UPDATE - United Way changing policy on donations

***UPDATE***

The Article at the bottom of this page appeared in The Lethbridge Herald on Tuesday, July 29.

United Way executive director Jeff McLarty says that the idea and the hope behind eliminating designation fees were to encourage the people of Lethbridge and the surrounding area to invest in the communities we call home.

After further consideration and consultation with peers, the conclusion has been reached that eliminating this fee may unfairly place the responsibility of administration costs on donors who choose not to designate their donations.

For this reason, the recently announced policy will be reviewed further.

“It is still our aim to significantly reduce processing fees to a level that donors will find fair and manageable,” says United Way executive director Jeff McLarty. “But we feel after reflection that we must reconsider retaining a fee for this service.”

The amount of said fee will be announced after a thorough review by United Way’s Board of Directors.

The United Way regrets any confusion the announcement may have caused and sincerely apologizes.

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Those making designated donations through the United Way of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta will now see their contributions going 10 per cent further.

In one of the key policy changes announced during the organization’s annual general meeting, held Monday in the Culver City room at city hall, the usual 10 per cent adminstration fee has been dropped.

Jeff McLarty, executive director for the local United Way, said it had been seen as a major barrier for prospective donors.

“Everybody wants to see all of the money that they donate go directly to the frontlines,” he said.

“The reality is that there will always be some type of administration involved. We, as a processor of donations, felt that we could remove that barrier of charging a fee. If that makes it easier for people to donate, that’s one less reason for them not to donate to their community.”

McLarty added that a modernization of some systems and methods was one of the factoring reasons,

“That allows us to process many more transactions much faster. We used to do a significant amount of processing by hand, and that took time,” he said.

“So we’ve decided, for the foreseeable future, to eliminate that fee. If somebody wants to donate to their favourite charity in Lethbridge, it won’t cost any administration fee off the top. It will go directly to the charity.”

The AGM also involved financial highlights, a video presentation and a few structural changes to its board of directors.

“The last two years have really been about building our organization into what Lethbridge needed it to be,” McLarty said.

“There’s a lot of need in our community, there’s a lot of programs that need support, and we’ve invested in our infrastructure to ensure that we are able to get those funds to the community.”

 

As appearing in The Lethbridge Herald - Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Nick Kuhl

Lethbridge Herald

nkuhl@lethbridgeherald.com

Photo - United Way executive director Jeff McLarty talks with members at the 2014 AGM - by Ian Martens (Lethbridge Herald)