Frequently Asked Questions

What does Lake Area United Way do?

Lake Area United Way focuses on enhancing education, increasing financial stability, and promoting health and wellness in Muskogee and Cherokee Counties by collaborating, partnering, funding, advocating, and volunteering with a variety of organizations and resources.  Lake Area United Way isn’t about short-term charity, it’s about creating lasting change in our community.

I already donate to charity.  Why should I give to United Way also?

Because no other single organization meets all of the needs addressed by United Way, many people choose to include United Way in their overall charitable giving.  United Way does much more than collect and distribute money to charitable organizations. United Way is focused on addressing our most pressing issues, particularly those that affect children, families, and the elderly in our community. We not only fund programs that are meeting people’s needs today, but we’re also working on collaborative solutions that will create lasting change in our community. United Way makes it easy to give through your workplace or directly.  Payroll deduction is one of the most effective ways to invest.  This convenience raises the level of philanthropy for our whole community.

Why should I give to United Way instead of directly to agencies?

When you give to United Way, you are investing in what matters most for building our community.  United Way funds a network to cover the greatest needs in our community and enables agencies to leverage more public and private dollars.  This multiples the effect of your contribution. Giving through United Way reduces the cost and time required for fundraising efforts for the agencies who are busy delivering services and helping those who need it the most. Through a committee of volunteer community members, United Way monitors funded partner programs to ensure they adhere to sound fiscal policies and provide effective services.

How much of my investment stays in our community.

Lake Area United Way’s overhead costs, including fundraising and management, were 13.25% in 2019.

How much should I give?

Only you know what’s comfortable for your budget but remember, donations are tax-deductible and you are contributing to the growth of your own community.  $20.00 per pay period if you are paid bi-monthly qualifies you for the LAUW Leadership Level, but even $5.00 per pay period puts 12 brand new books in a child’s lap, provides physical therapy for a disabled child for one week and ensures that one abused child receives the proper forensic exam to convict a child predator.  According to the Charities Review Council, the average American household donates 3.2% of their annual income to charity so a good mark is 1-4 percent of your annual salary.  Interestingly enough, the category of people who give the most -- an average of 5.2 percent of their annual income to charity -- actually make the least, earning below $10,000 a year, which is far below the poverty line.

How long has United Way been around?

Lake Area United Way has been part of our community for almost 100 years.  We are currently bringing people, organizations, and communities together to create last change the friends, family, and neighbors in Muskogee and Cherokee Counties.