Mission: American Kidney Fund (AKF) was founded in 1971, to help a single individual with kidney failure pay for dialysis. Now 50 years later, AKF has become the leading sour ... (More)

American Kidney Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1971, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.kidneyfund.org/

 11921 Rockville Pike
Suite 300
Rockville MD 20852  

  800-638-8299


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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 90.95, 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.

View this organization’s historical ratings.


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Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio

97.3%


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

0.7%


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

1.8%


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

7.1%


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

$0.01


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

0.19 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

4.07%


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)

Partial

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



Lavarne A. Burton, President, CEO

$638,222 (0.22% 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:

Fundraising (BMF activity code: 927)


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.


American Kidney Fund reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Balance Sheet

  • Due to COVID-19 the patients we serve were disproportionately impacted and thus we saw an increase in demand for assistance. We developed a COVID-19 emergency grant and demand for our existing grants continued to grow. In 2019 we sent out $266M in direct financial assistance grants while in 2020 we issued over $320M.


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

Due to COVID-19 the patients we serve were disproportionately impacted and thus we saw an increase in demand for assistance. We developed a COVID-19 emergency grant and demand for our existing grants continued to grow. In 2019 we sent out $266M in direct financial assistance grants while in 2020 we issued over $320M. Overall, we experienced a $8M deficit, with our unrestricted net assets declining $7.5M.


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

Due to the need of our patient population AKF stepped up and provided the most grants ever in its 50 year history. In 2020, we helped more than 94,000 low-income kidney failure patients in all 50 states gain access to lifesaving healthcare, including dialysis and transplant, by providing need-based grants to pay for health insurance premiums, transportation to treatment, prescription medications and nutritional products, and emergency assistance in the wake of natural disasters. With AKF’s support for health coverage they otherwise could not afford, more than 1,600 dialysis patients had lifesaving kidney transplants and post-transplant care, representing 7% of all U.S. kidney transplants during the year. AKF also expanded its public and professional education online offerings to ensure we were providing a trusted source of information for kidney patients, their caregivers and the general public about the risks of kidney disease.


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

AKF identified a need from patients to deal with the financial impact of COVID-19 and provided $250 grants to over 13,000 kidney patients in 2020. We quickly developed this program within one week and were issuing grants to patients within the following week. AKF utilized both internal reserves and solicited our donors to help support this program.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

We reached millions of people in 2020 with awareness and prevention information on our website. Due to the pandemic, we transformed our national screening program into a virtual Kidney Action Week from September 14-19, 2020. The event was held in a dedicated Facebook Live group with more than 2,000 people joining. Throughout Kidney Action Week, participants contributed hundreds of posts, and nearly 27,000 comments and reactions to the interactive educational information we shared.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
2/1/20212019 90.95
11/1/20192018 90.31
11/1/20182017 90.55
12/22/20172016 94.69
11/1/20162015 94.69
6/1/20162014 93.67
Rating Version: 2.0
11/1/20152014 90.84
3/1/20152013 94.49
11/1/20132012 92.72
12/20/20122011 94.48
9/1/20122010 94.51
2/1/20122010 94.54

This organization received multiple star ratings within this fiscal year, due to an update to it's Accountability and Transparency data and/or the receipt of an amended Form 990.

9/20/20112009 94.50
Rating Version: 1.0
2/1/20112009 92.22
12/1/20092008 92.17
6/1/20092007 94.65
7/1/20072006 92.10
9/1/20052004 92.04
9/1/20042003 92.04
10/1/20032002 94.49
10/15/20022001 94.19
4/15/20022000 93.99

...   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

100

out of 100

American Kidney Fund is , earning a passing score.


Impact

$3,600 provides $3,600 in financial assistance to a patient in need.



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Impact & Results Report

100

of 100 points


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Rated Program

Rated Program


Program

Financial Assistance for Medical Conditions

Activities

The nonprofit provides financial assistance to patients with kidney disease.

Program Type

Beneficiaries Served

Program Geography

Time Period of Data


Learn how we assess the impact of nonprofits

Outcomes and Cost

Outcomes: Changes in the lives of those served by a nonprofit. They can be caused by the nonprofit.

Costs: The money spent by a nonprofit and its partners and beneficiaries.

Impact: Outcome caused by a nonprofit relative to its cost.

Cost-effectiveness: A judgment as to whether the cost was a good use of resources to cause the outcome.


Outcome Metric


Outcome Data Source

Ratings are based on data the nonprofit itself collects on its work. We use the most recent year with sufficient data. Typically, this data allows us to calculate direct changes in participants' lives, such as increased income.


Outcome data collected during the program. The nonprofit publicly reports data on the dollar value of all financial assistance provided to patients, which we use to calculate the additional income received.


Method for Attributing Outcomes

We don't know if the observed changes were caused by the nonprofit's program or something else happening at the same time (e.g., a participant got a raise). To determine causation, we take the outcomes we observe and subtract an estimate of the outcomes that would have happened even without the program (i.e., counterfactual outcomes).


We estimate the dollar amount of financial assistance attributable to the nonprofit by comparing the financial assistance given by the nonprofit to the financial assistance that would have been provided in the absence of the nonprofit (the “counterfactual”). In this case, we estimate the counterfactual to be zero based on two assumptions. First, we assume there is functionally no upper limit to the amount of cash transfers that continue to be valuable to patients as they are far from reaching the point of diminishing marginal returns, such that aid provided by one nonprofit does not displace aid provided by another. Second, we assume that nonprofits work independently and do not coordinate the provision of aid to the same patient. As a result, all aid provided by the nonprofit to patients with medical conditions can be directly attributable to the nonprofit.


Cost Data Source

After estimating the program's outcomes, we need to determine how much it cost to achieve those outcomes. All monetary costs are counted, whether they are borne by a nonprofit service deliverer or by the nonprofit’s public and private partners.


Program cost data reported by the nonprofit. Partner and beneficiary costs reported by the nonprofit or estimated by Charity Navigator.


Impact and Determination

We calculate impact, defined as the change in outcomes attributable to a program divided by the cost to achieve those outcomes.

Impact Statement

$3,600 provides $3,600 in financial assistance to a patient in need.

Benchmark for Rating

Impact & Results scores of financial assistance to patients programs are based on income generated relative to cost. Programs receive an Impact & Results score of 100 if they increase income for a recipient by more than $1.50 for every $1 spent and a score of 75 if income increases by more than $0.85 for every $1 spent. If a nonprofit reports impact but doesn't meet the threshold for cost-effectiveness, it earns a score of 50.

Determination

Nonprofit Comment

Before publishing, we ask every nonprofit we can to review our work, offer corrections and provide a comment.


This nonprofit did not provide a comment

Analysis Details


Analysis conducted by ImpactMatters and published on November 22, 2019.

Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



American Kidney Fund reported its three largest programs on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$325,567,495

Spent in most recent FY

96%

Percent of program expenses


PATIENT ASSISTANCE:IN 2020, WE HELPED MORE THAN 94,000 LOW-INCOME KIDNEY FAILURE PATIENTS IN ALL 50 STATES GAIN ACCESS TO LIFESAVING HEALTHCARE, INCLUDING DIALYSIS AND TRANSPLANT, BY PROVIDING NEED-BA ... (More)


$10,214,941

Spent in most recent FY

3%

Percent of program expenses


PUBLIC EDUCATION, AWARENESS AND PREVENTION ACTIVITIES:AWARENESS AND PREVENTION:37 MILLION AMERICANS HAVE CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE (CKD), AND MOST DON'T REALIZE THEY HAVE IT. AKF'S EDUCATION PROGRAMS HEL ... (More)


$332,599

Spent in most recent FY

0%

Percent of program expenses


RESEARCH:ESTABLISHED IN 1988, AKF'S CLINICAL SCIENTIST IN NEPHROLOGY PROGRAM HAS PROVIDED RESEARCH FUNDING TO MANY OF NEPHROLOGY'S BRIGHTEST SCHOLARS. MANY FORMER CSN FELLOWS HAVE GONE ON TO DISTINGUI ... (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 American Kidney Fund 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


American Kidney Fund (AKF) was founded in 1971, to help a single individual with kidney failure pay for dialysis. Now 50 years later, AKF has become the leading source of direct financial aid to dialysis patients across the nation. The American Kidney Fund leads the nation in providing charitable assistance to dialysis patients who need help with the costs associated with treating kidney failure. In 2020, more than 94,000 people--1 out of every 6 dialysis patients in the United States--received assistance from the American Kidney Fund for health insurance premiums and other treatment-related expenses. Millions of people nationwide benefit annually from the American Kidney Fund's efforts to fight kidney disease through public awareness campaigns, free health screenings, health education materials and courses, online outreach, and toll-free health information HelpLine (866-300-2900).


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

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


The American Kidney Fund's vision is a world without kidney disease. Until that day comes, we believe that every kidney patient should have access to health care, and every person at risk for kidney disease should be empowered to prevent it. We carry out our mission--fighting kidney disease and helping people live healthier lives--with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through post-transplant living.


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: Strengthen and expand AKF’s resources for people at risk for, and affected by, kidney disease, through programs that address awareness, prevention, detection, health education & disease management.

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


Goal Two: Strengthen and expand AKF's resources for people affected by kidney failure through programs that address health education, disease management, treatment options, financial assistance, and transplant.

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


Goal Three: Lead a strategic advocacy effort that engages patients, caregivers, policymakers and other stakeholders to build awareness and support of AKF and our policy positions in support of kidney patients.

Goal Type: This goal reflects our commitment to further our advocacy work for our organization and or cause area.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

AKF provides external training opportunities to its leadership and also mentors staff with one on one coaching. AKF has it Senior Directors attend quarterly Executive Team meetings to expose these leaders to high level strategic conversations and directions. AKF also provides opportunities for various leaders to gain experience in leading large scale AKF projects.

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?

AKF had a digital patient fly in in July, and a virtual Congressional briefing on September 16 entitled “COVID-19, Health Disparities and the Social Determinants of Health.” At the state level AKF supported 19 bills and resolutions that passed in 2020 and signed onto 41 different letters. As a result of AKF efforts, 9 living donor protection bills have been enacted. AKF held the Unknown Causes of Kidney Disease Summit focusing on rare diseases and misdiagnosed kidney disease. The purpose was to begin developing a roadmap for steps that AKF and others may take to address the challenge that many diagnosed with kidney disease and even kidney failure do not understand why. About 85 attendees from across the nation & world that represented the leading organizations in kidney diseases and rare diseases; government agencies; researchers; pharmaceutical leaders; patients and caregivers. The summit included presentations by leading researchers, patient stories, and a robust discussion.

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.


We transformed our national screening program, Kidney Action Day, into a virtual Kidney Action Week from September 14-19, 2020. The event was held in a dedicated Facebook Live group with more than 2,000 people tuning in! Throughout Kidney Action Week, participants contributed hundreds of posts, and nearly 27,000 comments and reactions to the interactive educational information we shared. To kick off Kidney Action Week, AKF invited Dr. Silas Norman, a nephrologist and member of AKF’s Board of Trustees, to sit down for an hour-long chat to discuss kidney disease and transplant. During this Q&A segment, they dove into the common risk factors for kidney disease and answered questions from the live audience. We hosted an online Congressional briefing to address the serious problems of health disparities and social determinants of health outcomes in minority communities. We also held sessions on diet and exercise throughout the week.

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

American Kidney Fund 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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