It is that time of year again

It is that time of year when prospective donors decide to give before the year is out.  And many these days refer to the Internet for advice on where to give.

One of the most used Web Sites by the lay donor prospect is the Charity Navigator, which rates the charities by stars, 4 is best, and by efficiency,.

The American Cancer Society in Atlanta is only rated 2 stars with an Overall Rating of 48.59.  Its efficiency rating is 24.52.  Analyzing a charity’s  efficiency reveals how well it functions day to day .  Charities that spend less money to raise more have a higher score.

Peer analysis is revealing in the health, cancer area:

American Cancer Society                                  48.59                **

Barbara Karmanos Cancer  Institute                  28.57                  *

The leukemia & Lymphoma Society                   47.94                 **

CureSearch Nat Childhood Cancer Found.           64.36               ****

National Children S Cancer Society                     47.12                 **

We spend 22.1% of total revenue on fund raising and 7.7% on Administration expense.  That leaves only 70.2 % for programes.  It would be better if it wasn’t so.


  1. Ed,
    I’ve been thinking about this. First, the numbers on the Navigator site are from 2003, so they do not reflect the current situation. As a volunteer and RFL committee member, I know how much the ACS emphasizes keeping costs down in relation to fundraising.

    I’m wondering when the ACS started using Kintera for online fundraising? I’d think that there would be an initial spike in costs, but then, because online fundraising is proving to be pretty efficient, there may be a noticeable cost reduction.

    I suspect that the ACS is trying to address their efficiency rating and it would be interesting to find out what is being done. Nothing else, I’d think this is something that could be addressed on FISpace (and probably has).


  2. The 70 to 30 ratio has held up for many years, but collections by way of the Internet might start to have an effect.
    I will check again next year to see if there is a change.

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