How Much Does It Cost To Do Good?


Nonprofits and charity experts are seeing a new trend emerging of grant makers providing general operating grants to charities to invest in the health of the organization. General operating support has nudged up only slightly in the past decade, according to a Foundation Center analysis of data from 2013, the latest year available. Yet advocates are cautiously optimistic that these new efforts will accelerate and encourage others to tackle the question: Just how much does it cost to do good?

Individual donors and the general public continue to see overhead costs as the best measure of whether a nonprofit is doing its job. Charity Navigator is trying to educate the public by changing its rating system. One significant change is giving more leeway for non-program costs. Charities were previously unable to earn a perfect score if they reported any administrative or fundraising costs. Now they can still earn the maximum 10 points if they spend 85 percent of their budgets on programs. Nonprofits hope this new trend will help with a profound shift in the conversation about overhead. LEARN MORE