Mission: Unbound's mission is to walk with the poor and marginalized of the world.

Unbound 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.unbound.org

  One Elmwood Avenue
Kansas City KS 66103  

  800-875-6564


You are viewing this organization's new Charity Navigator profile page. To view the legacy version, click here.

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 91.74, 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. More recent filing data is available, but it has not been factored into this score, due to COVID-19's effect on this organization.

View this organization’s historical ratings.

Rating update postponed due to COVID-19's impact on this organization. View Unbound's response.


Back to Overall

Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio

92.7%


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

3.4%


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

3.7%


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

3.5%


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

$0.03


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

0.49 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

2.32%


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 can be reluctant to contribute to a charity when their name, address, or other basic information may become part of donor lists that are exchanged or sold, resulting in an influx of charitable solicitations from other organizations. Our analysts check the charity's website to see if the organization has a donor privacy policy in place and what it does and does not cover. 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



Scott Wasserman, President, CEO

$228,073 (0.17% 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:

Activity data not reported from the IRS


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

This organization was impacted by COVID-19 in a way that effected their financial health in 2020. This normally would have reduced their star rating. 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, and doing this pauses our revision of their rating. Charities may submit their own pandemic responses through their nonprofit portal.


Unbound reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue

  • Balance Sheet


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

While revenues were up slightly in 2020, they fell below forecasted levels. This was due to fundraising limitations at in-person presentations. Unbound saw a nearly 60% drop in weekend appeals at churches, our main source of new sponsors for children, young adults and elders in need. This led to a record net loss in sponsorships of more than 8,500, which in turn had a negative impact on revenues and will affect our organization for years to come. Unbound received a Paycheck Protection Program loan. The sponsorship losses and PPP loan that helped to mitigate the short-term impact were reflected in our revenue and balance sheet for 2020.


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

Unbound’s cash transfer method of distributing aid continued without interruption, providing a lifeline for sponsored individuals and their families in the global health crisis. While in-person interactions between staff and families were disrupted — including home visits by social workers, community gatherings, mothers group meetings and other activities — local Unbound teams stayed connected with families by communicating with group leaders and other members with access to technology. Local teams focused on COVID prevention strategies and used cell phones, messaging apps, social media, radio broadcasts and other means to pass along important health and safety information and stay connected with families.


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

Unbound adapted its programs to respond to needs created by the pandemic, including accelerating the use of cash transfers and expanding digital communication capabilities, both of which had already begun before the crisis. Many Unbound programs around the world saw families shifting their sponsorship resources to immediate needs such as food. The flexibility of local programs and Unbound’s cash transfer method of distributing aid allowed families to use funds for what they needed most. As education moved online, scholarship students were encouraged to use funds for education-related technology needs. The program’s required service component was adapted to allow for distance completion. Many scholars focused on COVID-19 prevention initiatives in the community, while some continued with tutoring younger students and other community programming to sponsored members using virtual methods.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

Innovations in digital communication will continue post-pandemic. Our organization concluded that we need to have a more complete digital management package (micro-program dashboard/app) for families in the program, for the sake of better efficiency and more ongoing communication. For correspondence between sponsors and sponsored members, we need streamlined communication. The advantages the digital methods offer are faster delivery of correspondence, faster collection of correspondence, and providing contactless options that protect the health and safety of staff members and sponsored individuals and their families. We reaffirmed the fact that we need to continue exploring digital options to increase communication with families. An app will give them a tool to manage their own participation in the program.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
2/1/20212019 91.74
10/1/20192018 91.76
12/21/20182017 91.05
7/1/20182016 90.06
2/1/20172015 92.20
6/1/20162014 92.66
Rating Version: 2.0
12/1/20152014 87.19
5/1/20152013 88.97
12/20/20132012 88.83
2/1/20132011 85.62
3/1/20122010 89.41
9/20/20112009 92.63
Rating Version: 1.0
12/1/20102009 88.49
4/1/20102008 94.45
4/1/20092007 94.46
5/1/20082006 94.37
12/1/20062005 94.28
1/1/20062004 94.27
11/1/20042003 94.23
11/1/20032002 94.12
10/15/20022001 94.10
4/15/20022000 94.02

Previous: Finance & Accountability  / Next: Leadership & Adaptability

...   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

Unbound 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.


Back to Overall

Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



Unbound reported its two largest programs on its FY 2019 Form 990 as:


$119,107,938

Spent in most recent FY

96%

Percent of program expenses


Sponsorship


$4,274,036

Spent in most recent FY

3%

Percent of program expenses


Scholarships


Previous: Impact & Results  / Next: Culture & Community

...   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 Unbound 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.


Back to Overall

Leadership & Adaptability Report

100

of 100 points

Mission

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


Unbound's mission is to walk with the poor and marginalized of the world.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

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


Unbound exists to change the world’s view of the poor, to build an inclusive community dedicated to advancing human dignity and eliminating poverty in all its forms.


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: Program evaluation: Continue to expand and implement methods to measure and report accomplishments of families at local and global levels.

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


Goal Two: Poverty Stoplight: Implement a framework to help families articulate and prioritize their individual goals for participation in the program.

Goal Type: New program(s) based on observed changes in needs among our constituencies/communities served.


Goal Three: Agents of Change: Expand new program to empower local Unbound groups to improve their communities.

Goal Type: New program(s) based on observed changes in needs among our constituencies/communities served.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

After carefully considering our organization’s strategic priorities and needs, the Unbound Governing Board approved an investment in development for our President and CEO. As a result, he was able to participate in the Center for Creative Leadership’s “Leading Strategically Experience.” This course is intended to help leaders improve their strategic leadership skills to achieve goals, drive performance and align short-term action with long-term direction. The program teaches leaders the skills to handle complexity, bridge boundaries and shape organizational culture for success.

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:
  • Networks of Collective Impact Efforts

  • Thought Leadership

  • Raising Awareness

  • Community Building

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

Unbound engages in thought leadership through participation in public events such as those hosted by Kansas City-based Nonprofit Connect, and through industry groups including Skol World Forum and Cash Learning Partnership. (CaLP creates industry guidance on group cash transfers in a development context vs. aid.) Through our Agents of Change platform, leadership creates a community organizing framework and financial support to allow community members to take action and gain experience in community organizing. Unbound participates in the Child Sponsorship Inter-agency group, a forum for discussing areas of common interest to organizations with international child sponsorship as part of their approach to ending poverty. Leadership ensures the organizational resources are available for marketing and communications activities to raise awareness of our mission and work, and that resources are appropriately aligned with our organization’s strategy and plans to fulfill our mission.

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.


Unbound adapted its programs to respond to needs created by the pandemic. First, many programs around the world saw families shifting their resources to immediate needs such as food. The flexibility of the local programs and Unbound’s cash transfer method of distributing aid allowed families to use funds for what they needed most. Second, Unbound continued to digitize its program with respect to direct benefits made through electronic transfers to individual bank accounts owned by the beneficiaries themselves, and with respect to communication with families. About 94% of families receive sponsorship assistance through cash transfers, which have been a lifeline during the pandemic as workers in the informal economy saw their jobs shut down or significantly restricted. While in-person interactions between Unbound staff and families were disrupted—including home visits by social workers, community gatherings, mothers group meetings and other activities—local Unbound teams stayed connected with families by communicating with group leaders and other members with access to technology. Local teams focused on COVID prevention strategies and used cell phones, messaging apps, social media, radio broadcasts and other means to pass along important health and safety information and stay connected with families. Third, in 2020, Unbound sent more than $2.4 million in emergency COVID assistance to the field to help families in dire need because of the pandemic. The funds were raised from sponsor donations for disaster response and other critical needs. Finally, as education moved online in the pandemic, scholarship students were encouraged to use funds for education-related technology needs. The program’s required service component was adapted to allow for distance completion. Many scholars focused on COVID-19 prevention initiatives in the community, while some continued with tutoring younger students and other community programming to sponsored members using virtual methods.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Additional Information

Unscored

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Organization Leadership

Organization Leadership


Scott Wasserman

President and Chief Executive Officer

David Herbison

Chief Governing Officer

Previous: Leadership & Adaptability

...   Culture & Community


This score provides an assessment of the organization's culture and connectedness to the community it serves. Learn more about how and why we rate Culture & Community.


Culture & Community Score

100

out of 100

Unbound has earned a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating. The organization provided data about how it listens to constituents (Constituent Feedback) (see report below).

The Culture & Community Beacon is comprised of the following metrics:

  • Constituent Feedback: 100/100 (100% of beacon score)

  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: Not Scored


Back to Overall

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

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion


This organization has not provided information regarding the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices it is presently implementing. As such, the organization has not earned a score on this metric. Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations implementing effective DEI policies and practices can enhance a nonprofit's decision-making, staff motivation, innovation, and effectiveness.


Methodology


We are utilizing data collected by Candid to document and assess the DEI practices implemented by the organization. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the Equity Strategies section of their Candid profiles to receive a rating.


Learn more about the methodology.

Constituent Feedback


Constituent Feedback and Listening Practice data are not available for this organization. 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.



Methodology


We've partnered with 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.


Learn more about the methodology.

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. Below you can find more information about the metrics we currently evaluate in this beacon and their relevance to nonprofit performance.


Constituent Feedback


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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