Charitable Giving

Posted by Annette 12/02/2017 0 Comment(s)

The holiday season warms your heart and opportunities to give of your time and your money are everywhere.  Whether your heart draws you to give to families in need, a local food pantry or your favorite dog charity, we would encourage you to do a little homework to ensure your donation is being used to benefit the cause in the way you would hope. 


If you’ve hung around us at all, you know that 10% of the proceeds of every order we receive is donated to selected dog charities.   When we investigate the pet charities with whom we work, we start by checking them out on Charity Navigator.  If you want to check out your local humane society, dog rescue group or any charity for that matter, this is a great place to start. 


This site rates charities who meet the following criteria:

  • Tax Status: The organization must be registered as a 501(c) (3) public charity and file a Form 990. 
  • Revenue: The charity must have generated at least $1 million in revenue for two consecutive years. 
  • Length of Operations: The organization must have been in existence, with corresponding Forms 990, for at least seven years. 
  • Location: While we only rate charities based in the U.S. and registered with the IRS, the scope of a charity's work can be international. In fact, they rate more than a thousand charities that have an international aspect to their work.
  • Public Support: The charity must have at least $500,000 in public support. Public support must account for at least 40% of total revenue for at least two consecutive years.
  • Fundraising Expenses: The charity must have at least 1% of its expenses allocated to fundraising for three consecutive years. 
  • Administrative Expenses: The charity must have at least 1% of its expenses allocated to administrative expense for three consecutive years. 


Once an organization meets these requirements, they are rated on Accountability and Transparency and Financial Health.  There are some charities who do not meet these requirements; but are still really good candidates for your donations.  We will hit that topic next time.


Financial Health is determined based on several factors such as program expense percentage, administrative expense percentage, fundraising expense percentage, fundraising efficiency and adjustments.  Next they analyze program expenses growth, working capital ratio, liabilities to assets ratio and then assign a financial health rating. Dive deeper here.



When assessing the charity’s Accountability and Transparency, the analysts at Charity Navigator are looking for answers to these questions:


  •  Does the charity follow good governance and ethical best practices?
  • Does the charity make it easy for donors to find critical information about the organization?


Much of this information can be derived from the IRS form 990.  Data such as the existence of an independent board governing body, independent financial audits, CEO salary and more are examined. They then look to the charity’s website to glean additional information such as listing of board members, key staff and the existence of a privacy policy.  Each area of accountability and transparency are given points and the total at the end of the day is the Accountability and Transparency score.  Read more about this methodology.


Once the numbers guys get done with the analysis, you have a star rating system that looks like this:



These guys do the work for us.  Thank you, numbers peeps and analytical types!  This makes it much easier for all of us to feel good about where our donations are going and how they are being used.  Our current dog charity benefactor is Freedom Service Dogs of America.  Here is a snapshot of their rating page:



Not only are they doing great things for dogs and people, they are doing it efficiently.  


All the methodology may be a little overwhelming; but we feel Charity Navigator is a good source and very thorough.  They have made appearances on trusted networks such as FoxNews, CNN and NPR and in publications you know:  New York Times, Forbes and USA Today.  If you have the heart to donate, it’s easy and quick to get an overview of your charity of choice and be sure your money is being used wisely.


We encourage you to nominate your favorite dog charity here, on Facebook or go “old school” on us by emailing contactus@offleashdogboutique.com.  Let us know why you love them and we may choose them to be next in line to receive proceeds from Off Leash Dog Boutique!  Plus, you get a cool gift for playing along.  Thank you for partnering with us to help all dogs!


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