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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

United Way Fund Allocation Facilitation and Evaluation

During 2003, the United Way of Lincoln/Lancaster County and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center surveyed agencies and volunteers about the fund distribution process. The goals of the examination were to:

1. Identify the perception of agencies and volunteers about the overall fund distribution process; and,
2. Compare a new process piloted in the Food and Family Violence areas to the traditional fund distribution process.

Specifically, the United Way was interested in better understanding a number of aspects about fund distribution volunteers and agency representatives, including:

* Their knowledge of community needs and services
* The clarity of their role and others’ roles
* Their and others’ influence in the process
* The fairness of the process
* The efficiency of the process
* Relationship-building during the process

The Public Policy Center created, disseminated and evaluated the process by administering two rounds of questionnaires. The pre-surveywas distributed to 195 individuals at United Way fund distribution meetings in January and February 2003. The presurvey was designed to gauge initial, pre-process perceptions of the fund distribution process. One-hundred thirty-five valid pre-surveys were returned. The post-survey was mailed to those 135 individuals in May 2003. The post-survey shared twelve of the same questions as the pre-survey, in order to provide the researchers with data about the effect of the facilitation process on participants, but also included six additional questions. Ultimately, 105 participants returned both valid pre- and postsurveys. A number of basic and advanced statistical tests were performed upon the quantitative data, including basic correlations and multivariate analyses (MANOVA, MANCOVA).

These tests demonstrated with a high degree of confidence that there were overall differences between volunteers and agency representatives, and between facilitated and non-facilitated participants. The Public Policy Center also recorded and examined the qualitative data from the post-survey, but no complex evaluative tests were performed.The specific results of the evaluation were shared with the United Way of Lincoln/Lancaster County.

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