When you make a $100 donation to your favorite nonprofit, how much do you think actually is going towards its cause? I think most people just assume that most (at least half) is going towards the mission. That’s why I was pretty surprised when I stumbled across Charity Navigator’s list of “10 Charities Overpaying their For-Profit Fundraisers.” This list has 10 organizations that pay less than 20% of their budget towards programs and services. Shockingly, 7 of the 10 actually have less than 10% going towards programs/services. The worst offenders are:
- Disabled Police Officers Counseling Center (7.5%)
- Firefighters Charitable Foundation (7.7%)
- Children’s Charity Fund, Inc. (8.1%)
My first thought was that these organizations must be small (like $100k budget) or brand new and that was why they aren’t spending more on their mission. Unfortunately, that was not the case. All three organizations are around 20 years old – and two of the three have budgets over $1 million. What’s really crazy is what these three nonprofits are spending over 80% of their budgets on – professional fundraising “fees” (aka fundraising consultants).
Since the Firefighters Charitable Foundation took in the most money ($6.1 million) I pulled up their 2010 990 to see if this was really true, and it is. The Firefighters Charitable Foundation – whose work includes helping those affected by fires, is actually paying fundraising consultants 87% of all donations they took in – $5.3 million dollars in 2010. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems totally wrong. What do you think?
Photo Credit: Keith Ramsey