by: Ben Broghammer, Founder & President
Nonprofit spending and expense ratios is not only a large topic of discussion inside the board room but also a thought sometimes in the back of the minds of donors and those who are affected by the work of the organization. It’s no secret that there is waste in the non profit sector, and even more so, when compared to the for-profit realm, spending is more scrutinized when looking at that of charities and nonprofits.
According to an article by GuideStar, the world's largest source of information on nonprofit organizations, about 62 percent of Americans think that nonprofits spend more than is reasonable on overhead.
There is a fine line between being sparse and being fiscally responsible. If an organization is too lean, it runs the risk of being less effective or leaving opportunities on the table. By being fiscally responsible, a culture is more or less created and adhered to that drives the mission forward while also being aware of the value of a dollar and a wider and heavier appreciation for its donors and their generosity.
There is also a big misconception on the costs associated with not just starting a nonprofit but also running and maintaining its operations and fulfilling work. There are initial costs of legal filings, incorporating, filing for tax-exempt status with the IRS, banking, and miscellaneous costs that add up along the way. Simply launching a website and making social media accounts is just at the surface. When I started Project Periwinkle in 2015, I was still in college, had spent nearly 10 months laying the ground work, and I had one thing on my mind: starting a foundation that would help to fund cancer research. That was it. Not an office, not a job, surely not a career, and of course not a salary.
That is why we are 100% volunteer, and how we are able to drastically minimize our costs. I have a day job and therefore no need for an office as any foundation business is done at the kitchen table, both a metaphor and also all so real of a phrase. I don’t take a salary, and when traveling for business, I elect for a day trip when possible and mid day meetings to eliminate the need for an overnight stay and added expenses. While there is a flip side to not being full time, such as a decrease in fundraising that can be done or the weekly hours our team puts in, in my opinion, it’s a set up that makes sense for us and our balance sheet, and in the end our mission.
Nonprofits don’t mean the organization doesn’t make profit, but rather those invested in the organization do not profit. I am proud to lead an organization that has always remained in the black, who’s bottom line is stronger than the year prior, and who’s revenues have doubled year after year—a trend we are on track to surpass once again in 2019.
All these attributes—our story, how we carry ourselves and conduct our business—create a culture we are proud of. It all sets us apart from other national charities. And even more so, international charities—a milestone we officially reached in March with the addition of two international brand ambassadors to our team.
When people decide to give, and they look to charities for a place to make a difference, it is my hope they know their generosity will be maximized with us, their dollar will go further, their gift won’t be paying high overhead costs or inflated salaries or go to waste. It will make a true difference. I feel it everyday and I’ve seen it countless times.
Here at Project Periwinkle, because of our choices and why we started in the first place, we are making a difference, and we are making our world a better, brighter, cancer free place.
Tax-deductible donations can be made by visiting our donation page. Thank you for your generous support!!