At Mite we believe that awareness is extremely important to creating trust between a giver and the charity they support. The financials of a charitable organization can often be complex and hard to understand for people not involved in the day-to-day operation of the charity. We do our best to remove any complexity and just show the numbers.
We encourage you to remember that as you view the reports, charts and financial information present in our financial resources section, all of it represents people. Fantastic givers who gave their Mites and beautiful recipients who in a time of need received help from the Mite giving community. It is a marvelous thing!
Some basic things to understand about accounting for charities. Operationally nonprofit financials are broken down into three areas.
- Programs are the charitable outreach of an organization. These activities include conducting projects, campaigns and/or outreach that assists the needy and accomplishes the stated mission of the organization. For Mite the Programs include our global humanitarian outreach coordinated through our missions partners and our services to our fantastic donor community.
- Administration is the category of operations that most often gets nonprofits in trouble with donors. This is the overhead used by charitable organizations to accomplish their programs. This would include expenses such as administrative wages, office expenses and other costs associated with maintain the operations of the charity.
- Development costs are connected with marketing and fundraising for a charitable organization. This category of expenses is important because if no donors know you exist, you will not be able to accomplish your mission as an organization.
When a nonprofit entity files their taxes, the tax authority will often request a breakdown of these three areas of expenses. They will be reported as a percentage of the total expense for the organization. Most donors prefer that the charity they support hold Programs to at least 80% of their total operational expenses.
Most charities will produce several forms of reporting on an annual basis. Below is a list of a few of these reports and an explanation of what may be included in them:
- Tax Filing - Just as with any commercial entity or individual, a nonprofit is required to file taxes with their state and federal tax authorities on an annual basis. There are several different forms that may be filed by a nonprofit. The most common form is called a 990 or Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.
- End of Year Report - The End of Year or EoY Report is commonly produced by charitable organizations to report activities to their donors and partners. The EoY may consist of financial information as well as specific reports on the programs conducted within a given time frame. These reports are often produced in the form of pamphlets or catalogs and mail to the donors.
- Impact Reports - Developed on an individual basis, the Impact Report is designed to provide donors with a more detailed view of the results of a particular outreach. These types of reports are most often created for larger donor groups and individuals who gave large donations to a nonprofit.