Fuller Center for Housing President David Snell reported today that the most updated financial audit shows that 86 percent of Fuller Center spending for fiscal year 2016 went directly to program expenses — specifically building new homes and repairing existing homes in partnership with families in need across the United States and in 20 countries around the world.
While The Fuller Center’s roster of U.S. and international building partners has been growing rapidly in recent years — as has its base of donors and supporters — administrative and fundraising expenses have nevertheless remained low. That, Snell said, is intentional as the mission always has been to serve as many families as possible with a little administrative cost as possible.
“Our overhead numbers are set, which means that every extra dollar that comes in can go directly to program.” — Fuller Center President David Snell
The Fuller Center is on track for its most productive building year in 2016, yet the affordable housing ministry’s headquarters remains efficiently housed in Americus, Georgia, in the same modest building — The Wieland House — that was donated to Millard and Linda Fuller when they co-founded The Fuller Center in 2005. The commitment to good stewardship remains just as strong today.
“One of the harsh realities of the nonprofit world is that delivering good programs requires a certain amount of administrative and fundraising expense,” Snell said. “Folks love to give to program, but to overhead? Not so much.”
He added that every donor should demand transparency from the nonprofits they support and judge for themselves whether the nonprofit’s heart is in the right place. He said that transparency rating services like GuideStar (which has awarded The Fuller Center its highest-level Platinum rating) and charity evaluators like the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance (which recognizes The Fuller Center’s success in meeting all 20 of its standards) are helpful, but nonprofits should reach out to donors themselves instead of simply relying on people to do their own investigative work.
“Donors rightfully watch the ratios between program and non-program expenses closely, and being able to devote 86 percent of our dollars to getting houses built is most respectable,” said Snell, adding that, of course, he wants to see that percentage continue to rise. “The fact is that The Fuller Center is positioned to improve on that ratio as our income increases. Our overhead numbers are set, which means that every extra dollar that comes in can go directly to program. We are sincerely grateful to our many partners whose gifts allow our programs to grow and still provide us with the funds to keep the lights on.”
The Fuller Center’s latest expense and revenue numbers for fiscal year 2016 can be found on page 8 of the affordable housing ministry’s complete case statement, which can be downloaded or viewed online at the link below.