Flutterby™! : Administrative costs and charity

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Administrative costs and charity

2012-05-09 21:46:27.883047+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

LA Times — Jack Shakely: The worst way to judge a charity. On why administrative costs are not a good way to judge a charity.

This is especially relevant because Alan Allen has started Community Bikes Petaluma and roped me in to sitting on the board. One of the big things I'm pushing for is going beyond "we put butts on bikes" and trying to find ways to quantify how those bikes are changing the community. Judge us not by our percentage spent on administrative costs, it'd be awesome if Alan could draw some income from this non-profit, judge us on what we've done for the community.

[ related topics: Interactive Drama Law Community Bicycling ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2012-05-13 06:34:37.964488+00 by: hananc

Evaluation of social programs is quite hard. Big donors set their own criteria and NGO's must follow those criteria even though those criteria don't really reflect their work.

The best evaluation scheme I have seen until now is Most Significant Change


#Comment Re: made: 2012-05-10 19:30:35.523613+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think the bigger reminder here is to find a way to measure the charity's impact, and donate based on its effectiveness in that sphere. Whatever its administrative costs as a percent of operating budget, if the charity does great things for little money that's good, and if it has a mission like "breast cancer awareness" (rather than, say, "research") but somehow still manages to spend none of its operating budget on administration, that's shady.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-05-10 16:18:11.525108+00 by: petronius

Admin costs might be too facile a yardstick if it is the only one, but certainly it should be taken into account. Perhaps as a possible warning bell to get youto dealve deeper. They should be able to explain why the situation is as it is. Newer charities often spent more on fundraising until they get their clientele established, for example.