The allocation process is one of the most important and challenging aspects of our organization. The struggling economy has created an increase in need and a decline in funds, forcing United Way to make some tough decisions. Over the past couple of years, we have made many adjustments to the allocation process to create a system that extensively analyzes all of the grant applications. The new process has proved to be efficient and effective, while also providing the agencies with valuable feedback focusing on improvement areas. We guarantee that your dollars are making the greatest impact in our community.
The Application Process
To apply for United Way funds you must be a board approved member agency. For more information about becoming a member agency, please call the office at 815-232-5184. Once admitted as a member, agencies receive their allocation packets after the first of the year. Agencies are not required to submit an application, but any donor gift designated to a member agency will be awarded with or without a grant application. The deadline for all applications is in March. Agencies may file for an extension up to the day before the March board meeting. Packets returned after the deadline, without a United Way board approved extension, will not be considered for funds. In April, panels of community members are convened to review all grant applications using a scoring ruberic.
The Grant Packet
The application packet is the agency's opportunity to give the allocation committee an inside look at their organization. Agencies are asked to explain the program in detail and share the data that shows the program's financials, need in the community, as well as short term and long term goals, the strategic plan for the program and the method of evaluating outcomes. Outcome measures are extremely important to United Way's strategic goals. It is our responsibility to verify that the program is getting results and will continue to impact our community.
All grant applications are evaluated by a panel of community members. The applications are graded on a set of weighted criteria with the weighted criteria varying from year to year based on community need. Funding recommendations are decided based on the applicant's score. All recommendations are approved by the United Way of Northwest Illinois Board of Directors.