Mission: Founded in 1898, Connecticut Audubon Society protects Connecticut's birds, other wildlife, and their habitats through conservation, education, and advocacy. The Conn ... (More)

The Connecticut Audubon Society is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1942, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.ctaudubon.org

 314 Unquowa Road
Fairfield CT 06824 

  203-259-0416


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Star Rating System by Charity Navigator


Charity Navigator evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability. We also track accountability and transparency policies to ensure the good governance and integrity of the organization.




Exceptional

This charity's score is 99.39, earning it a 4-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity. 

This score is calculated from two sub-scores:

This score represents Form 990 data from 2019, the latest year published by the IRS.

This organization has issued a response to this ratingView this organization’s historical ratings.


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Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio

82.0%


The Program Expense Ratio is determined by Program Expenses divided by Total Expense (average of most recent three 990s).


This measure reflects the percent of its total expenses a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver. Dividing a charity's average program expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Administrative Expenses

11.4%


As reported by charities on their IRS Form 990, this measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity's average administrative expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Expenses

6.5%


This measure reflects what a charity spends to raise money. Fundraising expenses can include campaign printing, publicity, mailing, and staffing and costs incurred in soliciting donations, memberships, and grants. Dividing a charity's average fundraising expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Liabilities to Assets Ratio

1.5%


The Liabilities to Assets Ratio is determined by Total Liabilities divided by Total Assets (most recent 990).


Part of our goal in rating the financial performance of charities is to help donors assess the financial capacity and sustainability of a charity. As do organizations in other sectors, charities must be mindful of their management of total liabilites in relation to their total assets. This ratio is an indicator of an organization’s solvency and or long term sustainability. Dividing a charity's total liabilities by its total assets yields this percentage.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Efficiency

$0.02


The amount spent to raise $1 in charitable contributions. To calculate a charity's fundraising efficiency, we divide its average fundraising expenses by the average total contributions it receives. We calculate the charity's average expenses and average contributions over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Working Capital Ratio

3.27 years


Determines how long a charity could sustain its level of spending using its net available assets, or working capital, as reported on its most recently filed Form 990. We include in a charity's working capital unrestricted and temporarily restricted net assets, and exclude permanently restricted net assets. Dividing these net available assets in the most recent year by a charity's average total expenses, yields the working capital ratio. We calculate the charity's average total expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Program Expense Growth

18.51%


We compute the average annual growth of program expenses using the following formula: [(Yn/Y0)(1/n)]-1, where Y0 is a charity's program expenses in the first year of the interval analyzed, Yn is the charity's program expenses in the most recent year, and n is the interval of years passed between Y0 and Yn.


Source: IRS Form 990

Governance


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990 that the organization has these governance practices in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990

Governance:
Independent Voting Board Members  ... (More)
No Material Diversion of Assets ... (More)

A diversion of assets – any unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets other than for the organization's authorized purposes, including but not limited to embezzlement or theft – can seriously call into question a charity's financial integrity. We check the charity's last two Forms 990 to see if the charity has reported any diversion of assets. If the charity does report a diversion, then we check to see if it complied with the Form 990 instructions by describing what happened and its corrective action. This metric will be assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Full Credit: There has been no diversion of assets within the last two years.

  • Partial Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity has used Schedule O on the Form 990 to explain: the nature of the diversion, the amount of money or property involved and the corrective action taken to address the matter. In this situation, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity's explanation on Schedule O is either non-existent or not sufficient. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Audited Financials Prepared by Independent Accountant ... (More)

Audited financial statements provide important information about financial accountability and accuracy. They should be prepared by an independent accountant with oversight from an audit committee. (It is not necessary that the audit committee be a separate committee. Often at smaller charities, it falls within the responsibilities of the finance committee or the executive committee.) The committee provides an important oversight layer between the management of the organization, which is responsible for the financial information reported, and the independent accountant, who reviews the financials and issues an opinion based on its findings. We check the charity's Form 990 reporting to see if it meets this criteria.

  • Full Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee.

  • Partial Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant, but it did not have an audit oversight committee. In this case, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: The charity did not have its audited financials prepared by an independent accountant. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)
Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)
Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)
Compensates Board ... (More)

Policies


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization has these policies in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Policies:
Conflict of Interest  ... (More)
Whistleblower ... (More)
Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)
CEO Compensation Process ... (More)
Donor Privacy ... (More)

Donors have expressed extreme concern about the use of their personal information by charities and the desire to have this information kept confidential. The exchanging and sale of lists for telemarketing and the mass distribution of "junk mail," among other things, can be minimized if the charity assures the privacy of its donors. Privacy policies are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Yes: This charity has a written donor privacy policy published on its website, which states unambiguously that (1) it will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations or (2) it will only share or sell personal information once the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

  • Opt-out: The charity has a written privacy policy published on its website which enables donors to tell the charity to remove their names and contact information from lists the charity shares or sells. How a donor can have themselves removed from a list differs from one charity to the next, but any and all opt-out policies require donors to take specific action to protect their privacy.
  • No: This charity either does not have a written donor privacy policy in place to protect their contributors' personal information, or the existing policy does not meet our criteria.

The privacy policy must be specific to donor information. A general website policy which references "visitor" or "user" personal information will not suffice. A policy that refers to donor information collected on the website is also not sufficient as the policy must be comprehensive and applicable to both online and offline donors. The existence of a privacy policy of any type does not prohibit the charity itself from contacting the donor for informational, educational, or solicitation purposes.

(Less)

Transparency


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization makes this information easily accessible.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Transparency:
CEO Salary Listed on 990 ... (More)
Board of Directors Listed on Website ... (More)
Key Staff Listed on Website ... (More)
Audited Financial Statements on Website ... (More)
Form 990 Available on Website ... (More)

Additional Information

Unscored

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Total Revenue and Expenses

Total Revenue and Expenses

This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.

Salary of Key Persons

Presented here are this organizations key compensated staff members as identified by our analysts. This compensation data includes salary, cash bonuses and expense accounts and is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



Patrick M. Comins, Executive Director

$129,773 (2.80% of Total Expenses)


Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2020

Business Master File Data

Below are some key data points from the Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) for this organization. Learn more about the BMF on the IRS website


Activities:

Preservation of natural resources (conservation) (BMF activity code: 350)

Other school related activities (BMF activity code: 059)

Museum, zoo, planetarium, etc. (BMF activity code: 060)


Foundation Status:

Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (BMF foundation code: 15)


Affiliation:

Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations). (BMF affiliation code: 3)

Data Sources: IRS Forms 990

The Form 990 is a document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS annually. We leverage finance and accountability data from it to form Encompass ratings. Click here to view this organization's Forms 990 on the IRS website (if any are available).

Pandemic Response

Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, we give charities such as this one the opportunity to share the story of COVID's impact on them. Charities may submit their own pandemic responses through their nonprofit portal.


The Connecticut Audubon Society reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Balance Sheet


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's operations financially:

Program revenue declined by 29% however we applied and received the PPP loans and were able to employ a full staff.


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's delivery of programs:

Due to social distancing and closures we could run in-person programs however we transformed our programs into virtual format. Grant funded programs provided science enrichment for students during a very difficult school year, however fee based community programs and summer camp could not operate. In addition, all EcoTravel programs had to be cancelled. Things are slowly returning to normal and we will continue to offer virtual programs as an option.


How this organization adapted to changing conditions caused by COVID-19:

We transformed our programs into new virtual formats, engaged our communities through new technologies, and established small group outdoor experiences. We ensured that teachers and students continued to be supported throughout the remote and hybrid learning environments throughout the pandemic. We also launched a member portal to provide a special experience for our members.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

Our supporters loved the format and information offered through our virtual programs and have asked that we continue offering them. Now that we have learned to master some technologies, we are looking into ways that we can improve the experience. We are also looking at ways that we can expand our member portal offerings.


Official Charity Response


  In FYE2020, which ended at the start of the pandemic closures, Connecticut Audubon’s financials reflected the extreme market downturn. Therefore almost $800,000 in unrealized market losses reduced the total revenue. In FYE 2021, Connecticut Audubon’s financials reflected the market recovery and included revenue toward capital campaigns. Therefore approximately $5.8 million in realized/unrealized gains and $4 million of capital revenue was reflected in total revenue. Throughout the pandemic, Connecticut Audubon connected with its communities to meet their needs for outdoor access, virtual programs, and science enrichment for students.

Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
11/1/20202019 99.39
7/1/20192018 98.62
6/1/20182017 94.19
5/1/20172016 86.55
6/1/20162015 87.38
Rating Version: 2.0
8/1/20152014 83.98
7/1/20142013 86.95
5/1/20132012 89.29
7/1/20122011 86.86
9/20/20112010 87.46
Rating Version: 1.0
6/1/20112010 81.45
8/1/20102009 77.91
7/1/20092008 85.72
4/1/20082007 95.51
7/1/20072005 71.80
11/1/20042004 74.70
1/1/20042003 69.89
4/15/20032002 82.74
10/15/20022001 80.62

...   Impact & Results


This score estimates the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determines whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.


Impact & Results Score

Not Currently Scored

The Connecticut Audubon Society cannot currently be evaluated by our Encompass Rating Impact & Results methodology because either (A) it is eligible, but we have not yet received data; (B) we have not yet developed an algorithm to estimate its programmatic impact; (C) its programs are not direct services; or (D) it is not heavily reliant on contributions from individual donors.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.

Learn more about Impact & Results.

Do you work at The Connecticut Audubon Society? Join the waitlist for an updated Impact & Results score.


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Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



The Connecticut Audubon Society reported its three largest programs on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$2,420,972

Spent in most recent FY

61%

Percent of program expenses


EDUCATIONAL - PROVIDES PROGRAMS ON CONSERVATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC AT SEVEN CENTERS LOCATED THROUGHOUT THE STATE.


$272,052

Spent in most recent FY

6%

Percent of program expenses


ADVOCACY - WORK WITH ELECTED AND APPOINTED OFFICIALS, THE PUBLIC, AND OTHER NGOS, TO PROMOTE THE CONSERVATION OF THE STATE'S NATURAL RESOURCES


$197,194

Spent in most recent FY

5%

Percent of program expenses


MEMBERSHIP SERVICES - TO IMPROVE HABITATS FOR SPECIES OF CONSERVATION CONCERN THROUGHOUT THE STATE AND PROVIDE MEANINGFUL OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR MEMBERS AND THE PUBLIC TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR BIRDS, O ... (More)


...   Leadership & Adaptability


This score provides an assessment of the organization's leadership capacity, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization's mission.


Leadership & Adaptability Score

100

out of 100

The score earned by The Connecticut Audubon Society is a passing score.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of the organization's Leadership & Adaptability through the nonprofit organization submitting a survey response directly to Charity Navigator.


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Leadership & Adaptability Report

100

of 100 points

Mission

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s mission


THE CONNECTICUT AUDUBON SOCIETY'S MISSION IS TO PROTECT CONNECTICUT'S BIRDS, OTHER WILDLIFE, AND THEIR HABITATS THROUGH CONSERVATION, EDUCATION, AND ADVOCACY.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s vision.


We envision that our efforts will lead to a future where all Connecticut residents can share and experience the joys of nature and understand the importance of environmental preservation.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Strategic Goals

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking and goal setting through sharing their most important strategic goals.


Goal One: To enhance the lands under our stewardship to provide maximum value for plants, birds and other wildlife.

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Goal Two: Improve habitats for species of conservation concern in CT and provide meaningful opportunities for our members and the public to make a difference for birds, other wildlife and habitats.

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Goal Three: To develop and lead a coalition of grassroots environmental advocates to press for policy change that is beneficial to birds, other wildlife and their habitats in Connecticut.

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

We invested in development training, mid-level career leadership training, DEI training, and we have an expense-line for professional development. We encourage staff members at all levels of the organization to be members of professional associations and to participate in conferences and workshops to advance their careers. Connecticut Audubon is a member of BoardSource to support our leadership with training and best practices.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Mobilizing for Mission

The nonprofit provides evidence of leadership through focusing externally and mobilizing resources for the mission.


This organization mobilizes for mission in the following ways:
  • Strategic Partnerships

  • Networks of Collective Impact Efforts

  • Thought Leadership

  • Raising Awareness

  • Community Building

  • Policy Advocacy

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

Connecticut Audubon has established strong partnerships to strengthen environmental conservation in Connecticut. Our highly regarded annual State of the Birds report engages our partners and advises conservation and advocacy efforts in Connecticut. Other major conservation partnerships include Osprey Nation, which monitors and reports on breeding success of Osprey in CT, the Coastal Bird Alliance, a shorebird protection program in conjunction with National Audubon and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute., and Friends of Conte, a consortium of organizations for the protection of the Connecticut River watershed.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Story of Adaptability

The nonprofit has an opportunity to tell the story of how the organization adapted to tremendous external changes in the last year.


Connecticut Audubon transformed its programs at the start of the pandemic when in-person programs were no longer possible. Our award winning Science In Nature hands-on school programs were adapted to a virtual format including tool kits for students to take home. Our goal was to create a level experience for students to participate in hands-on science, whether in school or at home. We also created webinars, Facebook Live events, and other remote opportunities for children and adults to learn more about nature, birding, and conservation. We kept our trails open as many people were seeking comfort in nature. As things have started opening up, we created small group outdoor experiences for children, adults and families. We will continue to offer webinars and to provide science enrichment programs, even as we are starting to return to more in-person programming. The technologies we implemented over the past 18 months have transformed how our programs will now be offered. In-person programs might be streamed, providing increased accessibility for those who cannot be in the field. We believe that we are a stronger organization having gone through the review, assessment and adaptation of our programs to meet the needs of our communities.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

...   Culture & Community


This score provides an assessment of the organization's engagement with the constituents it serves, a practice we term Constituent Feedback. When organizations listen to constituents, they are able to better deliver on programs and meet the needs of stakeholders. A future version of this Beacon will also assess an organization's people operations and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) metrics.


Culture & Community Score

Not Currently Scored

The Connecticut Audubon Society is currently not eligible for a Culture & Community score because we have not received its Constituent Feedback data. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile. This data will provide the basis for the initial evaluation of Culture & Community.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.


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Culture & Community Report

Unscored

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Constituent Feedback

Constituent Feedback


Constituent Feedback and Listening Practice data are not available for this organization. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile. This data will provide the basis for the initial evaluation of Culture & Community.


Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations that engage in inclusive practices, such as collecting feedback from the people and communities they serve, may be more effective. We award every nonprofit that completes the Candid survey full credit for this Beacon, in recognition of their willingness to publicly share this information with the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. Although the data is not evaluated for quality at this time, future iterations of this Beacon will include third party or other data that will serve to validate the information provided by the nonprofit.

Analysis and Research


Like the overall Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as metrics are developed and ready for integration. Our partnership with Feedback Labs and Guidestar by Candid, and other partners including Fund for Shared Insight, GlobalGiving, and Keystone Accountability, enables us to launch the first version of this beacon with Constituent Feedback information collected on Candid's site.


Feedback practices have been shown to support better Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion outcomes, an essential area of assessment that we intend to further expand and develop in the future. Feedback Labs has documented several studies which indicate that beyond achieving organizational goals, nonprofits that are attentive and responsive to concerns and ideas raised by beneficiaries establish stronger relationships with the people they serve, promote greater equity, and empower constituents in ways that can help to ensure better long-term outcomes. You can find resources to help nonprofits improve their feedback practices here.

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