North Carolina United Way Board Failed both the “Smell Test” and the “Optics Test”

Posted on July 1, 2008. Filed under: Fundraising, Leadership, Non-profits |

The North Carolina C United Way Board Failed Both the “Smell Test” and the “Optics Test”

The CEO of the United Way of Central Carolinas was given a huge raise, bringing her compensation up to $1.2 million. In particular, her retirement fund was increased six fold to $ 800,000 which has generated a lot of controversy and prompted this post.

I don’t fault the CEO one bit, if any employee was asked “We plan to increase your retirement fund by sixfold, what do you think?”, the answer of course will be “Great idea, Thanks!”

The failure here is for the North Carolina United Way board to not recognize the negative impact that this would have on the non-profit sector. Don’t they know the United Way history with the Aramony scandal?

If she was owed 8 years of back retirement fund payments, that should have been handled separately as an error correction, not a sixfold increase in her retirement account in one year.

BTW, The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the world’s largest workplace giving and there are many safeguards in place to prevent the type of coercion and pressure mentioned about United Way campaigns in some of the other posts on the website.

The CFC is also the most donor friendly, and least expensive way for a charity to raise funds.

In terms of actual giving, if the CFC were a foundation it would be the 10th largest foundation in the US. $1 billion of unrestricted gifts over the past five years — how much did your non-profit receive?

Bill Huddleston
CFC Expert

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4 Responses to “North Carolina United Way Board Failed both the “Smell Test” and the “Optics Test””

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I do fault the CEO. This is a charity. Skimming so much off the top is just not right. I started a forum on Topix in Charlotte trying to get people to understand what type of organization UW is. Millions of dollars are paid to the people at the top of UW. Why? I hope the FBI would investigate them.

[…] No one questioned her performance. Indeed, she set a record for the agency’s annual campaign. Her compensation had risen to $1.2 million for the year because of an $800,000 payment for eight years-worth of back retirement she was owed. […]

The point of my post is that the Board failed both the CEO and its member agencies by not correctly realizing how the United Way donors would react, especially given that it was billed as a “Sixfold increase in her compensation” not as an “error correction.”

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