One more thing about Eagle County non-profits
Edwards, CO, Colorado
I applaud you for beginning a column highlighting the non-profit organizations in town.
After covering charitable events for the past eight years and serving as a board member and volunteer on many of these organizations, I believe visibility is crucial for the charities, and accurate information for the general public of donors.
One item I feel is glaringly missing from this column, however, is accountability. Every organization registered under section 501(c)3 of the IRS code files a form 990 on an annual basis reporting their income and expenditures. There are also ratios that are used by those analyzing non-profits, which such critical information, such as program ratios (percentage of total expenditures devoted to programming and services). Although ratios are certainly not the only tool to be used in evaluating a non-profit, they are certainly a part of the whole picture.
When I make a donation to a non-profit, I want to make sure that they serve their mission in the most economical model possible. I want to make sure that the money I donate isn’t going to overly compensated staff, over the top marketing and plush office space. I prefer to target those who run a lean machine, truly serving the purpose of their mission in an effectual manner.
If you are interested in viewing these forms, which includes information regarding income, money given out, salaries of “highly compensated individuals” and more, one source to view this public information is http://www.guidestar.org. Registering on the Web site is simple and free, though many of the 990s you’ll find are a year or two old.
I hope you will consider, in the future, providing this crucial information for your readers so they might make a wise and informed decision on their investment in the local charities, especially during these trying economic times.
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