SECA - myths


MYTH: This is not our workplace campaign; it is the Governor's campaign.
BUST: SECA was established by law and is regulated and administered by an employee group (SECA Advisory Board) from Illinois state government. All campaign dollars go directly to the charities. Nothing goes to the Governor's office or general revenue funds.

MYTH: If I disclose my name, the charities will use it to send me spam or junk mail.
BUST: Your name and address are specifically prohibited from being sold to any other source.

MYTH: My charitable donations are not large enough to make a difference.
BUST: Small gifts from multiple donors add up, and they also provide charities with a broad base of support. This is particularly true when donors continue to give what they can afford year after year.

MYTH: I do not agree with what some of these charities do. I will not have any of my money going to support issues I find offensive.
BUST: The beauty of the SECA process is that all donors can CHOOSE exactly which organization your money goes to.

MYTH: The charities are just ones chosen by politicians.
BUST: Charities that participate in SECA must complete a rigorous application process that includes obtaining signatures from at least 4000 current state employees.

MYTH: All the money we give goes to support big salaries for charity big shots.
BUST: Most charities do not have outrageous salaries for anyone. Be a responsible donor and check into the charity to which you donate. The internet has a variety of programs that you can search. A few are: GuideStar and Charity Navigator. The SECA federations are required each year to provide information to the Illinois Comptroller's Office to ensure they are a qualified not for profit.

MYTH: I am obligated to continue my pledge even if I need to cancel it later in the year because my financial situation changed.
BUST: You can stop your SECA payroll deduction at any time by contacting your agency's payroll office.

MYTH: The State of Illinois is broke but it funds the SECA program.
BUST: The 12 main SECA Charity Federations are assessed an annual fee to cover the costs of printing all the SECA materials and any other expenses incurred by the SECA program. In 2010 the administrative fees ($23,000) to conduct the SECA program was 2.13% of the total donations.

MYTH: I cannot afford to contribute at this time.
BUST: It's not easy; we are all feeling the effects of the economy. But if it's hard for us who have jobs, what is it like for those less fortunate? Supporting charities now ensures they will be there when we need them.

MYTH: I need a raise so I can make a donation.
BUST: Give up buying one soda or one cup of coffee or lunch out - just once. This donation will make a BIG impact.

MYTH: The SECA charitable contributions go to a fund that the Governor and Legislature can use at their discretion.
BUST: ALL SECA contributions go directly to the SECA charity of your choice. One time donations in the form of a check or money order are made out to the charity and sent directly to them. The Comptroller's office cuts a check each payroll period directly to the charity's federation for payment of charitable payroll deductions.

MYTH: United Way of Central Illinois charges high overhead costs on every gift they receive.
BUST: Outside of SECA costs (which were 2.8% in 2014 WELL below the industry average) there are no additional costs recovered or expenses incurred when a state employee makes a gift to the United Way of Central Illinois. This is because there are ten local organizations whose corporate gifts cover the fundraising and administrative costs associated with the gift to the United Way of Central Illinois.

MYTH: United Way of Central Illinois Staff makes funding decisions.
BUST: United Way program funding decisions are made on a local level by volunteers in that community.

MYTH: United Way of Central Illinois doles out money to their favorite charities.
BUST: United Way is a national leader in measuring program outcomes. Funding decisions are made based on objective program outcomes.

MYTH: Special Olympics is just an annual track & field event.
BUST: Special Olympics events take place almost every other day in communities throughout Illinois. These events and activities include everything from training and competition in unique sports, such as equestrian and alpine skiing, to expanded personal and professional skill-building courses via our Athlete Leadership Programs.

MYTH: Special Olympics is for anyone with a disability.
BUST: Special Olympics was originally conceived of, and remains, an organization dedicated to the empowerment and inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Individuals with intellectual disabilities are actually one of the largest, most misunderstood minority populations worldwide.

MYTH: Special Olympics only serves kids.
BUST: Fact - 43% of Special Olympic athletes are 22 - 65+. Our oldest participating athlete is actually 92.

MYTH: Well-known causes like cancer or AIDS research need my charitable donations the most.
BUST: Many lesser-known causes may have an even greater need for charitable contributions and often have less funding.

MYTH: U.S. foreign aid supplies all the international humanitarian support we need to provide.
BUST: Humanitarian foreign aid provided by the U.S. government amounts to less than one percent of the federal budget. This is only a fraction of what people think is spent. Because the foreign aid budget is so limited, it is important that American citizens also respond individually to the critical need for help in the developing world.

MYTH: It is better to give directly to a charity than through a federation.
BUST: Donating through a federation like Global Impact is more efficient for employers because it provides them with a single point of contact for many charities. For charities, it simplifies and reduces processing costs, allowing charities to focus on their core mission of providing services. It is more cost effective to both employers and charities to process all donations through a single federation, instead of processing multiple small donations.

MYTH: Giving to the world's poor is not a wise investment.
BUST: Global Impact member charities are guided by the philosophy that handouts may satisfy people's immediate needs, but to escape severe poverty, people need a hand up ‘ assistance that will teach them to be successful on their own. History shows that this kind of investment is beneficial for both the U.S. and developing countries. In the 1960s, countries such as Brazil, Korea, Taiwan and Turkey were primary recipients. Today, they are valuable trade partners generating more than $100 billion in trade with our country.

MYTH: I do not have very much money to spare, so my donation will not make any difference to Community Health Charities.
BUST: No donation is too small, for example a dollar a week will send a child with epilepsy to summer camp for a day.

MYTH: The agencies that are represented by Community Health Charities do not help anyone I know.
BUST: 130 million Americans are impacted chronic disease and disability today, and the mission of Community Health Charities is to improve the lives of these people.

MYTH: The money I donate does not help people in Illinois.
BUST: The agencies that are part of Community Health Charities provide support, services and education to people throughout the state of Illinois.

MYTH: Federations do nothing and are just another layer skimming off money I donate to my charity
BUST: Federations are essentially subcontractors for charities' development departments. Charities contract with Federations for workplace giving because they are able to do it more efficiently than the charity ‘normally, less than 1/3rd of what it would normally cost the charity.

MYTH: If a donor gives a donation to EarthShare of Illinois and not to one of their charities, that donation will just fund their administrative fees.
BUST: Donations made to EarthShare of Illinois will be distributed amongst our local environmental and conservation member charities!

MYTH: Donors will give more outside of their workplace giving campaign.
BUST: An average gift for workplace donors is $25/month vs. $16/month for other donors! Workplace campaigns provide average donors the opportunity to plan, budget and track their annual donations to charities in one place through a single transaction.

MYTH: If a donor gives to EarthShare of Illinois, they will only be funding programs that ‘save trees'.
BUST: EarthShare of Illinois member groups save trees and then some! EarthShare of Illinois represents over 60 local, national, and international environmental charities that work in the areas of wildlife protection, climate change, clean water, public health, and deforestation.

MYTH: The American Cancer Society spends a lot on advertising in Illinois.
BUST: The generosity of our media partners makes it possible for us to run most ads free of charge in Illinois. Every year, hundreds of ads promoting our community events are underwritten by newspapers, magazines, billboard companies and other thoughtful sponsors. And for every TV ad we run, local stations provide us airtime for three more spots at no extra charge.

MYTH: There are plenty of dollars out there for cancer research.
BUST: Cancer researchers must struggle to find funding for their work as federal dollars become harder and harder to get. The American Cancer Society is the largest private funder of cancer research, with more than $3.4 billion invested to date and every dollar is crucial as we work for new cures. Our practice of funding promising scientists early in their careers has paid lifesaving dividends. In fact, virtually every major breakthrough in cancer science during the past 60 years began with a Society research grant.

MYTH: We haven't made much progress in fighting cancer.
BUST: When we launched our cancer-fighting mission almost 100 years ago, half of all people who developed cancer lost their lives to the disease. Today, thanks to improved screening, treatment and patient care, more than two-thirds will enjoy long-term survival. More than 11 million survivors nationwide are living proof of our progress. Great news but we've still got a long way to go. Our research, education, advocacy and patient services programs are helping save 300 more lives per day as compared with just two decades earlier, but we want that number to grow to 1,000 per day in the years ahead. With your help, we can do it!

MYTH: "UNCF only supports African American students attending historically black colleges and universities."
BUST: "UNCF supports students of all races and ethnicities attending majority universities and historically black colleges and universities."

MYTH: My SECA donation is not tax deductible.
BUST: Your SECA donation IS Tax Deductible. You must claim the deduction on your tax return.

MYTH: Federations don't do anything but take money from charities.
BUST: Federations provide assistance to charities in many aspects of their workplace development.

For example:

  • Marketing Strategy - Creating and delivering programs that listen to and speak to the concerns of donors, as well as cut through the clutter of messages appealing for action and help
  • Workshops - Helping member organizations, CFC, State, Local and corporate volunteers benefit from greater employee engagement in workplace giving campaign; more fully understand and comply with federal, state and local regulations governing these campaigns; and track recent trends in corporate and individual philanthropy
  • Application Services - Assistance to ensure accurate completion of members' applications for participation in workplace giving programs, submission of applications for members, and completion of any necessary appeals.
  • Fiscal Services - Collection and distribution of pledge data and funds to member charities in an efficient and effective manner with both additional and consolidated information.
  • Campaign Assistance and Promotion - Liaison with employer-based campaigns, companies and donors in order to expand the pool of funds potentially available to our member charities. Also, publicizing the services of member charities to potential donors in the workplace.
  • Campaign Metrics and Analytics Assist member charities in evaluating individual and all campaigns in which they participate.