Donor Information and Policies (updated October 2011)

The mission of United Way of Buffalo & Erie County is to bring people, organizations, and resources together to improve community well being.  The annual Campaign is United Way's primary vehicle for raising funds, and offers the entire community an opportunity to contribute financial resources toward the achievement of United Way's mission.

Below are United Way's donor policies and other important information.  If you have any questions, please call (716) 887-2758 or e-mail

Table of Contents (click on any heading to move to that section)

Privacy and Confidentiality

Pledging and Payment


Tax Deductability and Recordkeeping

Donor Designation


Overhead Costs



The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County respects the privacy of our donors.  Under no circumstances will names, contact information, or any other data related to our donors be sold, lent, or traded to any organization for any reason.

Personal information entrusted to the United Way will not be communicated outside the organization, including agencies to which the donor makes a designated gift, unless specifically authorized by the donor.

Donor information, including but not limited to contact information, employer, and giving history, is collected and maintained for internal purposes only.  United Way retains such personal information only as long as necessary for the purposes of this policy and to comply with federal and state record retention requirements.

Leadership donors ($1,000 and above) are given the option to have their names listed in our annual Leadership Roster.  Donors who indicate to us that they wish to remain anonymous are not listed in the Roster.

Upon written request, donors may be allowed access to their personal information and specify that the information be corrected, oppose the retention of the information, or request its elimination from the UW's information records. It is important to note that any donor records containing transactions (pledges or payments) must be retained in compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations.

Questions regarding our privacy and confidentiality policy, or the security of personal information processed by UW should be sent to:

Chief Information Officer
United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
742 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14209

back to top



There are several ways an individual or corporate donor can pay their pledge:

  1. Cash
  2. Checks - made payable to United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.
  3. Credit Card - If using a paper pledge card, an invoice will be mailed to the donor's mailing address to secure this confidential information.  Credit card payments are accepted online for those companies using our ePledge and via for those making a contribution outside a workplace campaign.
  4. Direct Debit - a direct debit form will be mailed directly to donor's home or mailing address to secure the donor's checking or savings account number, the donor's bank's routing number, and the account holder's name.   Direct debit payments are debited from the donor's bank account on the 15th of the month, as directed by the donor (monthly, quarterly, annually).
  5. Payroll deduction - this option is available only to donors giving through their workplace Campaign.    By signing the United Way pledge form, or submitting a pledge online through the workplace campaign, the donor authorizes his or her employer's payroll department to deduct a certain amount from his or her paycheck on a pre-determined schedule.   The amount deducted is then remitted to the United Way by the donor's employer. 
  6. Electronic Fund Transfer - this payment option is reserved for companies and other organizations to remit payment to the United Way for their corporate pledge and/or United Way deductions withheld from their employees' paychecks.  
  7. Stocks or Securities - there are two ways to donate securities:

a. Via broker - the donor's broker should initiate a transfer of the gifted securities to United Way of Buffalo & Erie County's brokerage account as follows: 

Morgan Stanley
Acct Name:  United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
Acct # 828-105485-033
DTC # 0015
Contact Name:  Katie Harrington, Portfolio Associate
Contact Phone Number:  (716) 849-2303

b. Via stock certificate - issue a stock certificate naming the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County as the owner of a specific number of stocks being donated.  The original stock certificate can be picked up by a United Way representative or mailed directly to the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County's finance office.

Whichever option donor may choose, the date of the gift is the date the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County becomes true owner of the donated securities.  For income tax purposes, the deduction value is the mean between the high and low quoted selling prices on the date of the gift.

back to top



Within a month of receiving a pledge, regardless of the payment method, United Way sends a thank you letter or card to the address provided by the donor.  This communication also lists any agency or agencies designated by the donor to receive all or part of the donor's contribution. As noted in the following section, this letter might be needed if the donor itemizes deductions on his or her tax return, and should therefore be retained with other important tax documents.

Occasionally, there are reasonable delays in transmitting pledge information from the workplace to the United Way.  In any case, the United Way will send donor the Thank You and acknowledgement letter within a month from the date when United Way receives the pledge from the donor's workplace.

back to top



The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and as such contributions to United Way are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

The IRS requires that all individuals who itemize deductions on their federal tax return should have documentation to substantiate all contributions, regardless of amount.  In January of each year, the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County sends tax receipts to all donors and companies who made payment of at least $250.00 in the prior calendar year, through any method other than payroll deduction and securities.  Tax receipts for gifts through stocks or securities are mailed to the donor within 30 days from receipt of the gifted securities.  For donors who paid less than $250.00 through any method other than payroll deduction and securities in the prior calendar year, a receipt will be issued upon the request of the donor.

The following are the requirements from IRS for charitable gift substantiation:

1.       Gifts of cash, check, credit card or direct debit

a.     Bank record (cancelled check, bank statement or credit card statement); OR

b.     Written acknowledgement from the United Way showing the date of payment and amount of contribution.  (Note:  Donors may use the tax receipt issued by United Way of Buffalo & Erie County in January of each year.)

2.      Gifts of securities

a.     Broker record showing the name of the charity and date of the gift; OR

b.     Written acknowledgment from the United Way showing the date and the exact type of contribution, and the mean value of the stock on the date the gift was received.

 3.      Gifts paid through payroll deduction

a.     Pay stub, Form W-2, or other employer-furnished document that sets forth the amount withheld for payment of your pledge to the United Way; AND

b.     A copy of the pledge confirmation or the Thank You letter from the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.

back to top



1.     Undesignated gifts make the biggest impact in our local community.  Funds are directed to local programs that address our community's most significant needs in the areas of education, income, health and wellness.

2.     Any donor may choose to designate all or a portion of his or her total gift to a certified, 501 (c) (3) organization that provides health and human services.    The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County does not charge a fundraising fee on designated contributions.   However, in order to minimize our cost on processing designated contributions, donors are requested to:

     a.      Choose from the list of eligible agencies found on our website,  Write the agency's name, code, and amount designated on the pledge form.  If the donor's employer uses ePledge, the list is available on the ePledge site.

     b.    If the donor wishes to designate to an agency not listed, he or she should write the agency's name and address on the pledge form.  If the donor's employer uses ePledge, the agency's name and address should be entered in the "write in" field.  The United Way may contact the donor for assistance in certifying the agency. 

 3.     A donor may choose to designate to more than one agency.  If there is not enough space to write the agencies' names on the pledge card, the donor should write his or her name and the agencies' names and designated amounts at the back of the pledge card or on a separate sheet attached.

4.     For payroll pledges that are rolled over or continued into the new Campaign or deduction year, the United Way will not automatically designate Campaign gifts to a previously designated agency.  If a donor wishes to designate his or her gift to an agency to which he or she previously designated, the donor should communicate the agency's name to the United Way through the following means:  a) complete a new pledge form or submit his pledge through ePledge; b) write a letter to the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, Attn:  Pledge Services, 742 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209; or c) send an email to   

5.     To confirm that the United Way has recorded the donor's selected agency or agencies, the donor will receive an acknowledgement from the United Way indicating the agency or agencies' name and amount designated. 

6.     Donor designated dollars and United Way allocations that are directed to the same agency are managed independently.  The agency will receive two separate payments from these two separate and distinct sources of funds. 

7.     It is preferred that all agency designations must be communicated to the United Way on or before March 31st, the end of the United Way's  fiscal year, in order to determine the amount of undesignated funds available for allocations.  However, if a donor forgets to designate his or her gift, he or she may still do so in writing, anytime during the year up to six months after the completion of the campaign.

8.     Designated agencies will be paid by the United Way on a bi-monthly cycle.  All monies collected are automatically paid in the next payment cycle immediately following collection.  The amount remitted to the agencies will be determined by the manner in which the pledge was paid:

     a)    Pledges paid through cash, checks, credit cards, direct debit

           These types of payments are ultimately recorded on the donor's account.  Since the payment came directly from the donor, we can readily record the payment detail on a per donor basis.  Once payment is posted on the individual donor's record, the designated agency is paid on the following payout cycle after payment is received.  The agency will receive 100% of dollars designated to it. 

      b)      Pledges paid through stocks

             The amount to be paid to the agency will be the actual value of the stock at the time it was sold.  For example, a donor may give $1,000 worth of stocks (value at gift date) and designate the full amount to an agency.  However, due to fluctuations in stock prices and potential sales fees, the agency may or may not receive the actual amount of the donor's gift.

     c)     Pledges paid through payroll deduction

           Payroll deduction is the easiest and most convenient way of paying a pledge.  Upon signing a United Way pledge form, the donor authorizes the company's payroll to withhold a certain amount from his or her pay check as payment of his pledge.  The total amount withheld is then remitted by the company to the United Way, in one lump sum amount, generally monthly or quarterly.  Since most companies do not provide donors' payment detail, the United Way posts the payment on the Organization's account where the employee-donor is connected.  During the collection period, there may be employees who leave the company and therefore were not able to fully pay their pledge.  The United Way writes off any unpaid portion of the total employees' payroll pledges at the Organization level, not at the individual donor account level.

 It is not feasible to maintain donor level payment information on company payroll accounts.  To serve our donors and agencies in the most efficient, systematic and cost effective way, our system is designed to calculate the amount to be paid to agencies based on the overall collection experience at the company level.  As an example,   ABC Company remitted 95% payment of the total payroll pledges.  The balance of 5% is due to employee turnover.  United Way will then pay all agencies designated by ABC employees 95% of the total dollars designated to them.  

 9.      Agencies who would like to register to receive designations through the United Way Campaign may do so by completing the Agency Information Form.  This form can be downloaded from our website,, For Non Profits tab, Funding/Donations sub-tab.

 Revised 08/02/2012

back to top



Effective Campaign year 2011, no administrative fees will be deducted from contributions designated to 501(c)(3) agencies providing health and human service programs that have registered to participate in the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County Donor Choice Program.

back to top



United Way, like every other for-profit and nonprofit organization, has expenses associated with its operations - from utility costs, to insurance, to payroll costs for staff who do not directly support our community impact work.  For our fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, these expenses amounted to 11.7% of our revenues, which include pledges to the annual Campaign.

Thank you for entrusting the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County with your charitable dollars.  We are grateful for your generosity will continue to uphold the highest standards of stewardship as we work to improve quality of life in Erie County.

 back to top


Powered by Fission Content Management System | Buffalo Website Design by 360PSG