Frequently Asked Questions
Must I give to the SECC?
Everyone is encouraged but no one is required to give. You should consider what you feel is appropriate for you and your budget—any gift, no matter how large or small, can make a difference to the charities in this campaign. If you feel you are being pressured to donate money at any time during this campaign, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or submit a written complaint to:
Comptroller of Public Accounts
111 E. 17th Street, Austin, Texas 78774
How does it work?
Each fall, UT Dallas faculty and staff members have the opportunity to learn about the charities in the SECC, choose which ones they want to help, and then make a gift online. You can also make a one-time gift by cash or check. Or, even better, your gift can be deducted from each paycheck.
The campaign runs from Oct. 1 to 31.
Why should I give?
Reasons for giving to a charity is a personal choice. Here, however, are some common reasons why people give:
- To support a favorite cause or charity on a regular basis
- To help those who are less fortunate
- It's the right thing to do
- It will make you feel great
- It's tax deductible
How much should I give?
How much to give is totally up to you. Your philanthropic choices are a personal decision and remain confidential. The average gift from UT Dallas faculty and staff was $318 in 2011.(Hide)
What's the minimum gift I can give to SECC?
That answer depends on how you choose to give. A cash or gift by check can be in any amount. Such one-time gifts are not limited. However, if you give through payroll deduction, the minimum gift is $2 a month.
What is a leadership gift?
Leadership gifts are gifts of $1,000 or more. The average leadership gift from UT Dallas faculty and staff was $1,442 in 2011. There are several levels of leadership giving, including:
- Lone Star Circle...($10,000 or more)
- Alamo Circle...($5,000 to $9,999)
- Bluebonnet Circle...($2,500 to $4,999)
- Yellow Rose Circle...($1,000 to $2,499)
How do I report my SECC gift to the IRS?
Charitable contributions to the SECC are considered a voluntary, miscellaneous deduction. As such, these deductions reduce net pay but do not affect gross income. Participation in these types of deductions is at the employee's written request. Currently, the minimum level of participation is $2 per pay per period or $24 per year.
Please retain your December check stub and a copy of your email from the DFW Metroplex SECC for reporting purposes to the IRS. The email will include a pledge number for your files. For payroll deduction authorizations made to the SECC during October 2012, monthly deductions will begin Jan. 1, 2013, and will be reported on each check stub.
For the Dec. 31, 2012, tax year, please print your Dec. 1, 2012, check stub to substantiate any prior year SECC gifts through payroll deduction.
On your check stub, listed under the "After Tax Deductions" section is your monthly payroll deduction and year-to-date total to "United Way". The amount under year-to-date is the figure to use if you itemize deductions on your annual tax return.
Neither Community Health Charities - North Texas Region Public Sector (administrator of the SECC) nor UT Dallas provide any charitable information to the IRS on a donor's behalf.
If you made a one-time gift to the SECC during October 2012, your gift may qualify as a charitable deduction on your 2012 tax return. For tax or financial assistance, please obtain the services of a qualified tax accountant or other professional advisor.
What charities are involved?
One of the great benefits of the SECC is the wide variety of charities and causes represented, ranging from small local organizations to large and well-known national and international groups. Those charities that wish to participate must meet stringent legal requirements, and are scrutinized by teams of state employees to ensure:
- They are recognized by the IRS as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and registered with the Secretary of State.
- They are audited (or reviewed) annually by an accountant in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.
- They provide direct or indirect health and human services.
- They spend no more than 25 percent of funds raised on administration and fund raising unless they qualify for an exception due to special circumstances.
How much of my gift actually gets to the charities?
The overhead costs for the SECC is extremely low for similar fund-raising activities. Statewide, the overhead is slightly less than 10 percent.
What happens if I don't designate a specific charity code on my pledge form?
All undesignated contributions submitted without a charity code, will be shared by all charitable groups within the local campaign area.
Who governs and administers the SECC?
At the state level, a committee of state employees called the State Policy Committee (SPC) provides governance and oversight. Four members are appointed by the Governor and three each by the Lieutenant Governor and the Comptroller of Public Accounts. They are responsible for a campaign plan, a budget and ensuring the eligibility of statewide organizations. The SPC also hires a State Campaign Manager to administer the campaign.
At the local level, Local Employee Committees (LECs) provide similar oversight. The SPC appoints the LEC chair, which then recruits a local committee of up to 10 members. They hire a local campaign manager to administer the campaign locally.
They ensure the campaign is conducted fairly and equitably under a strict set of guidelines that give donors confidence in both the charities that benefit and the methods used to solicit.
Shanon Farr Patrick, Director of Development for the Callier Center, serves on the Local Employee Committee for the Dallas Metroplex.
How are the funds distributed?
Contributions made by state agency employees are distributed by the State Comptroller to the participating federations, who then send the funds along to their members. At the local level, the Local Campaign Managers distribute the funds the same way. Each university distributes funds to federations through its own payroll system.
But because it is almost impossible to account for donations lost through such causes as employee departures or transfers, a percentage method is used to distribute funds. At the end of each year's campaign, the percentage of funds pledged to each charity is calculated. Each charity then receives that percentage of what is eventually collected. Undesignated pledges are shared with all participating charities using the same percentage. Each charity also pays its share of the cost of running the campaign (printed materials, etc.) based on the same percentage.
Updated: September 19, 2012