YPTC TALKS – Are You Watching the Charity Watchdogs?



*Check out the full presentation here.

Watch our own Eric Fraint present at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where one of those Watchdogs showed up during his presentation.

So-called “charity watchdogs” are rating nonprofit organizations and making these ratings public. They are rating you now, or will be soon, and your donors are looking.

Because this topic is so critical to nonprofits’ fund development and public reputation, especially in the wake of what’s come to be known as the “Overhead Myth” letter, Your Part-Time Controller used this subject to kick off our Inaugural Series of YPTC TALKS. Three presentations were given in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York City to help the nonprofit sector learn who these watchdogs are, what they are looking for, and what can be done to protect their organization.

Each YPTC TALKS session was free and featured a breakfast at 8:00 a.m. with the program running from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. The speaker was Eric Fraint, President and Founder of YPTC. Additional programs on key topics of interest to nonprofit leaders are planned for the future.

ABOUT YPTC TALKSyptc-talks-phlsidebar2

YPTC TALKS are being offered by Your Part-Time Controller, LLC as part of our 20th Anniversary Celebration. Each program is part of a series of NONPROFIT EXECUTIVE BRIEFINGS. This is one of our ways of giving back to the nonprofit community in which we serve.

YPTC TALKS are designed for busy nonprofit executive directors and members of their boards. They are FREE for YPTC clients, invited guests and other friends of YPTC.

The “Overhead Myth”

On June 17, 2013, the leaders of three national sources of charity information published an open letter to donors confirming what most nonprofit organizations have been arguing for a long time: “The percent of charity expenses that go to administrative and fundraising costs – commonly referred to as ‘overhead’,” they wrote, “is a poor measure of a charity’s performance.”

GuideStar, along with “charity watchdogs” Charity Navigator and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, have started an effort to “correct a misconception” about what matters in deciding to support a charity. They have launched a new debate on this topic.  The traditional way of measuring “overhead” is not really the way charities should be measured, they are arguing, as it overlooks critical issues of performance, investment and results.

Nevertheless, despite this letter, the charity watchdogs continue to use the same measures to evaluate and rate nonprofit organizations.

Donors look at these watchdog reports.  Learn how you can improve your appearance if donors look there to find you! Even if your organizations is not currently being rated, it is likely to be rated in the future.  Take the necessary precautions now!

Eric Fraint, President and Founder of Your Part-Time Controller, LLC, discussed the issues involved when the watchdogs attempt to rate nonprofit performance using standard publicly available accounting information.  He focused particularly on what the charity watchdogs are watching, the problems with what they are watching, how they are rating organizations, and what nonprofits can do to improve their ratings.

Organizations already understand the need to tell their story on their websites.  Many are beginning to use other social media outlets to communicate to their donors.  The next frontier is to understand how charity watchdogs rate them and to learn steps that can be taken to put their best foot forward.

WHO SHOULD ATTENDyptc-talks-dcsidebar2

While the Inaugural Series discussed “The Charity Watchdogs Are Watching You — Are You Watching Them?” there are many other important issues facing the world of nonprofit accounting. Watch this space for news about our next series of YPTC TALKS. These highly informative presentations are intended for chief executive officers, executive directors, and board members of nonprofit organizations.  Other senior managers with responsibility for running their organizations may also attend.



Your Part-Time Controller works with and supports over 300 nonprofit organizations with their accounting, financial reporting and other controllership functions.  We understand their needs; chief among them is the need to raise funds to support their organizations.  We are receiving increasingly frequent requests from nonprofits seeking our help to better understand the metrics used by the charity watchdogs and wanting to know how they could better position their organizations.


Eric Fraint, President and Founder

Eric Fraint is the founder and President of Your Part-Time Controller, LLC, with offices in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Pa., and New York City.

Your Part-Time Controller is an accounting, financial services and financial consulting firm specializing in accounting, consulting and controller-type services for nonprofit organizations.

A 1977 graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Fraint is a Certified Public Accountant and has served on the board of a major community foundation including two terms as Treasurer.  He was later selected to be the first Chairman of the foundation’s newly created Audit Committee.  He also serves, and has served, on the boards of many other nonprofit organizations.

yptc-talks-nycsidebar2Fraint is a member of the faculty of the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.  He previously was an Adjunct Professor in Drexel University’s Graduate Arts Administration Program. He has been an instructor or a guest speaker on various financial topics for the Nonprofit Center at LaSalle University; the Center for Nonprofit Advancement in Washington, D.C.; PCMI (an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts); the Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurship at George Mason University; the Meyer Foundation; the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies; and others.

Fraint is a current member of the Selection Committee for The Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management, a project of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement.

Fraint writes a blog on nonprofit financial management “best practices” at www.EricYPTC.com.  One of his blogs was recently cited in an article in the Nonprofit Quarterly.


For more information about the Charity Watchdogs presentations, and future programs in Your Part-Time Controller’s Nonprofit Executive Briefing Series, please contact Patti Withington.

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