Frequently Asked Questions

What is the UMass Amherst Community Campaign (UMACC)?

UMACC is an employee benefit that allows faculty, staff, and retirees to donate to any nonprofit organization through payroll deduction, or check/credit card. UMACC is the only authorized campus-wide solicitation of UMass Amherst employees conducted on behalf of nonprofit organizations, and is organized under the statutory authorization of section 17B of chapter 180 of the Massachusetts General Laws. Since 1991, UMass faculty and staff have donated almost $8 million to nonprofit organizations across town and around the world. You can donate to any organization that has 501(c)(3) status.

Does UMass use or keep any of my donation?

No. None of your donation stays at UMass. UMACC is run by UMass External Relations and University Events (ERUE). Program costs and staff salaries related to UMACC come out of ERUE's budget. UMACC donations are not used for staff salaries or program costs.

Where exactly does my donation go?

All funds are sent to the UMACC Campaign Financial Administrator (CFA). For donations via payroll deduction, a lump sum is sent by UMass to the CFA once per pay period. The CFA processes donations, and sends funds to the nonprofit organizations once per quarter.

 

Who is the CFA for UMACC?

For the 2016-17 campaign, the Campaign Financial Administrator (CFA) is the United Way of Hampshire County (UWHC). UWHC is under contract with UMass to handle the financial administration of UMACC. The United Way has a great deal of experience with workplace-giving campaigns like UMACC, and is a key partner in the success of the program.

How much of my donation goes to the charitable organization(s)?

We are proud to say that 93% of all UMACC donations are sent to the nonprofit organizations. The 7% administrative fee goes to the Campaign Financial Administrator (CFA), which collects and processes donations. Compared to the national average fundraising rate of 20%, giving through UMACC is very efficient! Think of it this way – if 25 people donate $100 directly to a nonprofit organization, then that organization has to process 25 gifts. But if those 25 people donate via a workplace giving campaign like UMACC, then the nonprofit has far less processing to do, and can put their resources towards running their programs, raising money via other venues, etc.
In addition, Charity Navigator, a leading guide to nonprofit organizations, gives its highest Fundraising Efficiency rating to organizations that have a fundraising rate of 10 cents per dollar (10%) or less. So, UMACC’s 7% fee is well within the guidelines for efficient fundraising.

Why does there need to be an administrative fee?

The fact is that it takes money to raise money. When you donate directly to a charitable organization, it is not the case that 100% of your donation goes towards their programs and services. That organization spent time and money to acquire or keep you as a donor (through mailings, emails, advertising, etc.), and that organization will have to spend time and money to process your donation. When you give through UMACC, you don’t get added to the organization’s solicitation list, so they won’t use any of their resources soliciting you, and your donation gets combined with others who have chosen that organization, so the organization has less processing to do.
The CFA (Campaign Financial Administrator) who takes the 7% administrative fee is a key partner in the success of UMACC. They manage all of the data involved with the campaign (donor information, donations, designations, contact info, 501(c)(3) status, etc.), and they make sure that your information gets sent to the charitable organization (if you have authorized this), and that your information does NOT get sent to the charitable organizations (if you have requested this). More importantly, they make sure that the nonprofit organizations designated by employees and retirees receive their donations in a timely manner. The flow of dollars and data takes time, resources, and expertise. Even “crowdfunding” sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe charge a fee (5% of donations).

Why should I give through UMACC instead of giving directly to a nonprofit organization?

Here are some key benefits to donating to nonprofit organizations through UMACC:

  • You do not get added to any solicitation list. Nonprofit organizations who receive donations via UMACC are asked not to add UMACC donors to their solicitation lists.
  • Giving via payroll deduction is convenient and can result in a larger overall gift. Giving $10 per pay period, over 26 pay periods, can feel much easier than a one-time gift of $260.
  • You can be proactive and intentional about your giving. Take the time to think about what is important to you, and find organizations that match your causes. Then, when you get solicited by nonprofit organizations throughout the year, you can feel comfortable knowing that you are already doing your part.
  • Simplify filing your taxes. You can donate to multiple nonprofit organizations and have less paperwork account for at tax time.
  • By joining with your UMass Amherst colleagues, you become part of a larger effort, which shows the community and the world that UMass Amherst employees care about making a difference.
  • Workplace giving programs like UMACC are efficient for nonprofit organizations, since they don’t have to spend time and money soliciting donors directly, and help them save time and fundraising costs.
Can I add a nonprofit organization to the UMACC list?

Yes! Any nonprofit organization that is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (commonly called “a 501c3”) can receive donations via UMACC. To add a nonprofit to UMACC for this year's campaign, please submit a request by November 30.

Can my spouse/partner’s name be recognized in addition to my name?

Yes. Please indicate your spouse’s name in the appropriate field on the online giving page or on the paper pledge form. If your spouse works for UMass Amherst, please also indicate as such, so that we can properly recognize both of you. Your name(s) may be published on the UMACC website and in print material.

I want to give, but I don’t know what nonprofit to give to. What should I do?

It can feel overwhelming to look a long list of nonprofit organizations, and to try to pick one. Think about what causes and issues are important to you. You can use the Cause filter on the Charitable Organizations page to narrow down your choices. 

Or consider donating to the United Way. The local United Way organizations pool efforts in fundraising to identify and resolve pressing community issues, and to ensure that resources are directed to agencies and causes most in need. The three local United Way offices are:

UNITED WAY OF HAMPSHIRE COUNTY

UNITED WAY OF FRANKLIN COUNTY

UNITED WAY OF PIONEER VALLEY

How can I find out what I gave last year?

If you donated online, you can view your last year's designations by going to the My Account page (requires log-in). There you will be able to see your pledge history, going back to the 2015-16 campaign. Click on the "Repeat This Donation" button to give to the same organizations this year.

If you donated using the paper pledge form, your personalized pledge form this year will be pre-printed with your last year's designations.

Who runs the UMass Amherst Community Campaign (UMACC)?

UMACC is managed by the External Relations and University Events department. The Executive Committee, Campaign Chair, Leaders’ Circle Chair, and Ambassadors are volunteers who dedicate their time and energy because they believe strongly in the program. 

What do the UMACC Ambassadors do?

UMACC Ambassadors are the grassroots cheerleaders for the campaign. Their job is to promote the campaign to their friends and colleagues, through any number of means – email, posters/flyers, inviting a UMACC guest speaker to a department meeting, organizing a department bake sale or other fundraiser, etc. For more information, visit the Ambassadors page. If you are interested in becoming a campaign Ambassador, please send an email to umacc@umass.edu.

What is the Leaders’ Circle?

The UMACC Leaders’ Circle is comprised of individuals who contribute at least $500 per year. Leaders’ Circle members pledge early in the campaign to “set the pace” and provide momentum for the general campaign. To learn more, see the Recognition page.

When I give through payroll deduction, when do the deductions begin?

For the 2016-17 campaign, payroll deduction donations will begin with the first pay period in January 2017.

How is UMACC different from COMECC?

COMECC (Commonwealth of Massachusetts Employees Charitable Campaign) is the charitable campaign for Massachusetts state employees. UMass Amherst implemented COMECC for many years, but in 2004 decided to implement an independent effort instead, which was named UMACC (UMass Amherst Community Campaign). One of the main differences is that with UMACC, an employee can donate to any charitable organization that is a 501(c)(3), whereas COMECC included only a limited list of charitable organizations. In addition, we have more control over minimizing the administrative fee with UMACC, compared to COMECC; the administrative fee for COMECC is around 10%.

What is a “charitable organization” or "nonprofit organization"?

The terms "charitable organization" and "nonprofit organization" are used interchangeably on this site. These organizations are sometimes referred to as “a 501c3” and they are organizations that have been granted “exempt” status by the IRS. The IRS grants this status to organizations whose purpose is one of the following: charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals. Organizations that operate solely for lobbying purposes (i.e. influencing political and legislative activities) do not receive 501(c)(3) designation, and are not included in UMACC. See the IRS page on Charitable Organizations for more info.

What is the goal for this year?

Our main goal is to raise awareness of UMACC and to increase participation. The fundraising goal is $430,000.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

Yes. You may need documentation on your contribution, depending on the amount you pledged/donated. Consult with your account or tax advisor for details.

Can my donation be anonymous?

Yes. Your specific designations will never be made public. You can choose whether or not you want your name to be published or shared.

  • If would like your name omitted from UMACC publications and the UMACC website, be sure to indicate this on the My Account page or on the paper pledge form. (My Account >> Edit your account details >> My Giving Preferences.)
  • If you do not want your name and address sent to the charitable organization(s) you have designated, be sure to indicate this on the My Account page or on the paper pledge form. (My Account >> Edit your account details >> My Giving Preferences.)

 

Are payroll-deduction contributions pre-tax?

No, payroll-deduction contributions are after tax. Look for it in the "After-Tax Deductions" section of your pay stub. Talk with your tax advisor about deducting charitable contributions on your income-tax return.

Is UMACC the same as the Faculty and Staff campaign?

UMACC is a separate program from the Faculty and Staff campaign. The Faculty and Staff Campaign raises money for UMass, and is run by the Development Office. UMACC raises money for nonprofit organizations in our community and beyond, and is run by External Relations and University Events.

There is a nonprofit on the UMACC list that I object to. Why is it included?

Any organization that has received 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS can be included in UMACC. To achieve this designation, an organization must prove that it is operated for "exempt purposes": i.e., "charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals." Organizations that operate solely for lobbying purposes (i.e. influencing political and legislative activities) do not receive 501(c)(3) designation, and are not included in UMACC. 

UMACC is a donor-driven campaign, which means that employees and retirees determine where their donation goes. As long as an organization is a 501(c)(3), they can be part of UMACC. Any and every nonprofit listed in UMACC is there because one or more UMass employees/retirees donates to them through UMACC. Despite personal or collective opinions about an organization, we can’t eliminate or prohibit legitimate charitable organizations due to personal values and beliefs.