Recently, CNN published the results of a year-long investigation to identify America’s worst charities. The article can be viewed at: http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/13/us/worst-charities/index.html?hpt=hp_c2. After reading this article, I took the opportunity to compare Pioneer Center for Human Service’s practices with those charities in the article that are wasteful and bad stewards of their investors’ resources.
The article refers to Kids Wish Network raising millions of dollars every year, yet “it spends less than 3 cents on the dollar helping kids.” A majority of the funds, or more than 97%, raised is spent on operating costs, specifically paying for-profit companies to fundraise on their behalf. In comparison, Pioneer Center spends less than 9% on operating costs, with nearly .92 cents of each dollar used for program services.
That means Pioneer Center spends 91.7% of all donations on providing services; including youth and adult behavioral health services and counseling, intellectual and developmental disability programs, sexual assault services and homeless services.
Pioneer Center is committed to being good stewards and governing our resources with integrity. In fact, Pioneer Center has received the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) charity seal of approval meeting 20 out of 20 standards for charity accountability. The BBB is the authority on trust in the marketplace which sets and upholds high standards for ethical behavior and practices. This accreditation is a coveted honor earned by top businesses and charities.
The main difference discovered during my review was how the 50 worst charities fundraised as compared to Pioneer Center. Not only does more than .91 cents of every dollar get used for direct program services, the organization also keeps all fundraising efforts “in-house.” By contracting with for-profit companies as fundraisers, these 50 worst charities show blatant disregard for responsible donor stewardship and accountability towards communities in need. As the article stated:
“Collectively the 50 worst charities raised more than $1.3 billion over the past decade and paid nearly $1 billion of that directly to the companies that raise their donations. If that money had gone to charity, it would have been enough to build 20,000 Habitat for Humanity homes, buy 7 million wheelchairs or pay for mammograms for nearly 10 million uninsured women.”
Conversely, Pioneer Center conducts all fundraising internally thus negating the need to pay outside contractors. In fact, fundraising expenses account for only 3.9% of Pioneer Center’s expenses. Keeping fundraising efforts like these in-house ensures generous donations are directed towards achieving our mission to empower individuals to achieve their full potential.
Over the past years, we have strived to be exceptionally good stewards of our resources. Financially sound decisions have allowed us to help the people of McHenry County in the past and will afford us the opportunity to continue to do so.
We have made it our mission to be responsible with the funds that are entrusted to us. And as that support grows, you can be assured that we will use every additional dollar to its maximum potential to serve those in need.
Jeff J. Kurth
Chief Financial Officer, Pioneer Center for Human Services