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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the Community Giving Campaign?

The annual Community Giving Campaign gives Upstate employees an easy way to support non-profit agencies. You choose to give to your favorite charities by payroll deduction, credit card or check.

What is the difference between Community Giving Campaign and the Upstate Foundation's Power of Us?

Upstate Foundation is giving strictly to Upstate Foundation funds and Community Giving Campaign gives you the opportunity to support local non-profit agencies in our community, the Upstate Foundation and agencies beyond our local region. When you give through the CGC, employees are included in the $100 a day incentive and all the United Way step-up challenges (including the grand prizes worth $3,000 each).

Generally, CGC runs in the Fall and Power of Us runs in the Spring. 

If I choose payroll deduction, when will I see the deduction in my paycheck?

Deductions begin with the first paycheck in January and will continue unless discontinue or change your pledge.

If you choose one-time payroll deduction the entire amount will be removed from your first pay in January 2024.

What if I still want to paper pledge?

We highly encourage employees to donate via Self-Serve.

If you prefer to donate using a paper form (or if you're a retiree), download it here. Mail the completed form, with your donation, to the United Way of CNY, 980 James St., Syracuse, NY 13203, Attn: KW Finance Dept.

I already give to other organizations. Why should I support this campaign?

It’s easy and there’s lots to choose from. It takes just a few minutes to sign up to donate. You can choose from the United Way of Central New York; hundreds of other health and human service organizations; and from Upstate Advocates, Alumni and Foundation funds. Choose to give to one charity, or many.

You choose to contribute by payroll deduction, credit card or check (limited basis).

Can I donate to an agency in another county?

State employees may donate to any agency listed in the State Federated Appeal (SEFA directory), which includes some international agencies.

Research and MedBest employees cannot donate to international agencies through this campaign. They can contribute to any 501(c)(3) health and human service organization in New York state.

Why should I give to the United Way when I can give directly to charities? Doesn't this add more overhead?

United Way supports programs that provide solutions to our community's most pressing problems. The agencies it supports are carefully selected for their ability to cost-effectively meet the greatest needs of people in Central New York. Many donors consider this a very effective use of their donation dollars.

For many agencies, financial support from the United Way helps them  receive state and federal grants. Money flows from the United Way to agencies consistently, making it easier for agencies to plan and budget effectively.

Can an agency be added to the campaign?

State employees: An agency must apply online at sefanys.org between December 1 and January 15 to be included in the SEFA campaign. Contact Jennifer Schiebler, United Way, 315 428-2245 with questions.

Research and MedBest employees: Type in the agency name on the pledge form (The agency must be a NYS 501(c)(3) health and human service organization in New York State).

If I don’t choose a specific charity, where does my donation go?

State employees: Undesignated donations are distributed in the same proportion as the designated funds. In other words, the charities selected by your colleagues across the region will be the charities that receive your donation.

Research and MedBest employees: Undesignated donations support the United Way Community Program Fund.

Is my contribution tax deductible?

Check with your accountant.

How much of my contribution goes to the charity I choose?

As the administrator of the SEFA campaign, United Way follows the SEFA guidelines in assessing an 11% fee on all donor designations to agencies outside of the United Way network up to a maximum of $100 per designation. In years past, we charged a higher fee for designations made by Upstate employees who are not part of SEFA. For the past three years, however, we have streamlined this process and assess all designations at the same level regardless of whether the Upstate employee is a state employee or not. The SEFA committee recently voted on and approved the 11% administrative fee. 


Can I make a donation using my credit card?

Yes, you may donate by credit card.

Is an employees donation through SEFA a pre-tax payroll withholding?

The SEFA deduction is not taken before tax. It is a after tax deduction.

Can a temporary employee or traveling nurse contribute to the campaign?

As long as you have access to self-serve you can pledge via credit card.

Do I need to complete the online pledge form even if I am not contributing?

Yes. This assures us that everyone knows they have had the opportunity to participate in the campaign.

If I am already giving, do I have to complete the pledge every year or can it continue?

The regulations were changed to make it easier for those who want to continue their pledge. It’s called “Continuous Giving” and it will take effective after you make your pledge that begins 1/1/24. You do not have to do anything after you give. If you do want to make any changes to your pledge amount or the places you designate, you can easily do that.

I am a new employee. Can I start giving right away?

You can! Changes made to the regulations mean that people do not have to wait until the formal campaign time to begin giving. Please log-in to your self-serve account and under "My Information" click "Community Giving Campaign"

What if I want to make a change to my pledge during the year?

Recent changes mean that it is now possible to make changes to your pledge during the year. We hope you will continue to give, but you now have the opportunity to modify or cancel your pledge during the year. Please log-in to your Self-Serve account and under "My Information" click "Community Giving Campaign"