Demand transparency from nonprofits; GuideStar rates Fuller Center ‘platinum’ for transparency

Demand transparency from nonprofits; GuideStar rates Fuller Center ‘platinum’ for transparency

(This is part of a regular series of blog posts related to The Fuller Center’s #MoreSmilesFewerShacks 2016 year-end campaign.)

There are more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States. This includes tiny charities in small towns and huge nonprofit organizations that reach across the nation and around the world. The majority of these nonprofits — big and small — provide valuable services to people in need. However, given the vast number of nonprofits in the U.S., it’s impossible to know whether each and every one is true to their cause without doing some research.

Unfortunately, every year we hear stories of so-called charities that do very little to benefit anyone outside their paid staff. A very few are downright scam artists, using names similar to quality nonprofits that help veterans, feed the hungry or house the needy to line their own pockets. There also are very well-known charities found to not have been fully transparent about where their money actually goes. Others use vague terms such as “families served” to measure their work. Does a “family served” equate to mouths fed, bodies clothed or families housed? Not always.

new charity rating logosThe Fuller Center for Housing is proud to be one of the small percentage of nonprofits to have been rated Platinum for transparency by GuideStar.

Quite frankly, this rating does not require a nonprofit to do anything extraordinary; it merely requires nonprofits to be 100 percent open and transparent about their work and clear about how donations and gifts are used. The Fuller Center also meets all 20 standards set forth by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

“When folks find out what we’re doing, they tend to like it.” — David Snell, Fuller Center President

The Fuller Center encourages every generous person to demand transparency from the charities they support — whether that charity involves helping people have decent places to live as we do or a completely different mission. Whatever the cause, you deserve to know that your gifts are being put to proper use and not to build ornate headquarters buildings or to fund unnecessary overhead and high salaries.

The latest independent audit of The Fuller Center for Housing shows that 86 percent of revenue went directly to fund programs in the field over the past fiscal year — far above the nonprofit industry average. Because The Fuller Center remains committed to minimal overhead, an increase in donations this fiscal year means that excellent 86 percent figure would only improve.

Please get to know the nonprofits you support. If it’s in your backyard, pay them a visit or, better yet, spend a day volunteering with them to get a real feel for their work. Check their websites for their IRS 990 filings, audits and other reports. Visit their headquarters and see if it is simple or if a great deal of money was spent on unnecessary things. We’d love to have you come visit our international headquarters. The building — a former Chinese restaurant that was donated to our ministry — may not be striking, but seeing how efficient a small staff can be at running an international nonprofit spanning more than 70 U.S. communities and 20 countries surely will impress you.

So, get to know us at The Fuller Center a little better. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have and would be happy to have you visit our cozy headquarters in Americus, Ga. Browse our website and learn about our history and principles. If you would like to see most of the pertinent information about our ministry in one document, please click here to download our simple, 8-page case statement.

As our president, David Snell, has often said, “When folks find out what we’re doing, they tend to like it.” Indeed. Find out what we’re up to. I think you’ll like it, too.

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Chris Johnson
This post was written by
Chris Johnson is the Director of Communications for The Fuller Center for Housing, a multi-award-winning columnist for the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer and author of 4 books.

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