Charity Review

Issued: October 2012 Expires: October 2014

AdoptaPlatoon

Standards
Not Met
956-748-4145 Post Office Box 234
Loranzo, TX 78568
www.adoptaplatoon.org

Tax Status


This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.

Programs


AAP provides quality of life care packages to U.S. deployed troops and assists military families. The organization reports that on a daily basis, it ships care packages from its warehouse to deployed military companies, battalions, Chaplains and individual platoons. AAP also provides public information and designs campaigns with the aim of achieving support for deployed military and wounded veterans. Furthermore, the organization provides emergency financial assistance to injured U.S. troops in transition and to medically retired Veterans in need.

For the year ended December 31, 2011, AAP's program expenses were:

  
Program services 7,620,103
Total Program Expenses: $7,620,103

Purpose

Year, State Incorporated: 1999, Texas

Affiliates: None

Stated Purpose: "to provide a better deployment quality of life by sending cards, letters and care packages to lift the morale of Troops as they serve far from home and assist military families."

Governance & Staff


Chief Executive : Ida Hagg, Executive Director of AdoptaPlatoon
Compensation*: 
$55,600

Chair of the Board: Ida Hagg
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Executive Director of AdoptaPlatoon

Board Size: 5

Paid Staff Size: 22

*2011 compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.

Fund Raising


Method(s) Used:

Direct mail and Internet appeals.
Fund raising costs were 4% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $8,348,225, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)

Financial


The following information is based on AAP's audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2011.

Source of Funds  
Program support - contributions 8,348,225
Interest and miscellaneous 2,117
Total Income $8,350,342


chart



Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses

Programs: 95%  Fund Raising: 4%  Administrative: 1% 

Total income $8,350,342
Program expenses $7,620,103
Fund raising expenses 336,137
Administrative expenses 100,054
Total expenses $8,056,294
Income in Excess of Expenses 294,048
Beginning net assets 2,083,257
Ending net assets 2,377,305
Total liabilities 223,748
Total assets $2,601,053


Conclusions


AdoptaPlatoon (AAP) does not meet the following 7 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Standard 1: Oversight of Operations and Staff - 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.

AAP does not meet this Standard because:

  • The CEO of the organization also serves as the chair of the board.
  • Its board of directors does not review the performance of the chief executive officer at least once every two years.

Standard 3: Frequency and Attendance of Board Meetings - 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.

AAP does not meet this Standard because:

  • The board of directors held one meeting of the full governing board in 2011.

Standard 4: Compensated Board Members - 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.

AAP does not meet this Standard because:

  • AAP does not meet this Standard because 3 members out of the 5 member board of directors (60%) are compensated either directly or indirectly. The chief executive officer (CEO) who also serves as the chair of the board is compensated directly and the treasurer of the board is compensated indirectly as the spouse of the CEO.

Standard 7: Board Approval of Written Report on Effectiveness - 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.

AAP does not meet this Standard because:

  • Although it has produced a written effectiveness assessment report, the report did not include recommendations for future actions.

Standard 14: Budget - Have a board-approved annual budget for its current fiscal year, outlining projected expenses for major program activities, fund raising, and administration.

AAP does not meet this Standard because, when the organization provided budget information, it indicated that a budget:

  • Was not produced for 2012.

Standard 16: Annual Report - 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.

AAP does not meet this standard because:

  • The organization states it does not have an annual report covering activities conducted in 2011.

Standard 18: Privacy for Written Appeals & Internet Privacy - Address privacy concerns of donors by (a) providing in written appeals, at least annually, a means (e.g., such as a check off box) for both new and continuing donors to inform the charity if they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization, (b) providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on any of its websites that tells visitors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them by the charity and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact the charity to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform the charity (e.g., a check off box) that the visitor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures the charity has in place to protect personal information.

AAP does not meet this Standard because the privacy policy on this website, www.adoptaplatoon.org does not indicate:

  • What personal information is being collected and how it will be used.  In addition, the privacy policy does not included what security measures are in place to protect personal information that is collected.
In addition, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance requested but did not receive complete information on the organization’s finances and is unable to verify the organization's compliance with the following Standard for Charity Accountability: 13.

In response to the Alliance's findings, the charity has stated that:

"The financial statements referred to were fairly presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S., and the Informative Return, Form 990, was prepared in accordance with applicable sections of the IRS code. Concerning the other Standards not met, AdoptaPlatoon has compiled with the applicable laws and regulations governing nonprofit organizations, and we find assertions that we have not complied without merit."
AAP meets the remaining 12 Standards for Charity Accountability.

An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.

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Standard 1: Oversight of Operations and Staff

Description:

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.

AAP does not meet this Standard because:

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Standard 2: Number of Board Members

Description:

Soliciting organizations shall have a board of directors with a minimum of five voting members.

The organization meets this standard.

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Standard 3: Frequency and Attendance of Board Meetings

Description:

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.

AAP does not meet this Standard because:

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Standard 4: Compensated Board Members

Description:

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.

AAP does not meet this Standard because:

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Standard 5: Conflict of Interest

Description:

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.

The organization meets this standard.

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Standard 6: Board Policy on Effectiveness

Description:

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.

The organization meets this standard.

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Standard 7: Board Approval of Written Report on Effectiveness

Description:

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.

AAP does not meet this Standard because:

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Standard 8: Program Service Expense Ratio

Description:

Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.

The organization meets this standard.

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Standard 9: Fund Raising Expense Ratio

Description:

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.

The organization meets this standard.

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Standard 10: Ending Net Assets

Description:

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.

The organization meets this standard.

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Standard 11: Financial Statements

Description:

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.

The organization meets this standard.

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Standard 12: Detailed Functional Breakdown of Expenses

Description:

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.

The organization meets this standard.

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Standard 13: Accuracy of Expenses in Financial Statements

Description:

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.

The BBB is unable to verify if this organization meets this standard.

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Standard 14: Budget

Description:

Have a board-approved annual budget for its current fiscal year, outlining projected expenses for major program activities, fund raising, and administration.

AAP does not meet this Standard because, when the organization provided budget information, it indicated that a budget:

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Standard 15: Misleading Appeals

Description:

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.

The organization meets this standard.

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Standard 16: Annual Report

Description:

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.

AAP does not meet this standard because:

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Standard 17: Web Site Disclosures

Description:

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.

The organization meets this standard.

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Standard 18: Privacy for Written Appeals & Internet Privacy

Description:

Address privacy concerns of donors by (a) providing in written appeals, at least annually, a means (e.g., such as a check off box) for both new and continuing donors to inform the charity if they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization, (b) providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on any of its websites that tells visitors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them by the charity and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact the charity to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform the charity (e.g., a check off box) that the visitor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures the charity has in place to protect personal information.

AAP does not meet this Standard because the privacy policy on this website, www.adoptaplatoon.org does not indicate:

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Standard 19: Cause Related Marketing

Description:

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).

The organization meets this standard.

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Standard 20: Complaints

Description:

Respond promptly to and act on complaints brought to its attention by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and/or local Better Business Bureaus about fund raising practices, privacy policy violations and/or other issues.

The organization meets this standard.

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