United Way seeking 150 volunteers to review their 71 partner agencies by Sept. 1st

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United Way of Central Alabama
Entrance to the United Way of Central Alabama offices in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Want to make a big difference in our community this fall? 

The United Way of Central Alabama needs 150 people to volunteer and sign up by September 1st to serve on the Visiting Allocations Team (VAT) for the 2021 allocation review process. 

Read more or even better- sign up right now!

What is VAT?

United Way
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

Need more details? Here is the scoop. All United Way partner agencies that receive funds from UWCA’s annual campaign are annually reviewed by a group of volunteers, hence the funny name – Visiting Allocations Team or VAT. 

This year, the process will be conducted VIRTUALLY to protect the health of clients, volunteers, and staff.

Why it Matters

There are 71 partner agencies that need to be reviewed this Fall.

When you volunteer, YOU help make decisions about which community programs will be a good investment of United Way dollars raised during the annual campaign. 

“United Way is a very different kind of funding organization for a number of reasons, but one of them is that we invite people from the community to inspect what they expect from their United Way and the agencies we support,” said Sara Newell with United Way of Central Alabama. “We have made it the centerpiece of our distribution process. We believe really strongly that we want our donors to feel ownership over the campaign that supports so many critical programs. This is one of the best ways that we can do it.”

Newell also told me that the United Way is committed to transparency and accountability. The VAT gives people in the community an opportunity to see for themselves the outcomes that are being achieved by these partner agencies — the good work, lives changed and communities improved.

“There’s no stronger word of endorsement for why that campaign is so important, than the word of people who have gone out and actually seen the agencies up close,” Newell added.

How VAT Works – 8 to 10 volunteer hours

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

So how does VAT work?  Here are the details.

  • Sign up by the September 1st deadline.
  • Commit to volunteer 8 to 10 hours during September and October 
  • Attend and actively participate in team meetings and agency site visits (all done virtually) 
  • Review agency programs and accomplishments 
  • Work with other volunteers to make program assessments and recommendations

A first timer? Have no fear, Allocation Teams are led by an experienced volunteer who will guide you and your team members through the process. Staff from the United Way will also provide training and general assistance.

If you have any questions about the Allocations process or registration – email Veronica Horton at vhorton@uwca.org or call 205.458.2059.

A Personal Note

Last year, I actually volunteered and joined a VAT – here is the article describing how I did it. 

It was easy and very rewarding. Not only did I get to learn about three local non-profit organizations, I got to meet people like me – folks who deeply care about our community.

Sign up today, before September 1st. Maybe they’ll place you on my team.

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Pat Byington
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.
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