of gambling, with properties all over the World. The company has many subsidiaries like Horseshoe, Imperial Palace and many other properties.

Harrah’s, more than other casino company, tries to be “community involved”.
While their slot machines were causing people to lose the house, they had to sell themselves as being responsible corporate citizens.

I worked on their property in Tunica, Mississippi. Harrah’s was in partnership and gave money to a group called the United Way. The United Way is basically a group that [STRIKE]begs[/STRIKE] collects money and then distributes them out to various charities. I dislike this structure because I want to know where my money is going. For example, if I give to Jerry Lewis, I know it is going into medical research for muscular diseases. Your banner odd for World Vision, is a group that solicits funds for poor kids, probably mostly from Africa. With United Way, it was basically a pool of charities.

Harrah’s the corporation gave a sizable contribution, and offered that its employees can contribute too! It wasn’t enough for Harrah’s, a multi billion dollar conglomerate to give, but they allowed these UW bums to come into the workplace to shake us down.

To make a long story short, there was a great push from management that all employees should contribute WEEKLY to this organization, with** individual supervisors pressuring **the employee to give something.:mad:

I at first refused to give UW anything. Unfortunately, this wasn’t going to fly. My immediate supervisor was a guy named Andre, a friendly young guy who was about my age then. Andre wanted, begged, conjoled, and probably would of took his clothes off for me to get me to contribute. Nothing threatening, but Andre had pressure from the man upstairs, and Andre needed 100% compliance. This was crazy. This guy has a job with the company, and now he has to do this shit on the side.

I finally gave in and gave up $2.00 a month, the bare minimum. Of course, I had to fill out a form with my name and more or less “minimum” checked on the paper. In many workplaces, the person has to check “no contribution” and signed their names.

This really pissed me off on many levels. This outside charity group worms it’s way in the workplace, and more or less pressures managers and employees to give. There was nothing punitive about not giving, but it seems like when promotions in the company were being offered, it was the people who gave in to the extortion were the people given the promotions. Harrah’s was a company that promoted from within, and at least on our property, promotions were given to those seen as the most loyal workers, with a lot of nepotism and who is friends with who type of mentality. Saying no to the UW was seen as a negative.

UW always seems to come into the workplaces of people making low wages who want to keep their jobs. Usually people in higher positions have more freedom to say yes or no to their pitch. People who desire to keep their low wage servoce positions are the ones most targeted by UW. The leader of the local UW recently retired, but he noted that contributions to UW has gone way up in 2009. Now, why would that be, since in 2009 (as now) the economy was in the dump? Who has spare funds to give them?

I have read other message boards about United Way and their tactics. Honestly, I do not think they should be allowed to do these workplace collections and fuck around with people’s careers and adding more stress to the work environment. Added with that I do not where the hell my money goes, and with UW with a history of corruption in its organization (see Wiki article, they probably shouldn’t even be legal at all.

For instance, if your boss was the father of a girl scout, and brought cookies to the workplace to sell, and not buying the cookies will be seen as bad for one’s own advancement or career, would not there be grounds for a lawsuit? Why is the UW any different?

Any UW horror stories? Is there anyway that they can go away?


A video expose purportedly showing United Way employees helping a teenage prostitute and her pimp file their taxes might do it.

I have a long public record of hating United Way. They are like the Mafia of charity, they make offers you can’t say no to.

And one reason they succeed is that they turn their fundraising into a corporate penis measuring contest. Companies get to take credit for the amount of money pledged by their employees, and then they get to say. “We are the largest contributors…”

Here’s a thread I did 6 years ago about the evils of UW in the workplace. What is most interesting is that early on a True Believer in UW shows up, and we all begin to trash her attitudes.

Is the UW actually doing this or is it the employers? I’ve fought against the 100% compliance tactics of the US ARMY and won, when I left the Army gave you the opportunity to contribute but finally stopped demanding everyone give, (that may have changed back, IDK). To punish me for not giving I was put in charge of the UW program to enforce the 100% policy of the commanders, That was a huge mistake as I absolutely refused to pressure anyone and my commander came in dead last for percentage of his troops giving. The first punishment detail I got for this was taken immediately to JAG and I pressed charges, I won.

For every place I’ve worked I’ve always wondered what motive was behind upper management’s hard sell on the United Way.
I could see companies allowing UW a foot in the door to get the publicity as a good community citizen gesture and then allowing UW to do the hard sell on the employees. But after that point why would the company care how many of it’s employees participate? They’ve already got their “We support UW” badge so why the push?
But you’re right. For some reason upper management strongly pushes this stuff. Is there some sort of tax break for the companies?

Shouldn’t you be pitting the bosses who pressured you to contribute to charity rather than the charity itself?

You’re my hero! I’d love to hear more details about the legal part of this if you’d care to share them.

The United Way is complicit in this. They count on this kind of pressure to help them raise funds. That’s corrupt.

Wow you have hit a nerve with me. My first job was as a dishwasher in a retirement home making $2.65 an hour. We were “strongly encouraged” to give a donation to the United Way.
Even way back then as a punk stoner teenager I was thinking WTF? Here I am making 2.65 before taxes and I’m supposed to give to a charity when I can barely afford to fill my car up with gas?

No, it’s strictly a prestige thing among Fortune 1000 CEOs. At the executive level, United Way is basically a social networking club which requires having your company (i.e., the employees) contribute competitive levels of money in order to allow CEOs to join and be listed. It’s the same as certain notable religions which offer access the inner circle/eldership/priesthood/whatever in exchange for contributing or getting others to contribute a certain amount of funds.


Side note:

[****del][/****del] tags work for strikethru on this forum, [del]like this[/del].

As someone mentioned upthread, they do this because comparing United Way contributions is slightly more socially acceptable than taking your penis out of your pants and breaking out the tape measure.

It gets better. Now you have an “existing relationship” with them–and all their subsidiary charities.

In addition, what kills me is that the corporate douchebags who push for United Way contributions don’t get the maxim that “Money is fungible”.

They’ll say “Oh, you can contribute to the charity of your choice and you don’t have to contribute to something you don’t believe in.” and they don’t get that if you say “Ok, I don’t want my money to go to the home for unwed dogs”, they’ll just redistribute other people’s money to make up the difference.

I don’t know how it works everywhere, but at the companies I’ve been at, there’s always an option to contribute to another charity through the same mechanism. I filled out the UW form and in small print near the bottom there’s a check box and blank space for an alternate charity. I always check that box and put in a charity I like. UW never sees a dime of my money and a charity I like gets a steady donation.

Hint: use the centimeter side of the ruler, but report your result without mention of units.

BTW, thanks for the OP, it’s been too long since I’ve seen a good United Way rant.

And hating UW is something almost all of us can get behind. In a way it’s a beautiful thing.

I’ve always been a strong contributor in these threads, and it’s been a while.

However, in that time, I’ve been working extensively with our local United Way. It is one of the best organizations I’ve ever worked with. Yes, it sucks that employees at corporate organizations that are involved in their fundraising drive get pressured like that - it REALLY sucks and crosses a line. But the organization itself is a true asset to my community and performs a function (actually, MANY functions) that no other entity has the capacity for.

You “had to”? :confused:

Why not just decline to fill out the form?

I don’t contribute to UW or buy my bosses kids girl scout cookies. My charitable giving is my en business and I have a policy of not contributing to any fundraisers at work. Easier to say no to all than to pick and choose.

My husband might be in to tell his story about United Way and How He Was Co-erced By Three Levels of Management Last Year. To start with, it’s fucking private - they have absolutely no business discussing who has or hasn’t donated to this year’s arm-twisting like they do. Secondly, there were intimations made that his future with the company was potentially tied to his lack of being a team player by not contributing - that is so far past acceptable that acceptable is a dot to these people. Then there was the pressure to not be the only hold-out - everyone else has donated, you know. You’re preventing everyone in your cohort from getting their “prizes” for 100% participation (because, you know, those travel mugs are so hard to come by!). I support him 100% for not participating in this corrupt, evil practice - we have charities that we support that we have, as a family, decided make sense to us and want to help out. We DO NOT respond well to blackmail and coercion.