Standard 13: Accuracy of Expenses in Financial Statements - Accurately report the charity's expenses, including any joint cost allocations, in its financial statements. For example, audited or unaudited statements which inaccurately claim zero fund raising expenses or otherwise understate the amount a charity spends on fund raising, and/or overstate the amount it spends on programs will not meet this standard.
NKS does not meet this Standard because, in the Alliance's opinion, the audited financial statements for the year ending December 31, 2011 do not provide an accurate presentation of NKS's expenses.
NKS solicits the public for the donation of clothing and other household items, then sells the donated in-kind items to raise funds that are in turn granted to other kidney-related charities. In 2011, NKS reported revenue from the sale of donated items net of a portion of the cost of merchandise sold ($1,022,150). In this case this portion represented the salary for individuals soliciting for in-kind donations ($751,724) and payroll taxes ($64,868). Although the organization reported zero fund raising expenses, in the Alliance's opinion, the costs that were netted out of the amount received for the sale of in-kind items, should be allocated as fund raising costs.
In response, NKS stated that:
"NKS solicits and receives only non-cash donations, and only through its own employees. The Alliance charity standards evaluate a number of non-economic factors, all of which NKS satisfies. Based on the accounting method that is used by NKS’s accountants, which is in conformity with the IRS standards, NKS did not report any fundraising expenses in fiscal year 2011. NKS’s total funds donated to the National Kidney Foundation, Inc. in 2011 were $211,706. In the opinion of NKS, all income is derived from the sale of merchandise, and therefore, all costs should be considered cost of sales, not fundraising expenses. NKS believes the cited issue with the Alliance Standard 13 is a result of NKS' non-cash donation structure, and not a reflection on the effectiveness of the organization."
According to the audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2011 (if one includes $816,593 in cost of merchandise sold as part of total expenses), then total revenue is $1,025,408 and total expenses are $1,043,746. Total assets were $37,092. Total liabilities were $65,193. End of the year net assets were $-28,101. Regarding the functional breakdown of expenses, see the Evaluation Conclusion section for an explanation of why it is not included in this summary.
Year, State Incorporated: 2008, Georgia
Stated Purpose: "to conduct a charitable solicitation campaign to generate public support for nationally recognized organizations that are qualified IRS Section 501(c)(3) and whose exempt purpose includes conducting research into the causes and cures of kidney diseases."
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Organizations shall have a board of directors that provides adequate oversight of the charity's operations and its staff. Indication of adequate oversight includes, but is not limited to, regularly scheduled appraisals of the CEO's performance, evidence of disbursement controls such as board approval of the budget, fund raising practices, establishment of a conflict of interest policy, and establishment of accounting procedures sufficient to safeguard charity finances.
The organization meets this standard.
Soliciting organizations shall have a board of directors with a minimum of five voting members.
An organization shall have a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings per year of the full governing body with a majority in attendance, with face-to-face participation. A conference call of the full board can substitute for one of the three meetings of the governing body. For all meetings, alternative modes of participation are acceptable for those with physical disabilities.
Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.
No transaction(s) in which any board or staff members have material conflicting interests with the charity resulting from any relationship or business affiliation. Factors that will be considered when concluding whether or not a related party transaction constitutes a conflict of interest and if such a conflict is material, include, but are not limited to: any arm's length procedures established by the charity; the size of the transaction relative to like expenses of the charity; whether the interested party participated in the board vote on the transaction; if competitive bids were sought and whether the transaction is one-time, recurring or ongoing.
Have a board policy of assessing, no less than every two years, the organization's performance and effectiveness and of determining future actions required to achieve its mission.
Submit to the organization's governing body, for its approval, a written report that outlines the results of the aforementioned performance and effectiveness assessment and recommendations for future actions.
Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.
Spending should be no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies, and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.
Avoid accumulating funds that could be used for current program activities. To meet this standard, the charity's unrestricted net assets available for use should not be more than three times the size of the past year's expenses or three times the size of the current year's budget, whichever is higher.
Make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. When total annual gross income exceeds $500,000, these statements should be audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $500,000, a review by a certified public accountant is sufficient to meet this standard. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $250,000, an internally produced, complete financial statement is sufficient to meet this standard.
Include in the financial statements a breakdown of expenses (e.g., salaries, travel, postage, etc.) that shows what portion of these expenses was allocated to program, fund raising, and administrative activities. If the charity has more than one major program category, the schedule should provide a breakdown for each category.
Accurately report the charity's expenses, including any joint cost allocations, in its financial statements. For example, audited or unaudited statements which inaccurately claim zero fund raising expenses or otherwise understate the amount a charity spends on fund raising, and/or overstate the amount it spends on programs will not meet this standard.
Have a board-approved annual budget for its current fiscal year, outlining projected expenses for major program activities, fund raising, and administration.
Have solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means, that are accurate, truthful and not misleading, both in whole and in part. Appeals that omit a clear description of program(s) for which contributions are sought will not meet this standard. A charity should also be able to substantiate that the timing and nature of its expenditures are in accordance with what is stated, expressed, or implied in the charity's solicitations.
Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.
Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.
Clearly disclose how the charity benefits from the sale of products or services (i.e., cause-related marketing) that state or imply that a charity will benefit from a consumer sale or transaction. Such promotions should disclose, at the point of solicitation: (a) the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity (e.g., 5 cents will be contributed to abc charity for every xyz company product sold), (b) the duration of the campaign (e.g., the month of October), (c) any maximum or guaranteed minimum contribution amount (e.g., up to a maximum of $200,000).