Help move the sector from an Overhead Myth to an Overhead Solution

In 2013, I joined with colleagues at BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator to write an open letter to the donors of America explaining that “overhead ratios” are a poor way to understand nonprofit performance.

Overhead Myth letter to the nonprofits of America
Overhead Myth letter to the nonprofits of America

As you know, these ratios—the percent of charity expenses that go to administrative and fundraising costs—tell us nothing about an organization’s performance against its mission.

We believed that the nonprofit sector was hungry to dispel this “Overhead Myth.” The field’s extraordinary reaction to the first letter has thunderously affirmed that belief.

Today, we build on that momentum by offering a second letter, this one addressed to the nonprofits of America. In this second letter we suggest a set of steps nonprofits can take to help us all move beyond the Overhead Myth.  In simple terms, we must—collectively—offer donors an alternative.

We believe it will take a shared effort to focus donors’ attention on what really matters: nonprofits’ efforts to make the world a better place. Please join us as we seek to move from the Overhead Myth to the Overhead Solution.

-Jacob Harold, President and CEO, GuideStar

The preceding can also be found on the GuideStar Blog:

2 thoughts on “Help move the sector from an Overhead Myth to an Overhead Solution

  1. 3 cheers for this national effort! I wanted to share a very forward-thinking local effort in Chicago, spear-headed by the Donors Forum, the IL state nonprofit association and grant-maker association. It’s called “Real Talk about Real Costs” and their latest effort published a Commitment Statement to Full Cost Funding. Read more about it here: They plan to move the initiative from conversations and statements to action over the next two years and it is truly one to note and watch.

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