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UNDERPROMISE and OVERDELIVER

Article regarding his beliefs about Philanthropy written by Michael Wein in 1997.

I believe that organizations that solicit funds from the public should offer to ALL of their constituencies (and I believe that their constituencies include not just donors, but prospective donors, employees, volunteers, board members, and just anyone interested in their organization, as well as the ultimate recipients of its mission and work) the following information.

a. financial statements that are prepared in accordance with good management and accounting methods which means that they are presented showing comparisons to last year's actual results, this year's budgeted estimates, this year's actual results, and next year's budgeted estimates. It also means that all information is clearly descriptive and understandable to all (both current and future, lay and professional) readers, and further explained in clear and detailed footnotes, where necessary. And all information, to be truly useful, must be prepared on a basis consistent with prior year's accounting.

b. so that the organization's own management is prepared to manage responsibly, they, too, must receive the same statements, although if the organization wishes to present their board with additional useful details, that is certainly understandable and acceptable.

c. complete transparency of the organization's internal processes and attempts to carry out its stated mission should be a normal part of an open and honest communication process.

d. volunteers should be encouraged and given appropriate non-monetary recognition. They should be part of a training and advancement process. And changeover of responsibilities within the organization should be encouraged. A low percentage of overhead compared to the total expenditure on its mission is a very important characteristic of a good San Miguel volunteer-run charity.

e. the organization's efforts and attempts at long-term continuity of operations and personnel should be available for outsiders to assess. What the organization is doing to perpetuate its mission is of vital concern to all of its constituents mentioned above. 

f. management's efforts at good management techniques and internal controls should be apparent to all outsiders.

g. organizations that say that contributions are tax deductible should state under which country's laws they are deductible and then be sure that they meet the various requirements of that country.

In support of the above, we offer the following web-site links.

The Better Business Bureau standards BBBstandards
examples of financial reporting
transparency of operations of an organization
volunteers work at an organization
BBB on IRS regarding tax-deductibility on donor's USA tax returns 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Underpromise and Overdeliver”

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