Partnership FAQs

Our Partnership FAQs page answers your questions about general membership, eligibility, partnering with the United Way of the National Capital Area & more.

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What is the process to become a nonprofit partner of United Way NCA?
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United Way NCA conducts an annual online partnership eligibility process in the late fall. Interested local nonprofit organizations are encouraged to review the partnership criteria to determine if they meet the requirements of partnership. Application workshops and training opportunities are available prior to the opening of the online application. Once accepted, the organization’s partnership will be in effect the following July to June.
If I am a returning nonprofit partner, will my United Way NCA designation number remain the same?
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Yes, in most cases an organization’s four-digit United Way designation code remains the same indefinitely. If there is a reason for a change, your organization would be notified. Each year, upon acceptance as a nonprofit partner, United Way NCA will reaffirm your United Way NCA designation code. The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) issues a separate five-digit designation code for use specifically in the CFC. The CFC designation code also remains with an organization from year to year and is universally used in all CFC campaigns.
Do municipal charitable campaigns use my United Way NCA designation number?
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For the most part, municipal and corporate workplace campaigns do use your United Way NCA four-digit designation number. Also, if your nonprofit is included in the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign, it will have a six-digit designation code for the purposes of this campaign. If you are unsure, check with us before giving your number to a donor for a particular campaign. Email us at
Which jurisdictions are considered "local" by United Way NCA?
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The following regions are considered local and are included within the National Capital Area: Alexandria, VA; Arlington, VA; District of Columbia; Fairfax-Falls Church, VA; Fairfax County, VA; Loudoun County, VA; Montgomery County, MD; Prince George’s County, MD; and Prince William County, VA


If I am a nonprofit partner in the current United Way NCA campaign, do I need to submit a new eligibility application this November?
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Yes. You must apply to become a nonprofit partner every year. You must submit a complete online application that conforms to the most current set of partnership eligibility criteria and required information for the next campaign season.
How does United Way NCA define local presence?
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United Way NCA requires local presence (in one or more of our designated local areas) of its nonprofit partners. Local presence is defined as a staffed facility, office or portion of a residence dedicated exclusively to that organization. The facility must be open at least 15 hours a week and have a telephone dedicated exclusively to the organization. The office may be staffed by volunteers. Partners must provide programs or services in one or more local jurisdictions. In addition, organizations that qualify to participate nationally in the Combined Federal Campaign are not eligible for United Way NCA partnership.
May I use a post office box for my organization's address information?
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You may use a post office box for your mailing address, but you must also provide the physical street address for your organization. Very rarely, organizations with real security concerns may be accepted without releasing their physical street address. An example of this might be a shelter housing victims of domestic violence.

Why does United Way NCA require a minimum revenue of $50,000?
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The revenue requirement is designed to be one indicator of capacity for impact. Applicant organizations are asked to supply several pieces of information about their ability to provide services such as the number of clients served and hours of operation. Additionally, a nonprofit’s demonstrated ability to raise this minimum level of funding serves as a reasonable indicator that it has been able to satisfy donors and funders with the quality and reach of its programming.
Why does United Way NCA require an overhead rate of 35% or lower?
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The overhead rate is an indicator of both efficiency and good financial stewardship. The 35% benchmark corresponds to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance standards and is the generally accepted best practice threshold for nonprofits.
Does my organization need to provide audited financial statements annually?
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If your organization’s revenue is $250,000 or greater, you must provide audited financial statements for a fiscal year ending not more than 18 months prior to January of the campaign year you are applying for (ex. For campaign year 2022-2023, it would need to be for 18 months prior to January 2022, June 30, 2020). The audit must express an unqualified opinion and must be conducted by an independent Certified Public Accountant in accordance with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS). Cash basis, cash modified, or modified accrual basis of accounting are unacceptable. Compilations and/or reviews are unacceptable. Combined consolidated financial statements are not accepted unless the applicant’s financial information is reflected in a stand-alone audited financial statement or consolidating schedule. If your organization’s revenue is between $100,000 and $250,000 annually the organization must provide audited or reviewed financial statements for the organization covering the fiscal year ending not more than 18 months prior to January of the campaign year you are applying for.

Does my organization need to provide a copy of our IRS Form 990?
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Yes, you must provide a copy of the most recently completed and signed IRS Form 990 covering a fiscal year ending not more than 18 months prior to January of the campaign year you are applying for. The 990 must be signed and dated by an officer of the organization, the preparer’s signature alone is not sufficient. The IRS mandates all non-profit organizations file one of a series of IRS Forms 990 based upon revenue level. The IRS reports that any tax-exempt organization that did not file the required form in the last three years will automatically lose its tax-exempt status effective as of the due date of the annual filling. Without a tax-exempt status you cannot participate in United Way NCA or the CFC.
Why are we being asked to produce a pro forma IRS Form 990?
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If the IRS requires an organization to file IRS Forms 990EZ, 990PF or 990N, then the organization must complete and submit a pro forma IRS Form 990. in order to calculate the organization’s overhead percentage.
How do we prepare a pro forma IRS 990 Form?
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The IRS Form 990 can be downloaded from the IRS website ( The following sections must be completed: Items A-M on Page 1 Part I (Summary) – Lines 1-4 only Part II (Signature Block) – the paid preparer’s signature is not acceptable in lieu of the signature of an officer Part VII (Compensation of Officers, Directors, Trustees, Key Employees, Highest Compensated Employees, and Independent Contractors) – Section A only Part VIII (Statement of Revenue) Part IX (Statement of Functional Expenses) Part XII (Financial Statements and Reporting)
Do my organization's audit and IRS Form 990 need to cover the same fiscal period?
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Yes, they must cover a fiscal year ending not more than 18 months prior to January of the campaign year you are applying for (ex. For the campaign year 2022-2023, it would need to be for 18 months prior to January 2022, June 30, 2020).
At what point is my organization required to request a new IRS determination letter?
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United Way NCA does not impose a “stale date” for IRS determination letters. However, if your organization’s IRS determination letter is more than five years old, we encourage you to request an IRS Letter of Affirmation, which affirms your tax-exempt status. In addition, if your determination letter does not display the Employer Identification Number or contains an outdated name or address, we may require you to contact the IRS’s Nonprofit Office to request a Letter of Affirmation by calling 1-877-829-5500, option 4. United Way NCA cannot request a Letter of Affirmation on your organization’s behalf.
My organization is the local affiliate of a national organization. What must we submit with our application?
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Local organizations that are part of an IRS group exemption must provide a copy of the IRS letter granting the group exemption, as well as a list of subordinates that are covered by the group exemption. Bona-fide chapters or affiliates of a national organization that are covered by the national organization’s tax exemption, must provide a current certification letter signed by either the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or CEO-equivalent of the national organization. Such certification must state that the local charitable organization operates as a bonafide chapter or affiliate in good standing of the national organization and is covered by the national organization’s 501(c)3 tax exemption, and is included in the audited financial statements, to the extent required by regulation. A copy of the national organization’s 501(c)3 letter must accompany the CEO’s certification letter. While the application requires audited financial statements of the parent organization, it requires a pro forma 990 of only the chapter or affiliate.
How does United Way NCA calculate a partner nonprofit's overhead percentage?
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United Way NCA calculates overhead percentage as part of total revenue. This percentage is computed from the IRS Form 990 submitted, by adding the amount in Part IX (Statement of Functional Expenses), Line 25, Column C (Management and General Expenses) to the amount in Line 25, Column D (Fundraising Expenses), and dividing the sum by Part VIII (Statement of Revenue), Line 12, Column A (Total Revenue). No other method may be used to calculate the overhead rate percentage. All percentages must be listed to the tenth of a percent (e.g. 15.7%).
What is United Way NCA's limit on the amount of government support an organization can receive?
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United Way NCA does not place limits on the percentage of government support a nonprofit partner can receive.
What does United Way NCA consider to be a fiscal year?
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United Way NCA does not impose a particular definition of “fiscal year.” The requirements for our documents cover the previous 18 months to account for differences in fiscal year definitions among organizations. Your audit (if required) and IRS Form 990 must cover a fiscal year that ends no more than 18 months prior to January of the campaign year you are applying for (ex. For campaign year 2022-2023, it would need to be for 18 months prior to January 2022, June 30, 2020).
What if my IRS Form 990 and audit cover more than a 12-month period?
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It is acceptable if your required documents cover more than a 12-month period. We understand that this may be the case for some organizations, particularly those that may have changed fiscal cycles during the course of the last year. It is acceptable to submit two IRS Forms 990 or audited financial statements in order to cover a period of at least 12 months.


Where can my organization access the United Way NCA logo and brand requirements?
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Visit this page for more details on logo and brand requirements.
How can I find out the amount that was designated to my organization and information about donors in the most recent campaign?
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Nonprofit partners can access check payout reports, donor lists and payment process information through United Way NCA’s secure Partner Portal. Your organization’s log-in credentials are sent to the person designated as the primary contact on your partnership application. If you need assistance accessing the Partner Portal, please call (703) 549-4448 or email (United Way NCA can only make donor lists available based on what is received from HR and payroll offices.)

How can my organization make the most of our participation in the Combined Federal Campaign?
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  1. Promote your CFC 5-digit designation code and your United Way NCA 4-digit designation codes on your organization’s website, brochures, newsletters and other communications to your supporters. Don’t forget to include your “Proud Partner of United Way NCA” logo.
  2. Sign up for United Way NCA’s Speakers Bureau to participate in charity fairs and speaking engagements at workplaces around the region.Use the logos provided by United Way NCA. These logos allow you to create your own version that align with both the CFC and United Way NCA brand identity. Take part in the Nonprofit Learning Series, which provides strategies to a variety of topics, including donor engagement.
How do I sign up for United Way NCA Speaker's Bureau?
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