Mission: Since 1983, Dollar Energy Fund has been working to meet our mission to improve the quality of life for households experiencing hardships by providing utility assista ... (More)

Dollar Energy Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1983, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.dollarenergy.org/

 P.O. Box 42329
Pittsburgh PA 15203 

  800-683-7036


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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 95.77, 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 2020, 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

89.7%


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

7.7%


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

2.5%


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

14.1%


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

$0.02


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

1.75 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

6.53%


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.
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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 Form W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



Chad Quinn, Chief Executive Officer

$253,276 (1.31% of Total Expenses)


Current CEO and Board Chair can be found in the Leadership & Adaptability report below.

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:

Supplying money, goods or services to the poor (BMF activity code: 560)


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.


Dollar Energy Fund reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue

  • Staffing

  • Balance Sheet


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

The pandemic had both positive and negative financial impacts on Dollar Energy Fund. We experienced an increase in restricted funds as a recipient of COVID relief funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and distributed them to low- and limited-income utility customers in our service areas, providing them with a direct assistance benefit. Administering these funds created a temporary increase in the administrative fees our organization receives from our partners. Due to recommendations and guidelines regarding social distancing and capacity limits, many of our fundraising events had to be cancelled, postponed, or altered, therefore creating a deficit in fundraising dollars. Additionally, the overall pandemic-related economic uncertainty resulted in some donors reducing or discontinuing their financial support of our organization.


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

We were proud of our ability to increase our reach in the communities we serve by offering online application intake for customers of some of our utility partners. This allowed us to increase program enrollments and enhance efficiencies in our operations.


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

Dollar Energy Fund is committed to remaining as a resource for our neighbors in need of utility assistance throughout the pandemic and has taken steps to ensure our programs and services are available. At the immediate onset of the pandemic, we ensured the continuation of services offered by making work-from-home arrangements for most employees and implementing social distancing measures for employees who were required to remain in person. To better adapt to the needs of our utility partners and the utility customers served through our programs, we enhanced our online assistance application and enrollment processes where possible. We worked directly with our utility partners to continually adjust program eligibility guidelines to ensure assistance was available for those most in need. We’ve also worked to adapt our fundraising initiatives to maintain our ability to conduct some of our events, while also exploring new opportunities and securing funding from additional sources.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dollar Energy Fund has increased utilization of its MyApp software to create additional access for program participation and will continue to use this online application and enrollment method when appropriate.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
10/1/20212020 95.77
6/1/20202019 92.92
6/1/20192018 91.16
7/1/20182017 91.16
8/1/20172016 92.69
12/21/20162015 89.39
8/1/20162015 89.02

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.

6/1/20162014 93.72
Rating Version: 2.0
9/1/20152014 88.27
6/1/20142013 90.74
8/1/20132012 97.83
5/1/20122011 97.92
9/20/20112010 97.91
Rating Version: 1.0
7/1/20112010 97.04
6/1/20102009 96.68
8/1/20092008 89.65
9/1/20082007 89.01
8/1/20072006 92.93
7/1/20062005 82.08
8/1/20052004 85.12
11/1/20042003 84.84

...   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

Dollar Energy Fund 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.


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Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



Dollar Energy Fund reported its two largest programs on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$17,243,962

Spent in most recent FY

98%

Percent of program expenses


ASSISTANCE WAS PROVIDED TO 25,873 FAMILIES FOR GAS, WATER, TELEPHONE, AND ELECTRICITY IN THE FORM OF CREDITS FROM UTILITY VENDORS AND PAYMENTS BY DOLLAR ENERGY FUND, INC. ON BEHALF OF NEEDY INDIVIDUAL ... (More)


$257,469

Spent in most recent FY

1%

Percent of program expenses


THE PITTSBURGH WATER AND SEWER AUTHORITY CREATED A RESIDENTIAL HOMEOWNER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM TO AID LOW INCOME HOMEOWNERS FACING POTENTIALLY STEEP COSTS TO REPAIR NON-COMPLIANT STORM SEWER CONNECTIONS  ... (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 Dollar Energy Fund is a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating.

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


Dollar Energy Fund's mission is to improve the quality of life for households experiencing hardships by providing utility assistance and other services that lead to self-sufficiency. We work with utility companies to design and administer programs that help low-income utility customers while balancing the needs of both the customer and the utility.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

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


Dollar Energy Fund, Inc. envisions a community where every resident understands and accesses community resources to solve their heat, light, and water payment problems as a step towards greater self-sufficiency.


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: Create career opportunities to retain key staff and maintain a "Best Places to Work” culture

Goal Type: Invest in the capacity of our organization (financial, management, technical, etc.).


Goal Two: Exploring opportunities to establish programs in new markets or to expand programs with existing partners and in current markets.

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


Goal Three: Create program efficiencies to reduce costs

Goal Type: Invest in the capacity of our organization (financial, management, technical, etc.).


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

Dollar Energy Fund has offered several leadership-focused training opportunities for management, supervisors and staff. Training topics include general employment best practices, employee relations and engagement, conducting performance reviews, documentation procedures, handling instances with reasonable suspicion of drug and alcohol use, FMLA policies, stress management, CPR certification and workplace safety procedures. Management team members are also encouraged to participate in professional associations specific to their individual roles (HR, Fundraising, Accounting, Communications, etc.), as well as actively participate in nonprofit associations and industry coalitions.

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

  • Policy Advocacy

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

Dollar Energy Fund's partnerships with community-based organizations for application intake allows those in need to apply for our services while also connecting them with resources--including career counseling, food assistance, child care and other needs-- that are available through these intake sites Our staff is active in the National Utility &Energy Affordability Coalition (NEUAC), which allows us to learn from similar organizations, share our best practices with others, and work together as advocates for the low-income community. Through our involvement with this organization, as well as through our own efforts on the local and state level, we have worked with government agencies to recommend policies and practices for local, state and federal energy assistance programs. Several members of our management team have presented at national and local conferences on topics related energy assistance programs, fundraising, outreach and technology.

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.


In the last year, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dollar Energy Fund has been committed to being a resource for our neighbors in need of utility assistance. We've taken the necessary steps to ensure the continuity of our programs and services, beginning with maintaining a work environment that ensures the health and safety of our employees. Many of our employees have transitioned to working from home, and we've implemented necessary technology programs to provide appropriate communications and training, while also maintaining the standard of our workplace culture. Because many households in our service territory have experienced financial struggles in the past year, the demand for assistance through our hardship program has increased. To meet this demand, we worked with our utility partners to ensure our program guidelines were updated to benefit the most vulnerable customers. We also secured additional funding through the CARES Act, which allowed our program to provide emergency relief for families, individuals and senior citizens in need beyond what we have typically been able to provide. Our online application portal has been enhanced to allow our clients to have continued and increased access to our programs, where applicable. Local, state and federal health and safety guidelines made it difficult to host our planned fundraising events. Our organization worked with our partners to make adjustments to our plans to allow us to continue the momentum associated with our more prominent fundraising events, while also ensuring we are operating with employee and community health and safety protections in place. While things looked different, we were able to achieve many of our fundraising goals and continue generating a funding stream to support our hardship program.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Additional Information

Unscored

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Organization Leadership

Organization Leadership


Chad Quinn

Chief Executive Officer

Joseph Ott

President

...   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

100

out of 100

The score earned by Dollar Energy Fund is a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of an organization's Culture and Community by measuring its Constituent Feedback practices (see report below). Constituent Feedback data provides 100% of the basis for the initial evaluation of the Culture & Community Beacon.


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Culture & Community Report

100

of 100 points

This beta feature is currently viewable only on desktop or tablet screens. Check back later for updates.

Constituent Feedback

Constituent Feedback

Full Credit


This organization reported that it is collecting feedback.


Here's how this organization is listening and learning from the people they serve:


How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Case management notes, Suggestion box/email


How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve


With whom does your organization share the feedback you got from the people you serve?

Our staff, Our board, Our community partners


What challenges does your organization face in collecting feedback from the people you serve?

It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback


Briefly describe a recent change that your organization made in response to feedback from the people you serve.

We have created additional ways to access our programs and complete our enrollment processes through text messaging and our website.



Methodology


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've partnered with GuideStar by Candid to survey organizations about their feedback practices. Nonprofit organizations can fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile to receive a rating.


Charity Navigator awards full credit for this Beacon to every nonprofit that is eligible for an Encompass Rating that completes the survey, in recognition of their willingness to publicly share this information with the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. This data is not evaluated for quality at this time. Validation will be added in future iterations of this Beacon.

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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