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View Diary: Charitable Giving: Charities with overhead of 1% or less (71 comments)

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  •  A PSA (9+ / 0-)

    Keep in mind that a low overhead % doesn't necessarily mean that they have low overhead. There are all sorts of ways to cook the books to lower that number.

    Or: trust, but verify.  Take Children's Medical Emergency Fund.  A quick googling suggests that there may be reason to be concerned about their operations; and if you go to their form 990 (at Guidestar; free registration required), sure enough a whopping 60% of their "program expenses" (ie, the expenses they claim go to fulfilling their charitable mission) are grants to other organizations, rather than direct support to those that need it.  And those grants - provided they're not earmarked for anything - are counted as program expense even if the grantee uses it for, say, fundraising.

    That's not to say that they're not charitable, or they're a bad organization, or that there's anything suspect.  But it demonstrates that, when giving to a charity, a little more due diligence is appropriate than just taking a look at the claimed overhead %.

    The overhead % can be a good datum, but it's not the be-all end-all.

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