When you begin to understand non-profits, donations are extremely important to enable the nonprofit to continue and expand its mission. Just as it happens in business, nonprofits look to expand their donor base and their program reach. Oftentimes, nonprofits that are funded by individual donations feel that if they reach out for the “large donations” like through grants or corporate sponsors, their life will be easier. The business issues with adding a new avenue of donations is the same as it is in a for profit entity: What are the costs involved in making this happen versus the eventual return. Furthermore, corporate donors and/or grants can come and go with changes in the economy or environment – which adds a large risk dimension to this source of funds.
Additionally, now charities need to allocate expenses to either Program Service Expense, Management and general expenses and Fund-Raising expenses. Charity Navigator and many contributors look to see how much and what % of total expenses are spent on Program Service Expenses versus Management or Fund-Raising Expenses. The higher the % of expenses spent on program expenses, generally the better the charity is viewed.
You can find Human Options’ 2016 Form 990 on the website: FoundationCenter.org. FoundationCenter.org also accumulates and makes available a vast amount of information on charities and charitable giving.
When you look at Human Options’ 2016 Form 990, please answer the following questions (you may need to consult the 2015 Form 990 to answer some of these questions):
- What is Human Options’ mission?
- Did total gifts, contributions and grants increase or decrease? What was the main element of income that changed and by how much?
- Did investment income, interest and dividends increase or decrease and by how much?
- What comments do you have about the amount of money paid to the executive officers relative to the size of the charity?
- What percent of total expenses were allocated to each of the categories, program, management and general and fundraising?
- Does the allocation of functional expenses seem reasonable to you? Why or why not?
- Which event provides Human Options with the greatest amount of gross receipts?
- What organization provided the largest grant to Human Options in 2016?
- After you have reviewed the detail of how this charity earns revenues, does your answer to question 3 change and if so, why?
- What expenses, if any, have not been allocated and what do you think about that?
Please be sure to answer each of these questions in order. Points will be deducted for Grammar and spelling errors.