Donors Corner:

Finding “The Bottom Line” in Nonprofit Financials

By Sean Malone, president of Ten Chimneys Foundation, Milwaukee

It’s the holiday season.  And at the same time that we’re all dealing with the hustle and bustle of December, many of us are also making decisions about our charitable giving for the year.  As you might guess, an enormous percentage of all contributions to nonprofit organizations happen this month. 

One of my favorite recent developments in the nonprofit world is the dramatic increase in donor-interest in how 501(c)3 charities spend the money they raise.  Websites like Charity Navigator and Guide Star have brought nonprofit “financials” to the forefront.  And this is a good thing – a great thing.  In addition to increasing donor awareness of how nonprofits utilize donor-investments to improve our community and society, the new accessibility to nonprofit financials has also led to a desire among many donors to better understand them.  When I’m talking with donors, business graduate students, or industry leaders around the country, the questions I hear most frequently have to do with finding and understanding the “bottom line” for nonprofits…

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