Uncharted is a non-profit social enterprise, and in 2018, only 29% of our budget will come from philanthropic funding at the organization-wide level. The remaining 71% will come from earned revenue and funding from partnerships with Chipotle, Visible, and others.
While we’re working hard to build a strong economic engine within our non-profit legal structure, we still encounter the backwards thinking that any philanthropic investment (from a foundation, individual, etc.) should not go to overhead (or only a small fraction should go to overhead). This is dumb. Like any organization, non-profits need resources to invest in their future growth: from business development and partnership building, to leadership training, to hiring exceptional people in all roles and paying them competitive salaries so the organization can deliver excellent results.
A study reported that donors “ranked overhead ratio and financial transparency to be more important attributes in determining their willingness to give to an organization than the success of the organization’s programs.” This is stunning: people would rather know how their money was used ineffectively than not know how their money was used effectively. The focus on intermediate organizational metrics (like overhead ratio) should not blind philanthropic investors to their end goal: impact outcomes.