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The newslet ter from the Charities Review Council w w w. Smar

The ‘Overhead Myth’: A Call for Conversation Between Nonprofits and Donors Since the Center for Investigative Reporting released their list of the worst charities in the United States a few months ago, headlines like Above the Law: America’s Worst Charities have popped up across major news outlets like CNN and ABC. The incriminating measure of the charities that made its list was the percentage of charity expenses that go to administrative and fundraising costs, or overhead. A widely accepted expense ratio is 70:30, where overhead makes up 30% of an organization’s total expenses, and the other 70% goes towards programming, the money spent towards an organization’s mission. In the last year over 2100 donors called the Charities Review Council offices, many of them with questions about how much of their donation goes directly to program costs.

Nonprofit experts at large have been arguing that the overhead ratio is not a sufficient measure of an organization’s performance. The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, GuideStar, and Charity Navigator pointed out in a recent open letter to the Donors of America that “overhead costs include important investments charities make to improve their work.” But it isn’t always obvious to donors how money spent on “overhead” is beneficial to an organization and, ultimately, the impact of an organization’s mission. So when this kind of story gets the enormous coverage it has, it is an opportunity for organizations to tell their financial story and make it clear that their administrative investment is valuable. As part of our effort to make our Standards the best they can be, we surveyed and held

conversations with more than 100 nonprofit finance professionals and asked them what is and isn’t meaningful about the overhead ratio. We also asked them to provide meaningful alternatives to the program expense ratio. 56% of the nonprofit finance leaders we surveyed said the overhead ratio is not a valid measurement of nonprofit efficiency. Many respondents noted the difficulty in creating a solid benchmark that doesn’t rely on something as concrete as the expense ratio. Many pointed out that an extremely high overhead ratio can indeed be an indicator of charity fraud. At the same time, an extremely low overhead ratio does not equal results, and in fact, can sometimes diminish a charity’s community impact. The Charities Review Council reviews organizations around 26 standards in addition to their use of funds. We believe that good governance, a commitment to public communication, diversity and inclusivity, sound financial management, ethical fundraising practices and the organization’s impact in its community are important measures of a successful nonprofit.

Asking the Right Questions

Because there are many facets to defining nonprofit success, nonprofit organizations should communicate why they’re investing in infrastructure (buildings, technology, tools and other resources), what value it has, and how those investments affect the good they can do in communities. To get a better picture of an organization’s impact, donors should ask an organization how their overhead expenses have made them better prepared to serve their communities. Standards are important. We’d love to hear what you think could be meaningful alternatives to the program expense ratio. Tell us what you’d like to hear from organizations to better understand how they spend their money. Email or call 651-224-7030.

IN THIS ISSUE Fall 2013 • The ‘Overhead Myth’: A Call for Conversation Between Nonprofits and Donors • Status Update with Kris Kewitsch • Giving Guide 2013 • Organizational Infrastructure: A “Q and A” with David Nicholson of Headwaters Foundation for Justice • Give to the Max Day Three Easy Ways to Check Out Charity Reviews Before Giving

Giving Guide 2013

Check out the Giving Guide on page 3 of this newsletter for a list of reviewed charities.

Call (651) 224-7030 or (800) 733-GIVE



The Smart Giver Charities Review Council

Status Update with Kris Kewitsch Dear Friends, I am thrilled to write to you from our new office space! In this time of transition and growth, it is wonderful to be settling into a space that reflects our philosophical approach to collaboration. Staff is able to work together in new ways, and the storefront office is another way we can be more accessible to both donors and nonprofits. Council board and staff are very excited to move forward with our latest strategic plan. It creates a road map to reach our long-term vision of supporting engaged, informed donors and strong, accountable nonprofits for a better community. We will bring this to life by fostering deeper, more engaged relationships between donors, nonprofits and stakeholders. Our work will allow nonprofits to increase their ability to focus on their mission and impact. Internally, we are working hard to build a solid foundation so we can lead the nonprofit and philanthropic sector towards greater strength and increased trust. We are excited to be finalizing our first annual review of our Accountability Standards. Regularly revisiting and revising the Standards ensures that our work remains innovative and that we are constantly adapting to the changing needs of donors, causes and their constituents. Thank you so much for your commitment to a robust nonprofit sector. We wholeheartedly appreciate all of your support for, and participation in, our work. What we do would not be possible without you.

Kris Kewitsch Executive Director Charities Review Council P.S. Your contribution matters to us, especially as we seek to reach more donors and nonprofits. I invite you to share in our mission by returning a contribution to us in the enclosed envelope.

The Smart Giver Charities Review Council

Givindge Gui

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MOST TRUSTWORTHY NONPROFITS How can I get information about unreviewed nonprofits?

You can find limited information about unreviewed nonprofits on or call us at (651) 224-7030.

How to use this Guide How does a nonprofit get listed as “Most Trustworthy”?

This go-to list features nonprofits that have voluntarily participated in our review and met all of our Accountability Standards, thus earning our Meets Standards seal. The review is valid for three years and requires a small administrative payment.

Are you looking for a nonprofit that isn’t listed?

This list reflects the latest review results as of October 1, 2013. If a nonprofit is not listed, it is either unreviewed or has not completed its review. If a nonprofit has not been reviewed, encourage the organization to sign up for a review.

Accountability Standards

Our Accountability Standards consist of 27 standards, which address a nonprofit’s performance in four critical areas: public disclosure, governance, financial activity, and fundraising. The standards have evolved over the Council’s 67 years, with broad participation from Minnesota’s nonprofit and philanthropic communities, to reflect reasonable public expectations of nonprofits. Find out more about the Standards at

The Charities Review Council determined that the organization meets all Accountability Standards.

Giving Guide Fall 2013 A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation Access Justice (New Organization) AccessAbility, Inc. Accessible Space, Inc. AccountAbility Minnesota ACES (Athletes Committed to Educating Students) AchieveMpls African Development Center Aitkin County CARE, Inc. Alexandra House, Inc. Alliance for Metropolitan Stability Alliance Housing Incorporated ALS Association, MN/ND/SD Chapter, The Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Association, Minnesota– North Dakota Chapter American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest American Refugee Committee

Real-time up-to-date nonprofit listings available online at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities Bolder Options Books for Africa, Inc. Boy Scouts of America, Northern Star Council Breanna’s Gift (New Organization) Bridge for Youth, The

Community Emergency Assistance Programs, Inc.

Cabrini Partnership Camp Fire Minnesota Camp Odayin Camps of Courage & Friendship Can Do Canines Cancer Legal Line (New Organization) CAPI USA CaringBridge

Center for Nonprofit Excellence & Social Innovation (New Organization)

Arthritis Foundation – Upper Midwest Region Ascension Place, Inc. Association for Nonsmokers – Minnesota Avenues for Homeless Youth Banyan Community Be The Match Foundation

Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties

Community Dental Care

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud


CommonBond Communities


Ananya Dance Theatre

Annex Teen Clinic

Clare Housing

Bridges to Learning

Ampersand Families

Anna Marie’s Alliance

Civic Caucus

Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin

Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Animal Humane Society

Christian Appalachian Project

Bridges of Hope

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation

Angel Foundation

Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester

Community Health Charities Minnesota Community Involvement Programs Community Mediation Services, Inc. Community Shares of Minnesota Community Thread Como Friends Conflict Resolution Center Cookie Cart Council on American-Islamic Relations, Minnesota (CAIR-MN) CornerHouse Courage Center

Center for Victims of Torture

Crisis Line and Referral Service

Central Minnesota Arts Board


Centro Campesino Inc


Centro, Inc.

Cuyuna Range Youth Center, Inc.

Channel One, Inc.

Dakota Communities

Charities Review Council (Informational Self-Review)

Dakota Woodlands

Child Care Aware of Minnesota Child Care Choices, Inc. ChildFund International Children’s Cancer Research Fund Children’s Dental Services

Damiano of Duluth, Inc. DARTS Diversity Council Dodge Nature Center Domestic Abuse Project



The Smart Giver Charities Review Council

Giving Guide – continued

Can’t find a charity?

See page 3 for information or call us at (651) 224-7030.

Fall 2013

Donations For Education

Hastings Family Service

Link, The

Eagan Resource Center

Hazelden Foundation

Listening House of St. Paul

East Side Learning Center

Helping Hands Outreach

Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly

East Side Neighborhood Services, Inc.

Hemophilia Foundation of Minnesota/Dakotas

Loaves and Fishes Meal Programs

Eastside Meals on Wheels, Inc. ECHO Minnesota Ecolibrium3 (New Organization) Educate Tanzania (New Organization) ElderCircle Emerge Community Development Emergency Foodshelf Network Emma Norton Services Environmental Initiative Envision Minnesota Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota Episcopal Community Services Erik’s Ranch & Retreats (New Organization)

Hennepin Health Foundation HFH of Douglas County, Minnesota, Inc. Hmong Cultural Center Honors Choirs of Southeast Minnesota HOPE Adoption & Family Services International, Inc. HOPE Coalition Hope Community, Inc. House of Charity, Inc. HousingLink Hunger Solutions Minnesota Initiative Foundation

Eye-Link Foundation (New Organization)

Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Rochester

Fairview Foundation

International Breast Milk Project

Faith Community Nurse Network of the Greater Twin Cities

International Institute of Minnesota

Faith In Action In Red Wing Faith’s Lodge Family Pathways FamilyWise Feed My Starving Children Fergus Falls Senior Citizens Program, Inc. Food for Hungry Minds Franconia Sculpture Park Fraser Free Arts Minnesota Free To Be, Inc. Fresh Energy Friends of the Mississippi River Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys Goodwill / Easter Seals Minnesota Great River Homes, Inc. Greater Mankato Area United Way Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation

Jewish Community Center of the Greater St. Paul Area Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis

Loft Literary Center, The Lupus Foundation of Minnesota Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry Make-A-Wish Foundation of Minnesota MAP for Nonprofits Marshall Area Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) McLeod Emergency Food Shelf Mediation Services for Anoka County Mental Health Association of Minnesota Merrick, Inc. Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid Midwest Special Services, Inc. MIGIZI Communications Minneapolis Community and Technical College Foundation Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation Minneapolis Jewish Federation Minnesota Adoption Resource Network

Jewish Family Service of St. Paul

Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge

Joseph’s Coat, Inc.

Minnesota AIDS Project

Joyce Preschool

Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans

Jungle Theater

Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, Inc.

Minnesota Children’s Museum

Kaleidoscope Place

Minnesota Computers for Schools

Karen Organization of Minnesota

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

Karen Wyckoff Rein In Sarcoma Foundation

Minnesota Council on Economic Education

Keystone Community Services

Minnesota Diversified Industries

Kids Against Hunger, Inc.

Minnesota Home Ownership Center

Korean Service Center

Minnesota Humanities Center

La Oportunidad

Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center

Lakes Area Youth Service Bureau, Inc.

Minnesota International Center

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers

Minnesota Life College

Learning Disabilities Association (LDA Minnesota)

Minnesota Literacy Council, Inc. Minnesota Network of Hospice & Palliative Care

Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches

Lee Carlson Center for Mental Health and Well-Being

Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery

Let’s Go Fishing With Seniors

Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Greater Twin Cities United Way

Life-Work Planning Center Board, Inc.

Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance, Inc.

Guild Incorporated

LifeSource / Upper Midwest Organ Procurement Organization, Inc.

Minnesota Project, The

Habitat for Humanity of Morrison County Haiti Outreach, Inc. Hamm Clinic

Lifetrack Resources, Inc.

Minnesota Public Radio / American Public Media

Lifeworks Services, Inc.

Minnesota Sinfonia

The Smart Giver Charities Review Council

Giving Guide – continued

Can’t find a charity?

See page 3 for information or call us at (651) 224-7030.

Fall 2013

Minnesota State Academy for the Blind Foundation Minnesota Stroke Association (New Organization) Minnesota Veterans Medical Research & Education Foundation

Pillsbury United Communities Pine River-Backus Family Center Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota

St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development St. Louis Park Emergency Program St. Mary’s Health Clinics

Plymouth Christian Youth Center

St. Paul Neighborhood Network

Portico Healthnet

St. Stephen’s Human Services

Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota

Stepping Stone Emergency Housing

ProAct, Inc.

SteppingStone Theatre

Miracles of Mitch Foundation

Progress Valley

Store To Door

Mississippi River Fund

Project FINE (Focus on Integrating Newcomers through Education)

Students Today Leaders Forever

Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency Minnesota Youth Intervention Programs Association

Pueblo a Pueblo

Sub-Saharan African Youth & Family Services in Minnesota

Range Mental Health Center

Summit Academy OIC

Reading Center, The

Susan G. Komen® Minnesota

Rebuild Resources

Sustainable Resources Center, Inc.

National Youth Leadership Council

Redeemer Center for Life

Tanzania Life Project

Nawayee Center School

RELATE Counseling Center

Tasks Unlimited, Inc.

Neighborhood Development Center


Teens Alone, Inc.

Neighborhood HealthSource

Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity

Ten Thousand Things Theater

Neighborhood House

Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest

The Works

Morton Cure Paralysis Fund NAMI Minnesota NAMI Southeast Minnesota National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Upper Midwest Chapter

Neighborhood Involvement Program New Pathways, Inc. North Metro Pediatrics Northeast Youth & Family Services Northern Dental Access Center Northside Achievement Zone Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council Northwest Resources for Families Northwoods Hospice Respite Partners Open Access Connections Open Door Health Center Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless Operation Living Hope Opportunity Partners Ordway Center for the Performing Arts PACER Center, Inc. Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Inc. Parents United for Public Schools Park Nicollet Foundation

RS EDEN Rum River Health Services, Inc. Rural Renewable Energy Alliance Saint Paul Area Council of Churches SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) Scholarship America, Inc. Second Harvest Heartland Second Harvest North Central Food Bank Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank Semcac Senior Community Services ServeMinnesota Sexual Assault Program of Beltrami, Cass & Hubbard Counties

Touchstone Mental Health TreeHouse Tri-County Humane Society Tubman Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity Twin Cities Public Television Twin Cities RISE! Twin Cities Salvation Army, The Union Gospel Mission Association of St. Paul Union Gospel Mission Duluth United Way of Douglas & Pope Counties United Way of Olmsted County, Inc. United Way of West Central Minnesota University of Minnesota Foundation Upstream Arts

Sherburne County Area United Way

Urban Arts Academy

Sight & Hearing Association

Urban Homeworks

Sing Out Loud / Bella Voce Young Women’s Choir

Vail Place

Sojourner Project, Inc.

VEAP Inc. Volunteer Lawyers Network, Ltd.

Pathways Minneapolis

Solid Ground (formerly East Metro Women’s Council)

Pawsitive Perspectives Assistance Dogs (New Organization)

Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women

People Reaching Out To Other People, Inc.

Southside Family Nurturing Center

Washburn Center for Children

People Serving People, Inc.

Southside Services I. Inc.

Way to Grow, Inc.

Phoenix Residence Inc., The

Spare Key

Wayside House, Inc., The

Phyllis Wheatley Community Center

St. Anthony Park Area Seniors

Welcome Center, Inc.

Pillager Family Council

St. Croix River Association

WellShare International

Voyageurs National Park Association WACOSA Walk-In Counseling Center



The Smart Giver Charities Review Council

Giving Guide – continued

Can’t find a charity?

See page 3 for information or call us at (651) 224-7030.

Fall 2013

West Hennepin Affordable Housing Land Trust West Side Community Health Services White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf White Bear Center for the Arts Wilderness Inquiry Will Steger Foundation Wishes & More

Women’s Advocates, Inc.

Youth Frontiers

Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

Youth Service Bureau, Inc.



Woodbury Life Resource Center


YMCA Camp Olson

Y WCA Mankato

YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities

Y WCA of Minneapolis

Youth Express

Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center

Reviews in Progress Nonprofits listed as “Review in Progress” are currently being evaluated. A Child’s Hope Int’l, Inc Advocates for Human Rights, The Aeon African Families Development Network Aliveness Project, The American Composers Forum American Indian Family Center American Red Cross Arc Greater Twin Cities, The Asian Media Access Bancroft Neighborhood Association Banyan Community Basic Needs Inc. of South Washington County / Stone Soup Thrift Shop BestPrep Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities Build Wealth, MN, Inc. Camp Victory Ministries, Inc. Canvas Health Children’s Health Care Foundation Children’s Theatre Company City of Lakes Community Land Trust College Possible Common Hope Community Action Duluth, Inc. COMPAS (Community Programs in the Arts) Compatible Technology International Cornerstone Advocacy Service Cultural Wellness Center DinoMights Faith in Action for Cass County Family Tree Clinic FamilyMeans Freshwater Society Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Friends of the Hennepin County Library

Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual Transgender Pride Twin Cities HandsOn Twin Cities Headwaters Foundation for Justice HealthEast Foundation Heart of the Beast Theatre, Inc. Helping Paws, Inc. Hmong American Partnership Hope Centers for Children of Africa HOWA Family Center In Progress Intercongregation Communities Association (ICA Food Shelf) Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners Intermedia Arts of Minnesota Jabbok Family Services Jewish Community Action Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership, Inc.

People Incorporated Pet Haven, Inc. of Minnesota Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association Productive Alternatives, Inc. Project for Pride in Living, Inc. Project for the People of Paraguay Project Pathfinder, Inc. Project SUCCESS Rebuilding Together Twin Cities Regions Hospital Foundation ResourceWest Restart, Inc. Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM), Inc. Reve Academy Rochester Area Family Y Sabes Jewish Community Center Sanneh Foundation, The Simpson Housing Services, Inc.

Lakes Area Interfaith Caregivers

Somali Community Resettlement Center

Lakes Area Music Festival

Springboard for the Arts

Lakes Area Restorative Justice Project

Tennis & Education Inc.

Lakeshore Players Theatre

True Friends (formerly Camps of Courage & Friendship)

Loppet Foundation Lourdes Foundation, Inc. Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota Majestic Hills Ranch Foundation Memorial Blood Centers Minneapolis Urban League Minnesota Land Trust Mounted Eagles Museum of Russian Art, The Neighbors, Inc. Northern Clay Center One Heartland Open Arms of Minnesota Opportunity Neighborhood

United Cerebral Palsy of Central Minnesota United Way of Crow Wing & Southern Cass Counties Urban Roots MN Village Family Service Center, The Vision Loss Resources Walker Area Community Center Walker West Music Academy West 7th Community Center Will To Live Foundation, Inc., The Youth Farm Youth Performance Company (YPC)

The Smart Giver Charities Review Council

OVERHEAD AND ORGANIZATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE: A “Q AND A” WITH DAVID NICHOLSON OF HEADWATERS By Matt Beachey David Nicholson is the Program Director at the Headwaters Foundation for Justice, a philanthropic organization that funds nonprofits that fight injustice in their communities. We spoke with him about how small organizations seeking funding can explain their overhead costs to foundations and donors. It’s important for donors to be aware of a nonprofit’s finances, and crucial for strong nonprofits to clearly communicate their costs. What has been your philosophy around program expense to administrative expense ratio in relation to the way you make funding decisions? As a funder, we have to ensure that we invest in organizations that are effective. One of the areas that we look at is finances, looking at programming and administrative expenses. Often, the 80/20 rule is a starting point guideline, as in splitting program and administrative costs 80% and 20% respectively. However, our philosophy is to use those numbers as a place to start a conversation with organizations to see how well they understand the work of building and maintaining their organization. We use overhead to begin the discussion, not a as a checklist.

“We use overhead to begin the discussion, not as a checklist” What has been the impact of that philosophy or theory? How is your grantmaking different because of it? It’s influenced our grantmaking a lot. Once we get into nuanced conversation about their numbers, and how they got there, it helps us to commit to giving general operating grants. Particularly with smaller organizations, it’s really important to see that the dollars go towards building the organization. We’ve found that a lot of foundation dollars that only go towards programmatic support ultimately leaves [those] organizations under-supported. Often, an organization uses the bulk of its administrative spending to administer the grant itself, after jumping through the hoops of writing an application, doing the evaluation, and reporting. After those expenses, organizations are sometimes left with a net gain of zero even after they’ve been awarded the grant. The conversations we have with organizations about their program expense ratio tells us how well they understand the real costs of running [their nonprofit], and how well they understand their own finances. It’s sometimes appropriate for a

variety of reasons for an organization to have higher administrative costs. If they have the self-awareness to talk about it, that’s a good indication that they know their finances well. How would you explain the importance of building infrastructure specifically for small or grassroots organizations? Building infrastructure is about building sustainability. Infrastructure is necessary for them to run with accountability and transparency. We really encourage organizations to take the time and money needed to build that infrastructure and to articulate that process with funders. We encourage organizations to always lead with their rationale of their administrative costs when talking with funders in order to demonstrate that they know nonprofit finances, that they know their business, and can articulate value of their administration costs, that they are running an organization based on sustainability rather than depletion, and that this benefits their community and organization as a whole. What advice would you give to organizations who are seeking funding but display unusual overhead ratios? There are many reasons for organizations to have higher than usual overhead ratios, and CONTINUED ON BACK >

© Charities Review Council

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The Smart Giver is published twice a year. It is available free of charge and distributed to households, businesses, and nonprofits. If you are not on our mailing list and would like to receive this helpful guide – or if a family member, friend or co-worker might like to receive it – please contact the Council.

St. Paul, MN 55114 – 1859 Phone: (651) 224-7030 or 800-733-GIVE (4483) Email:

Editor: Kate Khaled,


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Permit #1743 St. Paul, MN

2334 University Ave. W., Suite 150 St. Paul, MN 55114 – 1859 Phone: 651-224-7030 or 800-733-GIVE United Way Funded Agency

2013 Board of Directors Anita Patel, Chair YWCA of Minneapolis Patty Wilder, Vice Chair Leadership Tactics Morris Goodwin, Secretary Amherst H. Wilder Foundation Diane Hovis, Treasurer Travelers, Retired Sarah Bjelland Wells Fargo Heidi Christianson, Past Chair Nilan Johnson Lewis PA Tony Helmer Crowley, White & Helmer LaVon Lee Grotto Foundation Robert Pickering Lifetrack Resources Mac Ryerse Columbia Management Investment Advisors Brenda Starr Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota Keith Tanski Target Corporation Michael Wirth-Davis Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota

Staff Kris Kewitsch Executive Director Amy Sinykin Associate Director Lynnea Atlas-Ingebretson Program Director Kate Downing Khaled Engagement & Development Manager Jenna Salinas Nonprofit Services Manager Keely Hendrickson Marketing & Development Specialist Marc Hosmer Program Coordinator Abby Wright Program & Administrative Assistant Matt Beachey Engagement Specialist

< CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 it is important that organizations understand those reasons themselves and can explain them to funders. For instance, if an organization has recently started seeking more money from smaller individual donations, they’ll likely need to temporarily raise their administrative expenses, as they’ll need to increase their staff to steward those donors, upgrade to more sophisticated database systems, and generally raise their organizational capacity. Another example is organizations that help their constituents engage with something as complex as signing up for healthcare. There are very high administrative expenses associated with interfacing with hospitals and insurance companies. Donors are asking for a deeper level of accountability through self-evaluation, and a deeper level of transparancy through communication. Both of these things are crucial for an organization to have its greatest impact, and both cost money. Organizations need to understand their costs of running and be able to articulate that to funders. The Charities Review Council values the forward thinking of funders like the Headwaters Foundation for Justice, whose critical work supports organizational infrastructure and sustainability. Every-day individual donors are equally important in building strong and sustainable organizations.

Give to the Max Day 2013 is Thursday, November 14! This day of mass online giving is a great opportunity to help your favorite cause, as many will have funding partners matching individual donations. GiveMN will be awarding additional gifts to organizations that get the most participation throughout the day. This year for Give to the Max Day, we encourage you to make a donation to your favorite organization listed right here in the Smart Giver. Visit for more information about Give to the Max Day. And don’t forget to use our Giving Guide on November 14th to invest in strong organizations that meet our 27 Standards!

Charities Review Council's Fall 2013 Smart Giver Newsletter  

The Smart Giver Newsletter is published twice a year and includes the Giving Guide, a list of strong, accountable nonprofits that have demon...

Charities Review Council's Fall 2013 Smart Giver Newsletter  

The Smart Giver Newsletter is published twice a year and includes the Giving Guide, a list of strong, accountable nonprofits that have demon...