Kishwaukee United Way just got a big “thumbs up” from United Way Worldwide (UWW). Seriously, they sent me a big “thumbs up” icon via email to let me know that we have successfully completed our 2017 Membership Certification. This annual certification is required for every member United Way. If you don’t meet their requirements, you can’t conduct business as a United Way. There are nine core certification requirements.
First, we must be recognized as exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Every year we must file IRS form 990 in a timely manner, which must be reviewed by our Board of Directors prior to filing, and we must make it available to the public upon request.
Second, we must comply with all applicable legal, local, state and federal operating and reporting requirements. We must reveal when there is an investigation for any violations of local, state and federal laws. We must conduct anti-terrorism compliance measures. We must comply with the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley, which includes whistleblower protection and document retention and destruction policies. We must be currently registered to conduct charitable solicitations at the state and local level.
Third, we are required to have an active, responsible, and voluntary governing body, which ensures effective governance over the policies and financial resources of our organization.
The board must meet at least quarterly; approve the annual budget; have at least two board members with financial experience; review financial statements at least quarterly; review and approve fund distribution decisions; review its bylaws and governing policies at least every three years; and, engage an external auditor and the audit is must be presented to the full board.
Fourth, we must adhere to a locally developed and adopted statement to ensure volunteers and staff broadly reflect the diversity of the community we serve.
Fifth, we must represent ourselves as a United Way in accordance with all UWW trademark standards and requirements, including those contained in the licensing agreement.
Sixth, we must provide financial support to UWW in accordance to the membership investment formula, which is 1% of money during our campaign. The other 99% stays in DeKalb County! UWW member benefits include products and services to enhance our work locally and collectively as a network.
Seventh, we must adhere to a locally developed and adopted code of ethics for volunteers and staff, which includes provisions for ethical management, publicity, fundraising practices, and full and fair disclosure. All staff and board must annually review and sign a conflict of interest and code of ethics statement.
Eighth, we must have an annual audit conducted and year-end financial statements prepared by an independent certified public accountant whose examination complies with generally accepted auditing standards and accounting principles. The audit must be an unqualified “clean” audit. The board must review the auditor’s management letter and take appropriate actions to minimize any risks identified
Ninth, we must conduct and submit to UWW every three years a business performance self-assessment of our community impact work, financial management, organizational governance and decision-making.
We are proud of our big “thumbs up.” It is a lot of work, but it is critical that our donors and volunteers are confident in their investment in Kishwaukee United Way and DeKalb County.
Dawn Littlefield, Executive Director, Kishwaukee United Way
(Article content credited to Vickie Corbett, United Way of Adams County)