FAQ 2021

Frequently Asked Questions December, 2020

MUW will update this FAQ as questions are received. New questions and answers are noted in blue.

Mission and Strategic Direction

Monadnock United Way is dedicated to improving lives by mobilizing diverse partners and investing in programs and people to create long-lasting measurable change.


Q: How does MUW fulfill that mission?

A: MUW brings people and programs together to work toward shared goals and activities. It minimizes duplication of services and maximizes outcomes for the people being served. Through this Collective Impact (CI) model, people from nonprofit, public and private sectors — come together to address a specific problem and find solutions. We unite members of our community to work together to address identified needs that will strengthen and solve issues related to Children, Education and Financial Stability. Examples of CI in action are the development of several collectives supported by MUW:

Q: How will the CI model make it easier for agencies to stay focused on their mission and do their work?

A: MUW’s impact investment funding model encourages a collective approach between agencies to addressing our region’s most pressing needs. Impact helps agencies achieve their missions through a high‐level of collaboration.

Q: Is MUW funding only collectives?

A: The initiatives that MUW is funding includes a mix of collectives, individual programs, and community-based initiatives.

Q: What is MUW’s Vision?

A: Our collective vision is a region free of child abuse and neglect and filled with opportunities for education and financial stability so that people of all ages can realize their dreams. A strong and vibrant community looks like this:

  • Children live in safe, nurturing, healthy homes and communities
  • Community members receive an education that enables them to achieve their full potential
  • Community members have the financial resources they need to live healthy, happy and productive lives

Q: What steps are being taken to make that vision a reality?

A: MUW engages a cross section of stake holders in the region to create collaborative, community-wide solutions to problems that cannot be solved by a single agency alone. This collaboration has resulted in:

  •  Coordinated plans between multiple agencies
  •  Deep partnership between MUW and agencies
  •  Collaboration that helps agencies hone their strategies and make a bigger difference together
  •  Measurable outcomes to help agencies and donors see progress made in addressing our region’s needs
  • The ability for programs and agencies to leverage MUW dollars for matching grants

Q: What is MUW’s value for partners and for donors?

A: Our commitment to the community is strong: We bring multiple sectors together to solve our region’s toughest problems

  • We seek and invest in solutions that strengthen the fabric of our community today and tomorrow
  • We advocate and aggressively fundraise for the benefit of this community
  • We collaborate with our partners and support their success – and that of the individuals they serve
  • We transparently report our successes and challenges to you, our community

Q: What has MUW achieved since launching the Strategic Plan in 2016?

A: During the last four years, we have moved steadily toward our vision of a region free of child abuse and neglect and filled with opportunities for education and financial stability.

We have:

  • Built on the success of our pilot collective, The Monadnock Home Visiting Alliance, by supporting a merger with the Monadnock Parent Education Collective resulting in the Monadnock Alliance for Families.
  • Helped launch and support three new collectives: Cheshire County Emergency Housing Collaborative, The Monadnock Food Pantries Collective, and the Monadnock Region Afterschool Collective
  • Reaffirmed our commitment to the Monadnock Region by raising and allocating over $200,000 for Covid-19 Relief.  Funds were allocated to partner agencies and programs as well as emergent needs in organizations identified by the community.
  • Convened community leaders in the areas of food insecurity, senior services, and early childhood education to help address the basic needs of our community during the Covid crisis.
  • Earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Guidestar and a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator
  • Attracted federal funds to implement the Pyramid Model in our community. This model is a professional development system that assists early childhood programs in supporting the social and emotional development of all young children, including those with challenging behavior.
  • Impact Monadnock, the signature early childhood initiative of the Monadnock United Way, has received funding through Child Care Aware of NH and the CARES act. This funding will be used to build capacity around food access in the Monadnock Region. The goal is to connect regional childcare centers with Monadnock Farm Community Coalition (MFCC).
  • Developed a clear framework, measurement system, and guidelines for our funded initiatives
  • Provided group and individual training to build capacity for our partners
  • Attracted state funding for early childhood into the region
  • Become a statewide leader in the early childhood sector through Impact Monadnock
  • Strategically aligned our annual investments to a size that is sustainable, impactful, and reflects community support focusing on family stability and early childhood education. Research supports that stabilizing families has a tangible impact on children, today’s workforce as well as the next generation. Here are a few of the research studies and results:

Perry Preschool Project

Nobel Laureate James Heckman’s research shows that high quality investments in early childhood and families break the cycle of poverty and reap benefits for two generations. The second generation of children in this study are much more likely to:

  • Spend 3X more time with stably married parents before age 18
  • Complete high school without suspension
  • Never be suspended, addicted or arrested
  • Be employed full time or self‐employed

RAND research

Two commissioned research projects around early childhood in New Hampshire were conducted by the RAND corporation over the last few years. These reports support investing in families and children through services such as home visiting and early childhood supports.

Investing in the Early Years: The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Early Childhood in New Hampshire

Advancing Investments in the Early Years: Opportunities for Strategic Investments in Evidence‐Based Early Childhood Programs in New Hampshire

Q: What is the state of MUW’s Workplace Campaign?

A: The Workplace Campaign has continued to steadily decline. Trends include:

Ten years ago:

  • The workplace campaign raised $2.1 million
  • Two workplace campaigns raised over $200,000 and two raised over $100,000
  • 4,700 individuals donated to MUW


  • The workplace campaign raised $1.3 million
  • One workplace campaign raises over $100,000
  • 2,900 individuals donated to MUW

Q: Are there fundraising streams that show growth or promise?

  A: Yes. We have seen growth in the following areas:

  • In 2019, our community raised $160,000 over and above campaign gifts from individuals and foundations to support Impact Monadnock, our early childhood initiative to prepare children for academic, career and life success
  • Giving by our most generous supporters has increased by 28% in the past three years

Q: What are the factors behind the decline in giving?

A: National giving trends

Donor and corporate behaviors are changing, and our annual fundraising campaign reflects what is happening nationwide. While the amount given to charity was up 1.6% from 2017‐18, the total number of givers has declined, a trend that started in 2004. Increasingly, wealthier individuals are giving more while those who give between $1 and $999 are declining 4% nationally between 2017‐18.

Workplace giving trends

Many companies are significantly reducing or eliminating traditional workplace campaign activities that highlight local human service organizations. Locally and nationally, employers want to give their employees greater choice when it comes to philanthropy. Many opt to use generic on‐line giving platforms that highlight a broad range of charities in place of a United Way Campaign. Some companies who still hold United Way Campaigns opt to make pledge forms available but schedule minimal activities. Without the opportunity for employees to meet leaders of locally based charitable organizations and learn how their donations affect people living in the community, giving declines. Personal connections to the local community decline as well.

Q: I designated my donation to a specific program. What will happen to my donation?

A: Designated donations will be honored and paid directly to those agencies over and above their allocations.  

Q: I gave to a Covid-19 relief fund – why should I give to the campaign?

A: The Covid-19 fund provided immediate relief for our neighbors and friends. But that did not pay for the good work our nonprofits provide to people in need every day. Without your gift, fewer children will attend child care; more families will lose home visiting and parenting classes, and more of our neighbors will face housing instability and hunger.

Q: What is your overhead?

A: Our general management and fundraising is 15%. Our investment in our community is 85%.

Q: Where do the funds go?

A: MUW invests in local nonprofits and community-based initiatives that work collaboratively to solve our region’s most pressing issues for children, education and financial stability. We provide a mix of multi-year grants; coalition training, support and tools; and advocacy at local and state levels. Visit muw.org/2021-investments for details.

Q: Is overhead an effect measurement of the efficiency of organizations?

A: According to whitepapers from Guidestar, Charity Navigator and BBB Wise Alliance Giving:

“The percent of charity expenses that go to administrative and fundraising costs—commonly referred to as “overhead”—is a poor measure of a charity’s performance. We ask you to pay attention to other factors of nonprofit performance: transparency, governance, leadership, and results … At the extremes the overhead ratio can offer insight: it can be a valid data point for rooting out fraud and poor financial management. In most cases, however, focusing on overhead without considering other critical dimensions of a charity’s financial and organizational performance does more damage than good.”

At MUW, we encourage all donors and nonprofits to learn more about the Overhead Myth and take the steps noted in these whitepapers when choosing a nonprofit to support.

Also, watch this 1-minute Video about healthy overhead: