You may notice a theme as you read the newest blogs for the United Way of Southeast Missouri. We are all new to our roles and sharing new experiences. My start with United Way began in May as the Operations Manager.
Although we are a nonprofit, we operate like any other business with monthly receivables, payables and, above all, fiscal responsibility. Our fiscal year ended June 30, which meant spending time with our budgeting process and executing the responsibilities needed to meet the annual requirements of a United Way regional office.
As a newbie, I can say crafting a budget has been a learning experience, requiring the advice of many volunteers and professional to help guide us, and we’ve made good strides. Our team is committed to operating as efficiently and responsibly as possible, and we will continue to make adjustments. It made for an exciting start with the organization and gave me a fast introduction to United Way budgeting practices.
Part of the fiscal year-end responsibilities also meant a quick introduction to the detailed reports each United Way is required to complete as one of 1800 worldwide chapters. These reports track annual progress and provide global demographics about the contributions the organization receives. It was a definite challenge! We relied on past reports and a donation tracking tool to help complete the information, and United Way of Southeast Missouri (UWSEMO) is proud to say we completed our United Way Worldwide Membership Requirements on time. We like to share the big “thumbs up” from United Way Worldwide that’s posted on our website.
Perhaps one of the most critical challenges I met in my first three months is a process that occurs only once every three years for our organization. We call it our RFP Process when any organization or program that supports our commitment to Education, Income and Health is invited to request funding. With the help of many community volunteers we identify the agencies and programs in which we will invest the donations given by caring individuals and businesses in our community. The process is complicated and difficult, as many outstanding groups apply for assistance.
I scheduled and participated in several meetings of volunteers who comprise our Board, Community Impact Committee and Proposal Review Panel who, with United Way staff, reviewed 34 applications and made 26 site visits. We are extremely thankful for those who submitted and reviewed applications, made recommendations, visited agencies, and reviewed and ranked results. These volunteers often contribute time outside of normal work schedules and show great dedication to help strengthen the community we all share.
There are many extraordinary people we meet and work with every day. Thank you to everyone for being so supportive in these first months.