Friday, November 13, 2015

25 things you don't get from an "overhead" percentage

On Tuesday, November 10th, published a post entitled, "Records:  Salaries and expenses of San Antonio nonprofits and their CEO's." The purpose of the post was supposedly to inform potential holiday season donors about how the 28 featured organizations were spending the donations they receive.

My organization was featured in that post, and in the 48 hours that followed I got all kinds of messages basically expressing this: "OMG, did you see this article (with a helpful link)?"  I made the BIG mistake of reading the comments on the article.  Here is a sample of the most offensive ones:  
  • Most of the leaders of these non-profits are thieves. They have a cushy job with little oversight. These people are scum and will never get another penny from me.
  • If the non-profit execs want to continue to rape the public they need to move into the private sector.
  • Discouraging thing is all of the thousands of hours volunteers give to these charities, feeling good about helping, and the CEO's are in it for the big money.
  • The head of the Food Bank makes well over 300k per year. Obscene. I had been a donor for years, but I will not give one more penny.
  • … more than $300,000 to run the Food Bank? Basically a grocery store that exists (thankfully) to feed poor and destitute families? That's a bit much, folks.
  • Then they have the audacity to look you in the eye and ask you to give !!! **
Then I made the bigger mistake of getting caught up in trying to respond to all those comments. As I was driving to work today I was thinking about how sad it is that that post really did nothing at all to  adequately  inform potential holiday season donors about how the 28 featured organizations were spending the donations they receive. So, I thought I would list a few of the most important things anyone should know about my organization that I wish the media would do stories about instead. 

25 Things You Don't Know from Overhead, Salaries, & Admin %'s:
  1. How many kids are on our waiting list
  2. How long they have to wait
  3. The challenges they face on a daily basis
  4. How many volunteers we recruited
  5. How long it takes us to process them
  6. How many training sessions we did
  7. How many background checks we did
  8. How many references we called on volunteers
  9. How many home visits we made
  10. How many kids we serve
  11. If those kids do better in school
  12. If those kids are skipping school
  13. If those kids will be promoted to the next grade level
  14. If those kids are saying no to drugs, alcohol and tobacco
  15. If those kids got in trouble with authorities
  16. If those kids will graduate from high school
  17. If those kids are going to college
  18. If those kids are employable
  19. What the kids do with their mentors
  20. How many fundraisers we held
  21. How many donations we received
  22. How many staff we have
  23. Anything that we spend money on besides a CEO
  24. How satisfied anyone is with our services
  25. If we are moving the needle on any social problems our mission is intended to address
What Little You Do Know from that post:
  1. The Annual revenue of organization
  2. The CEO's Salary (the post doesn't say, but the numbers are actually salary and benefits added together)
  3. The Percentage of revenue classified as administrative
The question I am left with is: Which of all of these things would you really most want to know in order to make a decision to donate?  

You can donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters here.  Take it from me, the proud CEO and visionary leader of our mentoring movement, your investment in our organization will be a sound one. 

**I sent that one a donation link. 

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