My donation doesn’t stay local. [ MYTH ]

FACT: 99% of all grant dollars stay in Hampshire County. 1% goes to Untied Way Worldwide to pay for organization services and dues.

Too much donation goes to overhead. [ MYTH ]

FACT: On average for the past 5 years, United Way of Hampshire County distributes over 82 cents of every campaign dollar back to the community. Our average overhead is 18%--this is well below 35%, which is what the Better Business Bureau suggests is acceptable.

The relationship between nonprofit overhead and mission success is complex. There is no standard. A nonprofit’s success is measured by effectiveness and impact, which doesn’t boil down to a simple percentage. To offer further perspective, the Charity Navigator score for United Way of Hampshire County is 88/100.

You can read more about overhead at Guidestar, Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator.

United Way coerces people to give. [ MYTH ]

FACT: United Way is against fundraising coercion. We know that our greatest resources are relationships and mutual trust that we have with community members. Money is secondary to relationships when it comes to accomplishing our mission of improving lives. Giving is a personal matter and decision; no form of coercion is acceptable to United Way.

Giving to an agency is always better than giving to the United Way. [ MYTH ]

FACT It depends on your goal as a donor. An investment to the United Way will assure the availability of an entire network of human services.  For example, a homeless family needs food, clothing, and shelter. If you give to a specific agency you can make this happen. But, what if the family also needs job training, daycare, and counseling to leave the shelter? No one agency can meet all the needs of this family. United Way makes sure all these services are available, from the temporary bed to the long-term solution. You should give to United Way if you want to:

  • Support a network of organizations that work together to address the complex issues in our community.

  • Have a meaningful impact, because United Way monitors funded partner programs to ensure they are efficient, follow sound fiscal policies and achieve meaningful impact.

  • Fund organizations that meet our community’s immediate needs, while also laying the foundation for positive long-term change.

  • Help our partner agencies to leverage public and private funding, multiplying the effect of your contribution.

  • Join forces with others who also want to make a difference – lifting together we are stronger.

I don't have a lot to give. I can’t make an impact. [ MYTH ]

FACT: YES you can have an impact! No matter how much you choose to invest, you will be helping to improve the lives of families in Hampshire County.  Your investment is joined by many others to support a network of programs and partnerships that produces outcomes.

I can’t designate my donation. [ MYTH ]

FACT: You can designate your gift.

Because United Way of Hampshire County’s (UWHC) primary fundraising goal is to support a network of well-vetted, local, human services agencies (called partner agencies), we encourage donors to make unrestricted gifts to our general fund. However, we will honor a donor’s decision to designate to specific charities.

UWHC uses a year-long, community-driven process to identify the greatest needs of our region, decide which agencies are best positioned to address those needs, and then allocate our resources accordingly through grants.

Designated gifts to our partner agencies are treated as “first dollars” towards that agency’s grant allocation. These dollars supplement unrestricted gifts given to UWHC’s general fund to complete the agency’s total annual allocation. In the event that the total of these designated gifts exceed an agency’s annual allocation, the agency would receive the larger amount.

UWHC doesn’t apply any kind of administrative processing fee for designating to partner agencies.

First dollars ensures that UWHC meets or exceeds allocation promises to partner agencies. At the same time, it best maintains funds used to help our whole community.

A donor can contribute to another United Way or a specific 501(c)3 (nonprofit) service organization. Charities outside of UWHC’s partner agencies are not subject to UWHC’s review process. If you designate your gift to a charity outside of UWHC’s partner agencies, an 18% processing fee is applied. This processing fee covers our administrative labor costs in addition to helping supplement grants to our partner agencies.

Need to know more? Call us at 413-584-3962, or email us at

99% of all grant dollars stay in Hampshire County.

Our average overhead is 18% (the Better Business Bureau says anything below 35% is acceptable).