Directors of the United Way of the Great Salt Lake Area approved a $5,031,196 fund-raising goal for their 1988 fall campaign, an 11.8 percent increase over last year's total.

The recommendation was presented by Ross E. Kendell, president and chief operating officer of Key Bank and 1988 United Way campaign chairman.Kendell and 26 volunteers developed the goal while at a half-day retreat where they analyzed potential participants.

The major firms division, directed by John Wade of United Parcel Service, approved a goal increase of 10.2 percent. The professional division, under A. Jay Smith, managing partner of Ernst and Whinney, will target a 12.7 percent increase, while the public service division , directed by Maj. Gen. John L. Matthews of the National Guard, set a goal 9.3 percent higher than last year.

The newly formed geographic division, newly formed and under the leadership of led by James R. Herbster of Northwest Pipeline, has the most ambition ambitious goal with a 24.2 percent increase. This division includes 1,500 companies divided into four geographic areas. The overall campaign in each quadrant will be directed by a firm in that area.

"We feel the geographic division has the most potential for growth," Kendell said.

Letters have gone out to United Way Golden Spike members, the leadership giving arm of the organization, Kendell said. Under the direction of Wendell M. Smoot Jr., president of Smoot, Miller, Cheney and Co. and president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, several hundred names of prospective members were added to the list.

The annual fund-raising campaign will benefit 115 health and human service programs at 58 local agencies. It officially begins the second week of September.