Giving you can trust: 90 percent of your gift goes directly to housing families

Giving you can trust: 90 percent of your gift goes directly to housing families

(Photo: “Gracias!” New Fuller Center homeowner partners at our 90-home community in Ahuachapán, El Salvador, are grateful for your hand-up to a better life.)

Nearly everyone who contributes their hard-earned money to charity wants to know that their gifts make a difference for the cause about which they care deeply — and not for lavish offices, high salaries and unnecessary frills.

The latest independent financial audit of The Fuller Center for Housing for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017, shows that 90 percent of revenues go directly to program work in the field — namely the building and repairing of homes across the United States and in 20 countries around the world. Less than 10 percent of gifts fund overhead expenses.

“We here at The Fuller Center are happy that 90 percent of our funds last year went to program and only 10 percent went to administrative expense,” Fuller Center President David Snell said. “There are a number of reasons for that — we were blessed with some exceptionally generous donors on one hand and we maintain a lean operation here in Americus, Georgia, on the other. We pay modest salaries, work out of a simple headquarters building that we own, and we watch every penny.”

The benchmark standard is for nonprofits to spend less than 33.3 percent of donations on overhead and administration expenses and to use at least 66.6 percent for program activities that directly impact the cause or issue they address. Of course, those percentages must be evaluated with many factors in mind — including the type of work done, the size of the nonprofit and the amount of gifts the nonprofit receives, but a charity that spends less than 66.6 percent on programs should rightfully be subject to questions from supporters and potential donors.

The Fuller Center for Housing is a lean, grass-roots, Christian affordable housing ministry that has received the highest-level Platinum rating for transparency from charity watchdog GuideStar and meets all 20 standards as a member of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

President Snell said that, ultimately, effectiveness is not measured so much in ratios and dollars as it is in families who receive a helping hand-up into simple, decent homes. Two years ago, The Fuller Center saw record numbers of families housed. That record was short-lived as The Fuller Center exceeded those numbers in the past fiscal year. To date, more than 4,140 families have partnered with The Fuller Center to build new homes or repair existing ones — and The Fuller Center is poised for yet another record building year ahead.

“It’s important to point out that while a healthy program ratio is a good thing, the real measure of our work is in the quality of the product that we deliver — new and restored houses for families in need,” Snell said. “Maintaining that quality requires adequate support from headquarters. We’re fortunate to have a good group of highly motivated folks here who work overtime to make sure that the mission moves forward.”

He added that even though administrative costs are kept to a minimum, there always will be some overhead required to maintain and grow the affordable housing ministry.

“While I’m proud of our positive ratios, I’m not at all embarrassed that we have administrative expense and I’m truly grateful to those donors who give to help cover it,” Snell said. “The way I see it, as long as we’re doing our part to keep expenses in line then everything we do is program.  Our success in the field comes in large measure from the tools and services that we provide.

“Special thanks are due to all of the donors and volunteers who gave so generously of their resources and time to reach out to the poor among us and dramatically improve their lives.”

VIDEO: President David Snell — “Every house is a sermon of God’s love”:

Click here to build a better world
with The Fuller Center for Housing

 

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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our year-end campaign

 

Fuller Center for Housing garners platinum rating from GuideStar for transparency

Fuller Center for Housing garners platinum rating from GuideStar for transparency

The Fuller Center for Housing, which had been among the small percentage of U.S. nonprofits to achieve Gold-level certification for transparency from GuideStar, is now rated Platinum — the charity evaluator’s highest certification.

The Fuller Center also meets all 20 standards required to be included in the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, which evaluates charities based upon governance, results reporting, finances, fundraising, appeal accuracy and other issues. GuideStar is focused exclusively on encouraging as much transparency as possible from nonprofits so that donors can make wise giving choices.

“The Fuller Center is able to do what we do because people of goodwill entrust us with the money to do it,” Fuller Center President David Snell said today. “We are basically the vehicle they choose to do good works. The key to our relationship is trust and the key to trust is transparency. Being awarded Guidestar’s Platinum rating shows our commitment to being open and honest about the work we do, the way we spend entrusted funds and the families we house.”

Be sure your flood relief dollars go to validated nonprofits like The Fuller Center

Be sure your flood relief dollars go to validated nonprofits like The Fuller Center

Every time there is a natural disaster — here in the United States or elsewhere — generous Americans rise to the occasion to help through volunteering and/or donating toward nonprofits who are dedicated to helping families recover.

Unfortunately, every time, there are a handful of scam artists and other unscrupulous people who pounce on the opportunity to take advantage of that good will to enrich themselves.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has issued a statement warning people to get to know charities and nonprofits before giving to them, especially if they call you to solicit your donations by phone.

“There are several helpful resources that will help you verify the existence of a charity and make sure your contribution will reach Louisiana’s flood victims in a meaningful way.” — Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp

“When a catastrophe of this nature occurs, con artists seize the opportunity to prey on donors by holding themselves out as legitimate charitable organizations,” Secretary Kemp stated in the release. “Do not be fooled by these scams. There are several helpful resources that will help you verify the existence of a charity and make sure your contribution will reach Louisiana’s flood victims in a meaningful way.”

Among them are GuideStar, which evaluates nonprofits’ transparency and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, which evaluates numerous standards.of accountability. The Fuller Center has received the Gold Level for transparency from GuideStar (click here to see the GuideStar report) and meets all 20 standards from the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance (click here for the BBB report on The Fuller Center).

We encourage you to examine nonprofits closely before you give — and we invite you to take a closer look at The Fuller Center for Housing, which has two covenant partners in flooded areas of Louisiana already busy helping residents pick up the pieces from this month’s disaster.

Fuller Center 8-page case statement & annual report

Click to support The Fuller Center’s flood recovery efforts