Find answers to all of your questions about Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work. Where does my money go? How do I cancel my contribution?
Note: This is the General FAQ’s section. For FAQ’s related to Nonprofits, please visit this FAQ page.
Why should I participate as a payroll deduction donor through Our Promise?
Our Promise is an employee benefit, allowing those who choose to participate in the convenience of payroll deduction to donate to the nonprofit(s) they feel most passionate about. State employees can participate as payroll deduction donors for as little as $5 per month. Although this may appear to be a nominal figure, these donations result in significant investments in our communities. Many of the nonprofits have the ability to leverage your gift in ways most people cannot.
This past year, participating State employees pledged more than $4.9 million statewide for charitable organizations. It all adds up.
Participating through payroll deduction provides nonprofits with consistent cash flow throughout the year, easing their ability to operate and provide their services. Also, statistics show that on average, payroll deduction gifts added up at the end of the year are approximately six times greater than one-time donations.
How do I decline or indicate I do not wish to participate?
If you do not wish to participate in the campaign or would like to opt-out/decline, you do not need to take any action. If you’re an existing donor, you will need to stop your donation my logging into your Our Promise ePledge account and clicking the Cancel All Donations button. If you are not able to login, please contact the Our Promise team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free at 888-863-6466.
How do I confirm the amount of my current Our Promise deduction and which nonprofit organization(s) I’ve chosen?
State employees with questions about their current deduction and/or designation(s) should visit Cal Employee Connect and login to their ePledge portal. If you still need further assistance, call our toll-free Donor Hotline at 1-(888) 863-6466.
How do I donate to my favorite nonprofit if it is not listed on the website?
Through Our Promise, you can donate to any valid 501(c)(3) nonprofit. If the nonprofit of your choice is not listed on the website, you may utilize the “Write-In Nonprofit” section on ePledge. Required information includes the nonprofit’s name, tax ID number, and address so we can confirm their 501(c)(3) status.
How does a nonprofit apply to participate in the Our Promise campaign?
Nonprofits apply on an annual basis in January to have an opportunity to be listed on the Our Promise website for the following Fall campaign. They can find more information here on how to get started or can sign up to receive a notification on when the application process will become available.
All certified nonprofits must be valid 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and be in good standing with the Registry of Charitable Trusts to operate or to solicit for charitable purposes in California.
How do I cancel my deduction?
Please login to your giving portal during the campaign season. If you still need further assistance, call our toll-free Donor Hotline at 1-(888) 863-6466. or email us at email@example.com.
What happens if my donated to nonprofit is not a 501(c)(3), or becomes ineligible to receive my donations (going out of business, losing their 501c3 status, etc.)?
When a nonprofit does not have the required IRS 501(c)(3) filing to receive charitable donations, we will make every effort to contact the donor so they can pick another valid 501(c)(3) nonprofit to the direction their donation to, or stop their contribution. If we do not hear back from a donor after one month of time, or cannot reach them because of a lack of contact information, the portion designated to the ineligible organization will be directed to the donor’s local PCFD (aka local United Way).
What goes on behind the scenes throughout the year?
Our Promise runs each year from October 1 – December 31. However, there are things going on behind the scenes all year. Here’s a look:
January – Payout to nonprofits for October – December deductions. Donations become effective on January 1. New, Changed, or Deleted payroll deductions from donations pledged during the previous Fall campaign begin.
February – Nonprofit certification is open from January to February. Approved nonprofit partners are solidified for the Fall campaign.
March – Campaign results are announced, and the Thank You event occurs to celebrate
April – Payout to nonprofits for January – March deductions made. One-time gifts will also be distributed at this time.
May – Volunteer recruitment begins for the upcoming campaign season. This is your chance to get involved as a Leaders United Executive!
June - Volunteer recruitment continues for the upcoming campaign season. This is your chance to get involved as a loaned executive!
July – Payout to nonprofits for April – June deductions made. We’re also preparing for the upcoming campaign season.
August – Leaders United Executives and Campaign Liaisons are trained for their roles in the upcoming campaign.
September – Preparation continues for the Our Promise Kick Off Event in the beginning of October.
October – The campaign officially begins on October 1. The Kick Off Event occurs on the Capital Steps on October 4th. State employees either create or log into their Cal Employee Connect(CEC) profile to start or change their monthly deductions. Payout to nonprofits for July – September deductions made.
November – The campaign continues.
December – The last day of the campaign is December 31.
How do I continue my Our Promise payroll deduction when I retire?
Retirees may continue donating by filling out a pledge form. There is currently no online retiree giving. Please contact us at our toll-free Donor Hotline at 1-(888) 863-6466. or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more: https://www.ourpromiseca.org/retiree-giving
If an employee makes a contribution, who actually knows about it or can see it? Can the employer or manager see it, or is it just between the employee and United Way that has this information?
After an employee has made their contribution, the individual employee receives a confirmation and then Our Promise processes the donation. The employee/donor can choose to remain anonymous if they don’t want their designated nonprofit to know. If they are not anonymous, then we do share their name with the designated nonprofit.
Is the contribution taken from the net or gross pay?
The contribution is post-tax, therefore net pay.
Does United Way get part of the donation, and if so, how much?
Our Promise does have an overhead of 13.5%. Of that total, United Way CA Capital Region is the processor that receives 8% to cover campaign costs and process the thousands of designations. The other 5.5% goes to the local United Way in where the employee works since they are the local fundraiser.
Can an employee do a one-time donation?
Yes! The minimum is $5 and can be designated to any nonprofit of their choice. One-time donations will be available via debit or credit card on the online e-pledge portal.