Like many others, I have grown up with a sense of responsibility to help those who are less fortunate. Early in my career I set out to find a charitable organization whose cause I believed in. I had friends recommend organizations that they were involved with or had heard of, but time-after-time I found the same thing—either financial mismanagement, or mediocre financial stewardship.
There were many organizations that were “a good cause”, but far fewer approached that cause with an intelligent, rational, long-term approach. My time and money was (and still is) very valuable to me and I wanted to give to an organization that not only had a great cause, but also an organization that would spend every penny of my money where it was most effective. I imagine that you would have the same criteria for your time and money as well.
“There are about 12,000 [charities] that routinely spend more on fundraising, office and other expenses than on charitable works.”
An article published by the Toronto Star discusses the poor financial management of charities. This article states that there are “about 12,000 [charities] that routinely spend more on fundraising, office and other expenses than on charitable works. Some have bad intentions; others are simply bad at carrying out good works. Regardless, they take the public’s money and give little in return.”
Before becoming a Senior Executive in the mining industry, I obtained a Chartered Accounting designation while auditing company’s (including charity’s) financial statements. It was this experience that opened my eyes to the harsh reality of “accounting flexibility”. In fact, many charitable organizations create a project code in their accounting system for each program that they support. Then, nearly all salary expense is allocated in various ways to these projects. In my opinion salary expenses (especially of those people working in a head office and not actually out in the field) should not be classified as charitable program expenses, rather these are clearly administrative in nature.
At this point, I began researching this issue by tracking down the financial statements and supporting information for large charities. The very first charity I came across (a multi-billion dollar charity) had advertising material that claimed that 80% of all donations went to the end cause. What I found was of that 80%, approximately 90% (i.e. 72% of total expenditures) were salary expenses. This means that 92% all expenditures related to either salaries or administration costs. My feelings on this issue are particularly strong, and I can say for certain that I work way too hard for my money to have such a small portion go to the actual cause. I am no longer impressed by an organization that claims that 90% of my donations will go to charitable works unless I know exactly what types of expenses are allocated where.
“My goal is for Nations Cry to revolutionize the standard by which charities are measured.”
Please, do not misunderstand the heart of what I am saying. There are thousands of charities with great causes and decent financial management. They are run by good people who really believe in their cause. I however, am simply a person who believes that everything can be improved. My goal is for Nations Cry to revolutionize the standard by which charities are measured. We will approach every cause with a rational, intelligent, long-term view while exercising extreme financial stewardship. As outlined in Our Financial Promise, we will not pay any salaries…period. As President, I do not, and will never take any form of compensation.
In establishing this organization, we have received all of our legal work, web design, web hosting and paper for free. We plan on continuing this trend. Although we recognize that there may be some costs that cannot be avoided, our financial structure has been designed so that these expenses are covered by specific individuals or organizations who choose to do so, resulting in 100% of your donations actually going to the end cause!
Nations Cry is an organization worthy of your time and your money. We hope that you will join us in our mission to educate and support people in such a way as to radically transform their lives so they will not only become completely self- sustaining, but they will also help transform the lives of others.