FAQs

Overview

FAQs

Find answer to all of your questions about Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work. What is a PCFD? Where does my money go? How do I cancel my contribution?

Why should I participate as a payroll deduction donor through Our Promise?

Our Promise is an employee benefit, allowing those who choose to participate 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 $6.2 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 choose not to participate in Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work, you may simply check Box 9 on the pledge form or put a slash through your form and return it to the appropriate contact within your department.

What is a PCFD?

A Principal Combined Fund Drive (PCFD) is the entity responsible for managing the Our Promise initiative for a specific geographic region in the state of California. Historically, these organizations have been local United Way’s. Your local PCFD coordinates the annual workplace giving campaign for your region. 

This year, there are 25 PCFD’s managing the Our Promise Campaign throughout California. PCFDs are approved annually by the State of California Department of General Services (DGS).

How do I confirm the amount of my current Our Promise deduction and which nonprofit organization(s) I’ve chosen?

The vast majority of state employees with questions about their current deduction and/or designation(s) should fill out this form to obtain a link to our donor tracker. If you still need further assistance, call our toll-free Donor Hotline at 1-(888) 863-6466.  Please be prepared to provide your name and Social Security Number.

What are the fees associated with the campaign?

The Department of General Services (DGS) authorizes each PCFD (aka local United Way) to deduct a small fee that covers administrative and fundraising costs incurred while running the campaign. The fee is deducted from each donation. Our Promise has a low statewide overhead of 14% as well as a $.41 fee per transaction charged by the State Controller’s Office for processing payroll contributions.       

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 of the pledge form.  Required information includes the nonprofit’s name, tax ID number, and address so we can confirm their 501(c)(3) status. 

Each donor is encouraged to independently review nonprofit information.  DGS has found the nonprofits listed on the website are eligible to receive designated deductions based on certifications that the nonprofits comply with statutory requirements. DGS’ determination is not an endorsement of any particular charity.

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 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.

Why is a Social Security Number (SSN) required for participation in Our Promise and how can a donor feel safe about providing this sensitive information?

Payroll deduction donations are processed through the State Controller’s Office. Your SSN is the unique identifier required to ensure your payroll deduction is applied to the correct pay warrant.

Donors should feel confident that their SSN is safe and secure for Our Promise.  All campaign team members are required to sign a confidentiality agreement which includes amongst many things, the security of a donor’s SSN.

How do I continue my Our Promise payroll deduction when I retire?

By participating in Our Promise through payroll deduction, you have authorized the State Controller’s Office to deduct a set amount from each pay warrant. Retirees from state service no longer receive a pay warrant from the State Controller’s Office; therefore, their deduction terminates.

Retirees can have their contribution deducted monthly from their retirement check. Those who wish to participate, retirees and potential retirees, can download the Our Promise pledge form here and fill out the retiree section in Box 8. The minimum donation for retired employees is $5/month.

How do I cancel my deduction?

A donor may delete their deduction to Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work at any time. Typically this occurs during the campaign (September 1 – October 31) when a donor completes a pledge form and checks Box 6 to “STOP” their deduction.  A Social Security Number and signature are required to authorize the State Controller’s Office to stop the deduction.

Once the campaign is complete, a donor may contact the Our Promise Donor Hotline 1-888-863-6466 to stop their deduction. 

A pledge form will need to be completed and turned into United Way California Capital Region by the 10th of the month in order for the donation to stop on the next month’s pay warrant. 

How often are payments made by United Way to the designated nonprofits?

United Way makes payments to nonprofits donated to on a quarterly basis. We encourage all of our nonprofits to sign up with our accounting department via EFT in order to be paid out monthly. 

Are contributions through Our Promise pre or post tax?

Contributions made through payroll deduction are post tax. The donation is taken from the net pay, after the state takes out all required taxes, then the charitable contribution is deducted.

Can I donate to both international and national nonprofits through Our Promise?

Through the Our Promise campaign, donors are able to donate to national certified 501(c)(3) nonprofits as well as one international option, 501(c)(3) nonprofits in Canada. No other international nonprofits are able to be donated to through this campaign.

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 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). 

How do I receive a tax letter from Our Promise?

Tax letters are provided on a request only basis. You can make a request to receive a tax letter by calling our toll-free Donor Hotline 1-(888) 863-6466 or by emailing customer.service@uwccr.org

What goes on behind the scenes throughout the year?

Our Promise runs each year from September 1 – October 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 annual Thank You breakfast is held to recognize outstanding departments and volunteers from the Fall campaign.

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. Now is your chance to get involved as a loaned executive!

June - Volunteer recruitment continues for the upcoming campaign season. Now 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 - The annual kick off event is held at the State Capitol giving donors a chance to meet some of the certified nonprofits.

September - The campaign officially begins on September 1. Campaign volunteers begin passing out pledge forms.

October - Payout to nonprofits for July – September deductions made. The last day of the campaign is October 31. Don’t forget to submit your pledge form to your Department Campaign Chair.

November - Donation pledge forms must be turned in to your local United Way. United Way California Capital Region begins processing all donations by November 10.

December  – Donations are submitted on December 10 to the State Controller’s Office.