Q. Why should I give through Iowa Shares instead of directly to the agency?

A. Iowa Shares does not want to discourage you from giving to agencies directly. Payroll deduction is another way, and perhaps a better way, for you to support your community. Payroll deduction could be better for you because:

  • It’s convenient to have donations deducted each pay period;
  • It may allow you to give more money because it is spread over a year’s time.

One reason our agencies like payroll deduction campaigns is because they are a low-cost way to educate and inform the community at-large and to recruit donors and volunteers. You support this concept by contributing through Iowa Shares.

Q. What happens if I don’t designate any one group?

A. Contributions that are not designated are then distributed to participating agencies.

Q. How do you evaluate your agencies?

A. We evaluate our member agencies in two ways. First, they must provide updated financial and program information annually. Second, they must participate in the running of Iowa Shares. This is accomplished primarily by working on one of several committees. If organizations cannot comply in those two ways, they are put on a probationary period and/or removed.

Q. Aren’t you duplicating efforts of other federations? How are you different from federations?

A. Iowa Shares is similar to other local nonprofit federations, but still very different. We are similar in that we both encourage the use of payroll deduction to raise funds. Different, however, in that we represent different nonprofits and we distribute our funds differently.

Iowa Shares offers a diverse choice of agencies (environmental, cultural, etc.) in addition to direct service agencies. Other federations that are in our area fund direct service agencies. Iowa Shares distributes the majority of the money raised based on donor designation — which we not only allow, but encourage! Other local federations prefer to distribute money according to allocation amounts pre-determined by a committee.

Q. What is the difference between designating one of your nonprofits through Donor Choice* versus designating that nonprofit through Iowa Shares? Can I give to Iowa Shares member nonprofits through Donor Choice? *Donor Choice is a United Way program where donors can choose to write in and support a nonprofit that isn’t a United Way member.

A. Iowa Shares member agencies have opted to participate in workplace giving through Iowa Shares rather than through other federations, therefore Iowa Shares members prefer that their donors support them at work through Iowa Shares. Iowa Shares member nonprofits receive significantly more contributions and a larger percentage of the contribution when supported through Iowa Shares as opposed to being supported through the Donor Choice program.

However, if your workplace does not include the option to support Iowa Shares and you’d like to support one of our member nonprofits, we encourage you to use Donor Choice to “write-in” your Iowa Shares nonprofit of choice.

Q. Do any of your agencies receive money from other federations’ workplace giving campaigns?

A.They do and Iowa Shares is glad that there is more than one avenue for our members to raise the much needed funds to carry out their missions. It is also only a benefit to the donating public across Iowa to have a multitude of choices for charitable giving.

The majority of Iowa Shares member nonprofits, however, do not fit other federations’ missions to be included as a partnering agency. Also, many of our member nonprofits prefer the cooperative structure of Iowa Shares, our emphasis on donor designation, and our membership diversity.

Payroll deduction is an efficient, worthwhile mechanism for fundraising that more and more non-profit agencies are aware of its potential. As governmental cutbacks increase, the primary way to raise money will be through individual giving, and workplace giving is an excellent way to reach those individuals.

Q. What is your administrative/fund-raising cost?

A. The amount of the workplace donations retained by Iowa Shares has been averaging at 15%. This means 85 cents of each dollar will be given directly to our member nonprofits.

If you have questions about Iowa Shares that were not addressed above, please contact us!