How to host an event benefiting United Way

United Way supporters sitting at long tables at a cookout event

Thank you for considering United Way of Southeastern Connecticut as the beneficiary of your event! Your support helps us ensure individuals and families throughout New London County are provided opportunities to achieve their full potential.

A third-party fundraising event is conducted by an individual, group, or organization in the community with proceeds to benefit United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, which includes the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center. People just like you spend their own time and money to organize fundraisers, which include everything from lemonade stands, bake sales and car washes, to golf tournaments, car shows, carnivals, and more.

If you are interested in hosting your own third-party event to benefit United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, we can offer guidance to help make your event a success.

Guidelines for Hosting a Third-Party Event for United Way

All third-party event organizers must agree to the following guidelines and request the use of the United Way name and brand prior to promotion as the beneficiary of your fundraiser. Organizers need to submit an application at least 30 days prior to fundraiser date. Within 10 business days of receiving your application, United Way of Southeastern Connecticut will confirm the acceptance of your request.

  1. All third-party fundraisers for United Way of Southeastern Connecticut require a completed application, including signed acknowledgement of guidelines.
  2. All expenses are the responsibility of the third-party fundraiser organizer; United Way is not responsible for any expenses incurred in a third-party fundraising activity.
  3. The third-party fundraiser organizer is responsible for the planning and execution of the event, including safety precautions and adherence to applicable laws and regulations. As the beneficiary of a fundraiser, United Way does not accept or assume any liability associated with the event, including but not limited to any injuries sustained by event volunteers or participants during the event. The third-party fundraiser organizer will indemnify, defend, and hold harmless United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, its directors, officers, and employees and volunteers from any and all claims that may arise out of or relate to such event.
  4. The third-party fundraiser organizer is responsible for obtaining all applicable permits or licenses including but not limited to alcohol, raffle, and sales tax licenses.
  5. United Way does not provide donor or supporter information for solicitation purposes.
  6. United Way does not participate in ticket sales or other administrative responsibilities as they relate to the third-party fundraiser; the third-party fundraiser organizer is responsible for all components of tickets sales to the event, if applicable.
  7. Use of United Way of Southeastern Connecticut name and logo must be approved before any materials are printed, posted, or distributed. All materials must clearly state and publicize that United Way is the beneficiary, not the fundraiser organizer, sponsor, or host. We require that the portion of the ticket price or percentage of net proceeds that will be donated to the United Way must be clearly stated on all marketing materials.

You may choose to designate the proceeds of your fundraiser to support either the areas of greatest need or a specific focus area (Thriving Children, Promoting Independence, Basic Needs, Community Wellness). United Way operates the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center which provides food and household items to more than 90 free emergency food programs. United Way supports 2-1-1 Connecticut for free information and referral and Project Warm-up for one-time, emergency heating assistance.

A single gift to United Way will address many challenges in our community and may affect hundreds of thousands of lives. Supported programs include early care and education, child development, employment training, physical and mental health care, crisis intervention, shelter, emergency/disaster preparation, and response and recovery service.

If you have a particular interest or passion, United Way staff can help determine which impact area or program would be the best fit as beneficiary of your donation.

United Way can help with your fundraiser by providing the following:

  • Consultation on fundraisers and events
  • Branded logo and approval for its use, provided certain criteria are met
  • Assistance selecting an area of our work your donation will support
  • Promotion on social media and website
  • Coordination of check presentations
  • United Way branded giveaways


We are here to support you. However, we are unable to provide the following:

  • Our sales tax exemption number
  • Insurance or liability coverage
  • Mailing list of donors and/or vendors
  • United Way stationery or printing of your event materials
  • Serving as the event’s fiscal agent
  • Funding or reimbursement of your expenses
  • Paid advertising (e.g. newspaper, radio, television)
  • Guaranteed attendance of United Way staff
Deciding to host a community fundraiser for United Way is a huge accomplishment in itself - thank you! Here are 10 steps to help plan a successful event:
  1. Form a planning committee. Bringing together a group of enthusiastic and dedicated people who share an interest in raising money for a great cause will increase the probability of a successful event.
  2. Choose the “right” event. Gather members of your planning committee to brainstorm ideas for your fundraiser. Give free rein to your imagination — several heads are better than one!  The type of event you choose should fit the size, interests, talents, goals, and time availability of your planning committee.  The more people participate now, the more committed they will be later.
  3. Identify your target audience. Consider who is most likely to attend and support the type of event you have selected.
  4. Develop a budget. Identify all potential expenses (invitations, postage, rental space, signage, food and catering, promotional materials, website, advertising, etc.)  Think about possible sources of funds, and people and companies who may donate products (food, equipment) or services (design, printing, photography) to reduce your costs. In the spirit of philanthropy, we encourage you to keep costs as low as possible and keep total expenses at no more than 20 percent of your total budget.
  5. Create a timeline. A timeline is important in planning a publicity strategy for your event.
  6. Schedule the event. Select a time that is appropriate and convenient for those who will be attending. Be sure to check local community calendars for conflicting events.
  7. Advertise and promote your event. Promoting your fundraising event through different media platforms and word of mouth is critical to ensuring people know about your event and how to participate. Some ideas include: use email to announce the event and remind potential participants how to register or donate; post on social media; create a press release or announcement and submit event details to local media outlets; print flyers to post in office and community spaces.
  8. Collect all funds. We ask that all event proceeds designated for United Way of Southeastern Connecticut be forwarded to the United Way within 30 days following the conclusion of your event.
  9. Take lots of photos! Share on social media, on your website, and with United Way. Feel free to tag us in social media posts or share any photos from the event with our Marketing & Communications Director, Jill Davoll.
  10. Say thank you! Sending thank-you letters, notes or e-mails to everyone who participated in or supported your event shows your appreciation and reinforces their goodwill about supporting United Way.
The following are some ideas for a community fundraiser event. We suggest thinking of something you enjoy (e.g., book club, cooking), then working to add a fundraising component. This way you are not starting from scratch, and in addition to giving back to a great cause, you are doing something you love!

Birthday/Anniversary Party
Do you have an upcoming birthday, anniversary, shower or bar/bat mitzvah? Consider contributing to United Way in lieu of personal gifts – and ask your friends and family to do the same. This is a great way to get the kids involved!

Cocktail Party
Throw a cocktail party in your home or at a local restaurant. Many venues provide great deals for very little money. Ask your friends to donate $50 and then spend no more than $20 per person on the food. This will ensure you will have a good amount to donate by the end of the night

Garage Sale
Ask friends and neighbors to clean out their basement or garage for a good cause. You will clean out your house while supporting families in our community!

Golf Outing
Whether planning a small golf outing with friends and family or an outing for your business, think about making your swing really count and partnering with us to give back to the community of New London County

Independent Business Gives Back
Are you a local independent business owner, restaurant or retail owner who is looking to align with a great cause? Whether you designate a percentage of proceeds for a week, round up at the register, or simply collect change, you can make a difference while you work.

School Fundraiser
Kids love to help!  Have fun with your students while teaching them about the meaning of philanthropy with anything from a coin drive to a read-a-thon. Be creative!

Social Media Fundraiser
Did you know you can set-up a fundraiser directly on Facebook to support United Way? Use this link to get started: Approval from United Way or completion of the 3rd Party Event application is not required for general Facebook fundraisers.

Trivia Night
This is a fun way to raise funds while increasing awareness about United Way. Host your trivia night at a restaurant or other local establishment and invite between 10 and 50 of your friends and family.

Send in Your Donation/Proceeds:
  • Make checks payable to United Way of Southeastern Connecticut
    • Include a short note explaining the fundraiser and designated funding area
    • Mail a check to: United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, PO Box 375, Gales Ferry, CT 06335
  • Donations may also be received through our website at
    • Include a short explanation of the fundraiser in the comment box.
  • Once your donation is received, a letter will be sent to you for tax purposes.
Share your Photos

Photos are a great way to document your event, whether for publicity or simply to share with family and friends. Tag us in social media and/or share any photos with our Marketing & Communications Director, Jill Davoll.

Logo Use

As stated in the guidelines, use of United Way of Southeastern Connecticut’s logo is allowed after approval of your application. Continue to use the logo for up to 30 days after your event; however, we require all logos be removed from materials after this time.

How long does it take to get my Fundraiser Proposal approved?
Proposals will be approved within 10 business days of receipt.

Can someone from United Way help me plan my event, and attend or speak at my event?
We are happy to provide guidance for your event, but we do not have the staff to handle the organizational and administrative tasks associated. We do our best to attend events supporting United Way, but we cannot guarantee attendance of staff or volunteers at your event.

Can United Way provide insurance for my event?
Because United Way is the beneficiary and has no direct involvement with running the fundraiser, we cannot provide insurance for third-party events. The event organizer is responsible for obtaining insurance for the event.

Can United Way help me get a permit for my event?
The organization and execution of the event is the responsibility of the event organizer. The event organizer must obtain any necessary permits or licenses.

Can I use the United Way’s Tax Exemption number?
Because United Way is not hosting your event, it is considered a third-party event. For this reason, you will not be able to use our IRS 501(c)(3) charitable classification, federal tax ID number, or tax-exempt certificate.

Will each of my donors get a receipt?
United Way cannot issue charitable tax receipts for donors or sponsors who make payments directly to your third-party event. If your donor wants a receipt, please be sure the check is made payable to the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut and leave the check in its original form before sending it to the United Way. Please note that there are complex regulations around the distribution of charitable tax receipts. This includes donations of money, in-kind items, and services. Issuing an inappropriate receipt can put our charitable tax status in jeopardy, so please do not promise any kind of receipt. For more information about charitable tax receipts, please contact the United Way.

How are event expenses paid?
We recognize that some coordinators need funds to run an event and pay expenses. However, United Way cannot fund or financially support community fundraisers. Coordinators are responsible for covering all expenses and cannot be reimbursed by United Way. For these reasons, as you start to collect money you may want to keep some funds on hand to help pay expenses. We recommend this amount should not exceed 20% of your gross revenue. Developing a budget in your planning process will help anticipate and track these expenses. After the fundraiser is completed, please send us all checks that are addressed to United Way as well as a lump sum check from your checking account of all other raised funds.  

Can we have a check presentation at United Way?
Yes, we can arrange for a check presentation to be held at the United Way or Food Center office. Please contact Jill Davoll to schedule a time.

Should I send a personal thank you letter or card to my donors?
Definitely! It is important to thank everyone who was involved with your fundraiser!

Once your fundraiser is approved, we will provide the United Way logo for your marketing materials. Additionally, we must review everything displaying the United Way name and logo before it is printed or distributed. This includes the use of the United Way logo on your website or your company’s website. We require the portion of ticket price or percentage of net proceeds that will be donated to the United Way must be clearly stated on all marketing materials.


Logo use specifications:

  • Preferred logo is full color (use CMYK version)
  • One-color logo uses PMS #287
  • Black & white logo is acceptable when only black and white reproduction is available

For any questions about the use of our logo and approval of materials please contact Marketing & Communications Director, Jill Davoll.

General Inquires: Lisa Ann Curtis, Resource Development Manager
Marketing Questions and Logo Use Approval: Jill Davoll, Marketing & Communications Director