United Way needs almost 100 volunteers for its Visiting Allocations Team. I just signed up. Will you?

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Bham Now’s Pat Byington just became a member of the United Way Volunteer Allocation Team. Photo by Bham Now

Earlier this month, I volunteered to serve on the United Way of Central Alabama’s Visiting  Allocations Team (VAT). 

It was easy. I clicked on this link, learned the requirements, and filled out a short form and presto! I’m on the team.

Why did I take the plunge? 

Quite frankly, it is about time I gave back to my community, and because of the coronavirus outbreak, the United Way needs almost 100 community members to step forward by the end of August to help.

Let me tell you why I volunteered for the United Way Visiting Allocations Team and why YOU should join the team with me! 

United Way is Everywhere

The Visiting Allocation teams will evaluate United Way agencies like this team reviewing the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama in 2019. This year the tours and meetings will be done through virtual meetings for a safer volunteer experience. Photo courtesy of United Way of Central Alabama

For the past four years as a writer for Bham Now, I have produced countless stories about local nonprofits in our community.  Some of the groups include United Ability, A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club, Ronald McDonald House, Community Kitchens, Jimmie Hale Mission, and Girls, Inc., to name a few. 

There is one thing all these smart, effective, and compassionate non-profits have in common. They are all United Way of Central Alabama partner organizations.

In Birmingham and Central Alabama, when you give to the annual United Way campaign, you are supporting 80+ partner agencies and programs within our community. Last year, United Way invested over $27.4 million to its partner agencies.

First, What is a Visiting Allocation Team?

At the United Way of Central Alabama, accountability is paramount. That’s why they enlist hundreds of volunteers from the community to ‘visit’ and take a close look at each and every nonprofit agency they fund.

This massive annual effort, visiting 69 agencies, is not an easy task. Many other measures are the reasons our local United Way ranks as one of the top charities in the United States, according to Charity Navigator, the largest independent nonprofit evaluator in the country.  

In fact, as of June 2020, the United Way of Central Alabama is number two in the nation for good governance and accountability.  

What are the Responsibilities

So, as a newly minted member of the team, what are my responsibilities?

Obviously, this year will be a different experience because of COVID-19 restrictions. 

I will be:

  1. Committing 10 to 12 hours during September and October 
  2. Attending and actively participating in team meetings and agency site visits (all done virtually) 
  3. Reviewing agency programs and accomplishments 
  4. Working with other volunteers to make program assessments and recommendations

Pretty easy, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, I will learn about United Way partners throughout the five-county region and help determine the amount of funding they receive.

Join Me

Volunteer Allocation Team webpage. Photo from Bham Now

If you have any questions or need additional information about the allocations process or  volunteer registration, please contact United Way’s Randy Betsch via email at  rbetsch@uwca.org or 205.458.2171.

Or simply register now – HERE.

United Way needs almost 100 volunteers by the end of August. Join me today!

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  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.