Annually, all United Ways certify their adherence to standards that include comprehensive requirements for financial reporting, governance, ethics, diversity and operations. Specifically, United Ways must meet the following:
All United Ways in the USA must be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as well as corresponding provisions of other applicable state, local or foreign laws or regulations.
United Ways are governed by active, responsible, and voluntary governing boards to ensure effective governance over the policies and financial resources of the organization. These boards are responsible for United Ways delivering on their mission to advance the common good.
All United Ways follow locally adopted codes of ethics for volunteers and staff that include provisions for ethical management, publicity, fundraising practices and full and fair disclosure.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
United Ways have adopted policies/statements to ensure volunteers and staff broadly reflect the diversity of the community served. By July 2021, all United Ways will adopt and publicly post their position opposing racial/ethnic discrimination and other forms of oppression. They will provide their board members and staff with annual racial equity training, and use race equity as one criteria to be considered in making community investments.
United Ways undergo annual financial audits conducted by independent certified public accountants whose examination complies with generally accepted auditing standards. In addition, United Ways have developed comprehensive requirements for completion of audited financial statements to ensure consistency and transparency system-wide. These requirements are based on industry best practices and comport with generally accepted accounting principles. Smaller United Ways (with less than $500,000 in annual revenue) may undergo an independent financial review.
Every three years, United Ways conduct self-assessments of their governance, financial management and impact in the community.
Public Reporting and Disclosure
United Ways in the USA must file the IRS Form 990 in a timely manner and will provide the IRS Form 990 on their website, at their offices, or upon request.
United Ways comply with all applicable local, state and federal operating and reporting requirements.
Support the United Way Network
United Ways provide financial support to United Way Worldwide and follow standards to use United Way's trademarks. United Ways charge fees based on actual expenses for donor-designated gifts and other processing services.