Mission Statement

What it is

Mission statements are provided by organizations themselves. Each states, in the organization’s own words, what it hopes to achieve.

What to look for

The organization’s mission should be consistent with your own giving objectives. Moreover, the organization’s actual activities and achievements should advance its stated mission. If not, that may indicate that the organization is on the wrong strategic course, and not paying adequate attention to its basic direction and use of resources.

Why we include it

We think the mission statement is one of the first places to look in choosing beneficiaries for contributions. It reflects the organization’s highest aspirations for its activities. These should be consistent with your own giving objectives.

Caveat

The mission merely reflects an organization’s goals. Its actual performance may fall short of these objectives.

Activities

What to look for

The organization’s activities and achievements should be consistent with your own giving objectives. Special attention should be paid to the amount of resources devoted to, and achievements in, those areas you value most highly. Also, activities should be evaluated against the organization’s stated mission. If activities do not match the mission, that may indicate that the organization is on the wrong strategic course, and not paying adequate attention to its underlying goals.

Caveat
The organization’s programmatic activities are among the most important indications of its success in advancing its goals. However, programmatic success is often hard to measure. Quantitative measures must be taken as no more than one indicator of performance. An organization can serve a large number individuals, and yet provide little benefit to each. In that regard, we suggest donors also review the Program Evaluation section of this report. Moreover, other aspects of operation, such as efficiency, are important as well. Therefore the description of organization’s activities must be viewed in the overall context of all indicators.

Background: Summary of IRS Regulations Regarding Grants by US Charities to Foreign Organizations

Under US law, nonprofit organizations which can accept tax deductible contributions may make grants to charities which themselves are not permitted to accept contributions that are tax deductible in the US. A common example are donations to US charities that grant funds to Israeli charities. Many of the American charities are called American Friends of XYZ Israeli charity.

Here is a brief summary of the relevant regulations the IRS imposes to assure contributions to the US organization are deductible.

a. The American and Israeli charities must be independent organizations. The American charity “cannot serve as agent for or conduit for” the Israeli charity. In particular the American charity may not accept tax deductible contributions from US donors and then simply turn the proceeds over to the management of the Israeli charity.

b. Under IRS regulations, if an Israeli charity desires a grant from a US charity, it must submit a grant request that specifies the use to which the funds will be put. The US charity board has complete discretion to award the grant or not and must review each request to assure that it meets US charity’s purposes and objectives.

c. If the US charity approves a grant to the Israeli charity, it “must ensure the use of funds for permitted purposes by limiting distributions to specific projects that further [the American charity’s] purposes. [The American charity] also needs to retain control and discretion as to the use of the funds.” The American charity may not earmark donations for the Israeli charity in the sense that it guarantees to any donor that funds will be transferred to the Israeli charity.

d. The Israeli charity must furnish the American charity’s board “a periodic accounting to show that the funds were expended for the purposes which were approved by the [American charity’s] board of directors.”

f. The American charity may withdraw the grant at any time.

IRS regulations do not require that the details of grants as described above be disclosed to the public. However, Tzedakah, Inc.’s transparency standards require publication of (a) the particular activities financed by granted funds, (b) amounts granted to finance each activity, (c) review of the impacts of grant-financed activities and (d) relevant accounting of the uses of granted funds.

When grant-making is a major activity of the American charity, it is likely to be required to report to the IRS accomplishments achieved through activities sponsored by its grants using “specific measurements such as clients served, days of care provided, number of sessions or events held, or publications issued.” If the output of activity supported by grants is intangible such as research, the American charity is likely to be required to “describe the activity’s objective, for both [the current] period and the longer-term goal.” The information described in this paragraph would be included in the annual information form filed with the IRS which is available for public inspection.

Relevant IRS documents.
IRS Revenue Ruling 63-252
IRS Revenue Ruling 66-79
IRS Memorandum on Grants to Foreign Organizations

Program Evaluation

What to look for

Charities should regularly review the successes and failures of their activities and they should report to perspective donors the methods and results of those reviews. While the effectiveness and efficiency of any charity’s programs can often be very difficult to measure, charities should nevertheless seek out the best — if still imperfect — ways to learn about the impacts of their activities on targeted beneficiaries and society at large.  Donors should review and assess various charities methods for measuring and responding to both successful and unsuccessful programs. Tzedakah, Inc. believes that continuous and thoughtful consideration to determine what “success” means and how it can be assessed can help to better focus nonprofits’ activities.

Useful techniques can include (a) performance measures like the number of students in job training programs who get and hold good jobs after training and how many don’t, and (b) techniques to determine who are most (and least) likely to benefit from the charity’s services, for example, which among those requesting scarce food, clothing, and housing are the most needy and what methods are used to select them for benefits? Charities involved in outreach should learn (and report) the effects of their programs on those who use them. For example, what proportion of those who encounter the program increases religious observance or increases their support of Israel? Some charities might retain independent outside experts to analyze programs’ successes and failures. Also, surveys of stakeholders can help shed light on the impacts of charitable activities.  Decision makers can have active programs to remain familiar with current research on the best practices for achieving their goals.  That might include, for example, attendance at training programs or college courses. Staff views should be routinely and actively solicited regarding program failures, challenges, and weaknesses as well as successes.

Attempts to measure successes and failures can be costly, but not measuring them can lead to a complete waste of resources.

Caveat
Measures of impact are often difficult to understand and to compare between different charities.  Moreover, many charities will have a natural inclination to select those measure of impact that show them in the best light. Nevertheless, Tzedakah. Inc. believes every charity can and should be able to describe how it tries to identify and use successful activities while it seeks to avoid unsuccessful approaches.

Endorsements, Supporters, and Awards

What it is

This section provides a list of special recognition the organization has received in the form of written endorsements, major financial grants, and awards.

Why we include it

External recognition can be a valuable source of information about the quality of a nonprofit organization. External recognition may reflect in-depth knowledge about the organization on the part of the group or individual granting the special recognition.

What to look for

The more items listed in this section the better. More reliance should be placed on recognition from people and organizations you know and respect than those you do not. More recent approbations should be given more weight than those that are several years old. Look for evidence of a first-hand knowledge of the work, accomplishments, and leadership of the organization in question. In the case of a letter of endorsement, check to see how strongly the writer encourages donations to the particular organization and how well the writer appears to know its operations. The more information that is provided about any particular recognition, the better able you will be to assess its quality. We do not recommend that heavy reliance be placed on a mere assertion that the organization has received this or that endorsement. Be sure to click on relevant links to get more detail about the exact nature of the recognition received.

Caveat

The extent of familiarity with an organization that is implied by a particular form of recognition can vary a great deal. Endorsements by distinguished individuals, for example, may or may not indicate that the individual is thoroughly familiar with the organization. As with all criteria for evaluating a nonprofit, recognition by other organizations and individuals is only one of many measures, and the organization should be evaluated in its entirety.

Chief Executive Officer

Why we include it

The chief executive officer is responsible for leading the organization on a day-to-day basis, and for providing informed input and advice to the board as it seeks to oversee and guide the organization. Information about the CEO’s background provides an indication of his or her ability to do the job.

What to look for

The chief executive officer should have the necessary education, skills, and experience to effectively perform his or her leadership role. Check the CEO’s bio for the relevance of her or his formal education and work history to the demands of the current position.

Caveat

As with all criteria for evaluating a nonprofit, the CEO’s background is only one of many measures, and the organization should be evaluated in its entirety.

 

Board and Officers

Why we include it

The board is the ultimate governing authority for the organization. The board’s job is to choose, supervise, and evaluate the organization’s CEO, set the organization’s strategy, policies, and procedures, and assure the adequacy of resources. This obligation includes such duties as establishing the CEO’s job description and compensation; oversight, review, and approval of major programs and budgets, and assurance that adequate financial controls and effective policies and practices are in place. It is, therefore, important that the board be active and effective.

What to look for

Boards that meet infrequently or whose members devote little time to their board service may not be exercising the necessary oversight and guidance for the organization. With regard to size, governing boards should be large enough to do their work but not so large as to be unwieldy. Generally smaller organizations with straightforward missions and finances might get by with fewer meetings and smaller boards. Larger organizations with more complex programming and finances would require more meetings and larger boards.

Caveat

While an active and involved board increases the likelihood that an organization will be effective, it is possible for an organization to be effective with little or no board input, and for active, involved board to be ineffective.

Years on the Board

Why we include it

In order to balance the benefits of a fresh perspective with the value of experience and continuity, board membership should reflect a balance between relatively new members and those who have been on the board for several years. In addition, a board too heavily weighted toward long-standing members may run into succession problems should a large number retire from the board simultaneously.

What to look for

Board membership should reflect a roughly even mix among those members who have served fewer than three years, those who have served between three and eight years. Very few board members should serve over eight years.

Caveat

As with all criteria for evaluating a nonprofit, board tenure balance is only one of many measures, and there can be extenuating circumstances to justify a heavy weighting toward one end of the spectrum or the other. For example, a new organization will necessarily have more board members who have served a short period of time.

Hours of Service

Why we include it

Independent oversight and guidance is very important to effective and efficient operation of any organization. Nonprofit boards should actively partner with management to help achieve the organization’s mission. Moreover, the board should serve as representatives of the public, and oversee management to be sure that the mission is being advanced effectively, efficiently and ethically. Performance of these responsibilities requires time to gain an understanding of the organization’s mission, program, and finances, as well as time to participate in the organization’s governance.

What to look for

The number of hours board members should devote to their duties depends on the organization. Smaller organizations with straightforward missions and finances might get by with board members spending relatively little time serving the organization. In some cases, attendance at three or four board meetings a year, with a few hours spent in preparation for each meeting might be adequate. Larger organizations with more complex programming and finances should require that board members spend more time. Tzedakah, Inc. suggests that each board member should devote at least 10 hours per year to the organization. Larger organizations may require that typical board members devote an hour or two a week (50 – 100 hours per year) on average. On each board, some members, especially officers, should devote relatively more time than average. We believe that board members who devote less time than these minimums cannot be performing their function adequately.

Note: Most US-based organizations profiled are required by the Internal Revenue Service to report on the disclosure form 990 the number of hours per week each board member devotes to board service. Unfortunately, most organizations do not seem to provide plausible answers. Typically charities will list nearly every board member as serving exactly the same number of hours per week. Tzedakah, Inc. is skeptical about that uniformity. Tzedakah, Inc. requires charities to ask each board member to independently estimate the number of hours he or she devotes to board service.

Caveat

As with all criteria for evaluating a nonprofit, the number of hours per week that board members devote to the organization is only one of many measures.

Policies and Practices

What it is

The governing board of any organization has the ultimate responsibility for the strategic direction and operational oversight of the organization, and evaluation of the chief executive officer. The board’s policies and practices are the mechanisms instituted to fulfill that responsibility.

What to look for

The board should have in place well-defined policies and procedures that assure that the organization advances its mission effectively in accordance with relevant laws and ethics and consistent with sound financial practices. Larger organizations with larger boards should have in place specific committees to handle special tasks. These may or may not include an audit or finance committee to take the lead on budgeting, and insuring accurate accounting for, and control of, funds; a personnel committee to guide development of personnel policies and the evaluation of the chief executive officer; and an evaluation committee to guide the evaluation of programs and the board itself.

Caveat 

Nonprofit organizations can experience great difficulty in recruiting effective and active volunteer board members. Therefore, not all volunteer boards can set up and implement an ideal structure to effectively guide every aspect of the organization. Tzedakah, Inc. believes that the presence of an effective board is a very important “plus” in evaluating any organization. However, organizations can run effectively even with less than ideal board oversight and guidance. Moreover, organizations with strong board policies may not implement them effectively.

Board Meeting Frequency, Attendance, and Content

What to look for

The board should have regular meetings. Tzedakah, Inc. suggests that boards should have a minimum of three meetings a year, with a majority present at all meetings. We ask charities to provide minutes or a summary of minutes of meetings held over the previous year. Minutes should indicate a board that is actively involved in the operations and finances of the organization. In particular, the board should discuss such items as strategic vision, successes and failures of programs, adequacy of finances, as well as personnel and other resources.

Board CEO Evaluation and Salary Determination

What to look for

The board, or its personnel committee, should develop a job description and performance objectives for the CEO against which performance can be measured. The job description and objectives should be reviewed on a regular basis, at least every three to five years. The CEO should receive performance reviews at least annually. Procedures should be in place to establish appropriate CEO salary, based on performance and overall market conditions. These procedures should include a mechanism to assess the current state of the market for comparable positions. Effective CEO salary review procedures are particularly important when executive salaries appear to be high in absolute terms.

Board Financial Oversight and Control

What to look for

Board members should be familiar with financial operations and assure, to the best of their ability, that resources are being allocated as effectively as possible to advance the organization’s mission. The board should determine the scope and frequency of financial reports. Each board member should receive a complete set of financial statements annually and such internal financial statements and reports on operations and organizational performance as are prepared by management. The organization should develop, in consultation with relevant experts, effective policies regarding financial control, protection of assets, and management of risk. By way of example, these policies should cover such matters as the rank and number of individual signatories on checks by size and nature of disbursement, controls for cash receipts and disbursements, safeguarding of assets from theft, balance of investment risk and return, and the approval process for transactions by size and nature of transaction.

Chief Executive Officer

Why we include it

Planning and Budgeting

Board Planning Committee staff inputs.

a) Assessment of needs to be met and measures of ***
b) Determination of inputs to the planning process by staff and leadership
b) Products and services to be provided.
b) Staffing and other resource requirements.
c) Sources and uses of funds

Assurance of Ethical Behavior

What to look for

Ethical behavior. Boards should establish policies to assure the organization behaves ethically in its dealings with donors, beneficiaries, and the community at large. Ethical issues might include such areas as (a) fundraising practices, (b) protection for whistleblowers, (c) treatment of individuals in the care of the organization, (d) employee policies that include appropriate non-discrimination clauses and treatment of conflicts of interest, and (e) policies regarding the acceptance of contributions from questionable sources.

Staffing and Salary Information

Why we include it

One measure of the effectiveness of any enterprise is its ability to control payroll costs, recognizing that any organization must pay wages high enough to attract qualified people, and that staffs must be large enough to get the job done. Moreover, Tzedakah, Inc. holds that nonprofit professionals are fully entitled to earn a market wage, like everyone else, and that employees of nonprofits should not be overworked because organizations are understaffed. Mistreating employees***

What to look for

Top salaries and staff size should be compared with those of organization of similar size, location, and mission. Questions should be raised where top salaries or staff size are considerably above those of comparable organizations. If you suspect that salaries are too high, review the organization’s policy with regard to CEO Evaluation and Salary Determination. Apparently high salaries can be justified if the board or a relevant committee carefully analyzes performance, value to the charity, and market conditions. Salaries that appear to be below market, may be a sign of dedicated senior staff worthy of greater consideration for contributions.

Caveat 

As with all criteria for evaluating a nonprofit, salary and staffing information is only one of many measures, and the organization should be evaluated in its entirety.

Volunteers

Why we include it

Effective use of volunteers helps make financial resources go further. Moreover a cadre of volunteers is a measure of the organization’s ability to facilitate and encourage the mitzvah of chesed (acts of kindness), a supremely important Jewish value.

What to look for

Check out the number of volunteers, and the amount of time each devotes, on average, to the organization, where the information is made available. The more the better. The ability to attract trained volunteers like healthcare professionals, social workers, etc. is a particularly good way to stretch limited dollars.

Caveat 

As with all criteria for evaluating a nonprofit, the use of volunteers is only one of many measures, and the organization should be evaluated in its entirety.

Finances

What it is.

In most cases, financial information is based on audited financial statements, although the financial statements of some organizations are not audited by an outside accountant. The data provided in this profile represent just a summary of the organization’s financial statements. Tzedakah, Inc. provides financial statements in summary form to make it easier for the non-accountant to see the overall financial situation.

Source of financial data Tzedakah, Inc. obtains financial data from publicly-available disclosure forms provided by the charity to the Internal Revenue Service. These form are available online on the guidestar website. Synagogues, churches, and other religious organizations are not required to file disclosure forms with the IRS. Financial data for organizations that claim to be religious are not generally available to the public.

Special note: Tzedakah, Inc. does not generally present data reported by charities on the allocation of spending between programs on the one-hand and spending on overhead (management and fundraising) on the other. Increasingly that allocation as reported by charities is seen by experts as being counter-productive as a tool for evaluating charities. Consider this quote which mirrors similar conclusions reached by a number of research studies:

“Our research reveals that a vicious cycle fuels the persistent underfunding of overhead. The first step in the cycle is funders’ unrealistic expectations about how much it costs to run a nonprofit. At the second step, nonprofits feel pressure to conform to funders’ unrealistic expectations. At the third step, nonprofits respond to this pressure in two ways: They spend too little on overhead, and they underreport their expenditures on tax forms and in fundraising materials. This underspending and underreporting in turn perpetuates funders’ unrealistic expectations. Over time, funders expect grantees to do more and more with less and less—a cycle that slowly starves nonprofits.”

Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review Ann Goggins Gregory and Don Howard “The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle” Fall 2009

Net Assets

What it is

Net assets are the excess of assets over liabilities at the end of the fiscal year. Negative net assets means liabilities exceed assets.

Why we include it

The information is provided for donors who want to judge an organization’s need for funds by the amount of resources it already has.

What to look for

The organization should have on hand an adequate level of liquid assets relative to operating expenses and other obligations to assure its smooth operation, but should avoid the accumulation of excessive assets. As a guideline, organizations should have available assets, unencumbered by donor restrictions, and excluding plant and equipment, equal to between three and 18 months of operating expenses.

The accumulation of net assets in excess of amounts necessary for the smooth functioning of the enterprise indicates that the organization may not have adequate beneficial uses for the contributions it receives from donors. Moreover, a large net worth can encourage profligate spending. In evaluating whether asset holdings are excessive, due regard should be given to the need for physical assets used in the provision of services and assets whose use is restricted by donor conditions. According to Jewish custom, funds set aside for the poor should not accumulate unduly, as the poor have urgent needs.

Unrestricted funds

What it is

These are assets on which donors have placed no restrictions with regard to how or when they can be spent. Unrestricted assets are not necessarily immediately available for spending. For example unrestricted assets can include holdings of real estate or other non-liquid assets. Boards may restrict the use of funds to specific purposes like a building or endowment fund (these are sometimes called board restricted funds). But unless restrictions are placed by donors, the assets are considered to be unrestricted.

What to look for

The organization should have on hand an adequate level of liquid assets relative to operating expenses and other obligations to assure its smooth operation, but should avoid the accumulation of excessive assets. As a guideline, organizations should have available assets, unencumbered by donor restrictions, and excluding plant and equipment, equal to between three and 18 months of operating expenses.

The accumulation of net assets in excess of amounts necessary for the smooth functioning of the enterprise indicates that the organization may not have adequate beneficial uses for the contributions it receives from donors. Moreover, a large net worth can encourage profligate spending. In evaluating whether asset holdings are excessive, due regard should be given to the need for physical assets used in the provision of services and assets whose use is restricted by donor conditions. According to Jewish custom, funds set aside for the poor should not accumulate unduly, as the poor have urgent needs.

Oversight

Why we include it

A reasonable assumption is that audited financial statements are more likely to accurately reflect an organization’s financial situation, based on generally accepted accounting principles, than statements that are not audited. Moreover, one might expect that audited financial statements are more comparable from organization to organization. However, there are no guarantees that even audited financial statements are wholly reliable or comparable across organizations (see caveat section below).

Audited financial statements 

The most rigorous form of outside accounting oversight is the audit, which involves an examination of the organization’s financial statements. An audit includes independent verification, on a test basis, of evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures made in the financial statements. For example, letters are written to a sampling of banks, suppliers, creditors, donors, etc. to confirm that amounts reported to the auditors are correct. Each audit results in an opinion as to whether the financial statements fairly reflect the financial position of the organization. Tzedakah Reports indicate any problems auditors have with financial statements. If no auditors’ comments are indicated that means that, in the auditor’s opinion, the financial statements fairly represent the organization’s financial position.

Reviewed financial statements

Reviewed financial statements provide the middle level of assurance by the CPA. The CPA reviews the information supplied by the organization and makes specific inquiries relating to accounting policies, record keeping and accounting practices, actions of the Board of Directors, and changes in business activities. The CPA applies procedures to identify unusual items or trends in the financial statements that may need explanation.

Compiled financial statements 

Compiled financial statements are prepared by the CPA based solely on infomation provided by the orgqanization. There is no attempt to check information provided. When financial statements are merely compiled, accountants do not express an opinion or provide any assurance regarding whether the financial statements fairly represent the organization’s actual financial position.

Caveat 

Audits do not guarantee that financial statements are accurate or comparable across organizations. First, there are often elements of subjectivity in preparing financial statements, even within generally accepted accounting principles. Thus, two accountants can prepare quite different sets of financial statements for the identical organization. Second, there are limits to an audit’s ability to uncover accounting errors and irregularities, as auditors often emphasize. Finally, recent corporate accounting scandals show that auditors can deliberately or unconsciously tilt financial statements in management’s favor. Therefore, as with all criteria for evaluating a nonprofit, accounting oversight is only one of many measures, and the organization should be evaluated in its entirety.

Nihul Takin (Certificate of Proper Management)

From the Israeli Registrar of Charities (translation below)

ודא/י כי לעמותה אישור ניהול תקין בתוקף

אישור ניהול תקין הוא אישור הניתן מדי שנה על-ידי רשם העמותות לעמותה, אשר עמדה בחובות הדיווח המוטלות עליה על-פי דין. ככל שבוצעה בעמותה באותה שנה ביקורת מטעם רשם העמותות, אישור ניהול תקין מהווה אינדיקציה גם לתקינות פעילותה. יובהר, כי ככל שלא בוצעה בעמותה ביקורת, כאמור, אישור ניהול תקין בתוקף אינו מלמד בהכרח על תקינות פעילות העמותה. לשם כך, יש להוסיף ולבצע בדיקה עצמאית

Source

One should be sure that the charity has a Nihul Takin [Certificate of Proper Management]

The Nihul Takin is granted annually by the Registrar of Charities to organizations that meet reporting requirements imposed by law.  In any year in which there is an audit by the Registrar of Charities the Nihul Takin certificate is also an indication that the charity followed proper management.  Note that in years for which there is no audit as mentioned above, a valid Nihul Takin does not certify proper management.  Therefore one must perform an independent examination…

Public Support

Unless otherwise specified, public support consists of contributions made by individuals, government agencies, federated campaigns (e.g., Jewish federations), corporations and foundations, plus membership dues and proceeds from fundraising events including net income or loss from fundraising events. It does not include revenue from related organizations.

Unrestricted funds

What it is

These are assets on which donors have placed no restrictions with regard to how or when they can be spent. Unrestricted assets are not necessarily immediately available for spending. For example unrestricted assets can include holdings of real estate or other non-liquid assets. Boards may restrict the use of funds to specific purposes like a building or endowment fund (these are sometimes called board restricted funds). But unless restrictions are placed by donors, the assets are considered to be unrestricted.

What to look for

The organization should have on hand an adequate level of liquid assets relative to operating expenses and other obligations to assure its smooth operation, but should avoid the accumulation of excessive assets. As a guideline, organizations should have available assets, unencumbered by donor restrictions, and excluding plant and equipment, equal to between three and 18 months of operating expenses.

The accumulation of net assets in excess of amounts necessary for the smooth functioning of the enterprise indicates that the organization may not have adequate beneficial uses for the contributions it receives from donors. Moreover, a large net worth can encourage profligate spending. In evaluating whether asset holdings are excessive, due regard should be given to the need for physical assets used in the provision of services and assets whose use is restricted by donor conditions. According to Jewish custom, funds set aside for the poor should not accumulate unduly, as the poor have urgent needs.

Temporarily Restricted Funds

What it is

These are amounts for which donors restrict the purpose of the gift or stipulate that it must remain unspent for a specified period of time, or until some event takes place or condition is met. Boards may restrict the use of funds to specific purposes like a building or endowment fund (these are sometimes called board restricted funds). But unless restrictions are placed by donors, the assets are considered to be unrestricted.

Why we include it

In evaluating whether asset holdings are excessive, due regard should be given to restrictions placed on the use of assets by donor conditions. Generally speaking, Tzedakah, Inc. believes that organizations should not accumulate excessive amounts of discretionary assets. The accumulation of net assets in excess of amounts necessary for the smooth functioning of the enterprise indicates that the organization may not have adequate beneficial uses for the contributions it receives from donors. Moreover, a large net worth can encourage profligate spending. Finally, According to Jewish custom, funds set aside for the poor should not accumulate unduly, as the poor have urgent needs.

Program Service Income

What it is

Program service income is income earned from the sale of goods or services such as school or camp tuition, fees for medical services, and so on.

Investment Income

What it is

Investment income includes interest, dividends, and capital gains or losses. Some organizations do not count unrealized capital gains or losses as part of revenues. Tzedakah Reports includes all capital gains whether realized or not as revenues. Where Tzedakah Reports practices differ from those of the organization, that is pointed out in a note at the bottom of the page.

Permanently Restricted Funds

What it is

Amounts which donors specify may not be spent. Only income from these funds may be spent for either specified or unspecified purposes. Boards may restrict the use of funds to specific purposes like a building or endowment fund (these are sometimes called board restricted funds). But unless restrictions are placed by donors, the assets are considered to be unrestricted.

Why we include it 

In evaluating whether asset holdings are excessive, due regard should be given to restrictions placed on the use of assets by donor conditions. Generally speaking, Tzedakah, Inc. believes that organizations should not accumulate excessive amounts of discretionary assets. The accumulation of net assets in excess of amounts necessary for the smooth functioning of the enterprise indicates that the organization may not have adequate beneficial uses for the contributions it receives from donors. Moreover, a large net worth can encourage profligate spending. Finally, According to Jewish custom, funds set aside for the poor should not accumulate unduly, as the poor have urgent needs.

Personnel Training and Development

Why we include it

Nonprofit organizations should recognize that training and development is important to allow personnel to maintain and develop technical and professional skills and to keep up with innovations in the profession. In addition, staff may be able to benefit from training in areas such as community relations, ethics, safety, computer skills, and changing law. Board members could improve the the quality of their service with appropriate training. Spending on training and development often is counted as overhead expenditures, which some donors view as unproductive. However, the smart donor will recognize that thoughtful spending on training can improve the quality of service and reduce costs in the long run.

What to look for

Charities should consider spending on such training and development options as college and university courses, training programs, access to relevant professional publications, in-house training, and attendance at professional seminars and conferences. Tzedakah, Inc. strongly encourages thoughtful expenditures on the development of human resources, which are charities’ most valuable assets. For their part, donors should encourage such spending and reward charities that show they have thoughtfully allocated funds to develop their human resources.

Board Self-Evaluation

What to look for

An effective board should evaluate its own performance on a regular basis, perhaps annually. The board should establish explicit standards against which to measure itself. Some illustrative questions the board might usefully discuss are: (1) Does the board effectively guide operational activities of staff? (2) Does the board’s make-up include necessary skills and representatives of major stakeholders? (3) Does the board effectively monitor the organization’s financial and programmatic developments? (4) Is the work-load shared optimally among the various members of the board? (5) Does the board effectively supervise, evaluate, and reward the chief executive?

Board Policies to Assure Ethical Behavior

What to look for

Boards should establish policies to assure the organization behaves ethically in its dealings with donors, beneficiaries, and the community at large. Ethical issues might include such areas as fundraising practices, protection for whistleblowers, treatment of individuals in the care of the organization, employee policies that include appropriate non-discrimination clauses, and policies regarding the acceptance of contributions from questionable sources.

 

ACTIVITY OR MISSION: Children's school

MISSION, ACTIVITIES, PROGRAM EVALUATION

MISSION STATEMENT

CHILDREN'S SCHOOL

PROGRAM SERVICE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

First program

  • Expenses of first program :
    4,438,516
  • Including grants of:
    0
  • Revenue attributed to first program :
    0
  • Description of first program accomplishments :
    SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN FROM EASTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

    Read More

  • Summary: Total expenses of all programs:
    4,438,516

PLEASE NOTE: This is a profile only of the US charity, BE’ER HAGOLAH INSTITUTES INC. Information on this profile is from the BE’ER HAGOLAH INSTITUTES INC’s Forms 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service or the organization’s inernet website. A small amount of contact information may be from other sources. Tzedakah, Inc does not verify data provided by the listed charities.

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