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Emerging to go humph

December 14, 2010

I should not have to go to Guidestar to find financial records for an organisation. This is a pretty great program being run, and I like them but –

First to the website, nothing financial. Click around, decide the annual report should have it. Download a giant PDF, discover there is nothing – some vague allusions to how much things cost in their suggested donations page. There’s no calendar of activities either, or any specific evaluations in this report.

So I wind up googling them, thinking I must’ve missed a link. I went over to Guidestar and there are no financial statements, just their Form 990s.

And in those, I find that they’ve spent 20% on fundraising alone, and have a huge chunk of cash in reserves, and that the amount being spent on what I thought was a key part of their program is tiny.

So my respect for them has fallen several notches. They could’ve impressed me with easy to find and read financial reports. Instead, I end up feeling frustrated and suspicious, and a lot less likely to ever donate to them.

This is partly because I spend a good chunk of time worrying about financial documents at work. But looking at google analytics for our website, about 0.3% of site visits are to our financial reports page, and the number of people who download or request financial statements is far, far smaller.

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