Don`t Ask If a Charity Has Low Overhead

Don’t Ask if a Charity Has Low Overhead: Ask if it
Has a Big Impact!
Stephanie Titus, Vice President, Retirement Housing Foundation
Kim Rhinehelder, President, Eskaton Foundation
2015 LeadingAge California Conference
Monterey, CA
Dan Pallotta’s TED talk
Start the Conversation
What are some things you do to educate
your leadership about costs?
Start the Conversation
How do you demonstrate financial value
on intangible results?
For example – Outreach and PR
Start the Conversation
How do you demonstrate your impact to your
donors and your leadership?
Apples to Oranges
…standardization is necessarily standard…
• Funds allocation
• Some allocate all of a program director's salary into program
operations; others carve out the time the director spends in overall
support of the agency.
• Chart of accounts
• Review of account set-up can lead to a better understanding of
administrative expenses and how the are unique to a particular
• Financial management
Controlled vs. streamlined philosophy often sets the tone for fiscal
responsibility in an organization.
• Restricted vs. unrestricted donations
Prove Worth Based on Impact
• Impact considers the value created by the activity
rather than just how much it costs to deliver.
• Demonstrate ethical practice and share data about
your performance.
• Manage towards results and understand your true
• Help educate your leadership, board and funders on
the real cost of results.
Additional Resources
• America’s Charities’ Snapshot 2014.
• “Anatomy of the Nonprofit Starvation Cycle,” presented by Jesse D.
Lecy and Elizabeth A.M. Searing, at the November 2012 ARNOVA
Annual Conference.
• Bridgespan Group’s publications and tools.
• Donors Forum: Real Talk on Real Costs.
• National Council on Nonprofits’ resources.
• “The ‘Overhead’ Pledge,” by Sue Dorsey, PhilanTopic, August 21, 2014.
• Charity Navigator CEO Ken Berger’s blog posts on effectiveness and
“Financial Leadership for Nonprofit Executives,” by Jeanne Bell and
Elizabeth Schaffer.
• “Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial
Viability,” by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka, Steve Zimmerman.