Giving Beyond The United Way: Do As You Choose – Not As You’re Told

United Way has been the corporate giving lifeline for almost 130 years. You read that right,130 years! The organization was founded on the mission that “United Way improves lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good.”

At the onset of corporate giving, it was logical for this federation model to lead. People did not desire autonomy in giving while modern day technology was still one hundred years away. Unfortunately for the United Way, “The Times They Are A-Changin”. Regardless of industry, advanced technology has forever changed the way we do business and it continues to disrupt every traditional model that is still in existence. Why would corporate and individual giving be any different? And for what? An antiquated model and a recognized brand name?

Despite the reasons for maintaining United Way programs, the market is responding. For the first time ever, a sponsor of a donor advised fund, Fidelity, topped the Chronicle’s list of 400 U.S. Charities that raise the most money,   

Fidelity President, Pamela Norley comments: “A lot of what [donor-advised funds] have brought to charities and our donors is really technology,” she says. “It’s an intermediary between the donor and charity that allows the process of giving to be simpler and more transparent and easier for record-keeping.”

Clearly, people are demanding new ways to give. It is not only a technology-led change, individuals and corporations desire a new model as well. So, what is next on the docket?

The rise in Individual Donor Advised funds

We’ve already covered how DoTopia differs from other DAFs like Fidelity’s. Plus, the United Way has accomplished their mission with many shiny stats to prove it, but their reign is over. It is time to let employees, customers and individual givers decide where their money should go through the vehicle of personalized giving, powered by technology.

Here is why:

  1. People should give if they want to – “forced giving”, which can be positioned as pledging, is an oxymoron and feels more like taking.
  2. People are already giving money and time outside of corporate giving campaigns to organizations they care about. Why not help them do this better and easier?
  3. Corporations are already asking their employees to give their time, ideas and skills. Stop asking them to give their money to an organization they might not align with.
  4. All people have the capacity and knowledge to research and give to the organizations that will use their money most efficiently.
  5. Every gift matters. Not everyone can or wants to “compete” with other givers. Regardless of donation size, organizations appreciate every dollar.
  6. Individuals are demanding an easier and more accessible solution.
  7. Giving can be an extremely useful employee engagement tool. The federation model is a detractor from this powerful benefit.

As technology, personal preferences and generational nuances evolve, so do the ways in which people want to create impact. The current United Way approach is antiquated for this next generation and the market is responding.

DoTopia’s giving model is simple: we believe in every person’s foundation. Let the individual giver decide where their money should go. They can even give to the United Way if they so choose! Personalization, transparency and authenticity is key. With brand-funded giving campaigns, 100% of dollars donated go directly to any vetted charity of choice.


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