Mission: Established in 1977, Dogs for Better Lives (formerly Dogs for the Deaf) is a national non-profit organization that rescues, breeds, professionally trains, and places ... (More)

Dogs for Better Lives is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1977, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  https://dogsforbetterlives.org/

 10175 Wheeler Road
Central Point OR 97502 

  800-990-3647


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

Star Rating System


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 98.12, 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

84.3%


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

7.5%


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

8.1%


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

1.1%


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

$0.09


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

4.60 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

7.55%


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 up to five of this organization's highest compensated employees. This compensation data includes salary, cash bonuses, and expense accounts and is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts include salary, cash bonuses, and expense accounts. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on Form W-2. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



BRYAN WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT/CEO

$152,564


AL LANE, IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR

$0


MATT DUNBAR, SECRETARY

$0


BRIAN MCQUADE, BOARD MEMBER

$0


RONALD H HOLZKAMP CPA, BOARD MEMBER

$0


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:

Other scientific research activities (BMF activity code: 199)

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.


Dogs for Better Lives reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Revenue

  • Staffing

  • Administrative Capacity


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

Many of the dog shelters that we work with, have been closed and/or on limited schedules, impacting our ability to access and search for suitable dogs for training in our Assistance Dog programs. Of the shelters that are now operable, we have had our visiting time restricted and continue to be challenged with finding suitable number of rescue dogs. We also applied and received the PPP loan and thus were able to employ a full staff.


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

Due to the pandemic, we have been limited with travel outside the west coast, therefore limiting our ability to meet face-to-face (required) follow-ups with existing teams (client and dog). Across the west, we have more than 20 puppy raisers who meet weekly with puppy training classes. Though, during the pandemic, they have been challenged with meeting in public places, therefore moving more of their meetings to Teams/Zoom video calls.


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

Utilizing video conferencing, allowing (where possible) staff to work remote, and providing staff with more flexibility with planning their schedules, are some of the ways we have worked to adapt during COVID19. Since early 2020, we have created several new partnerships with dog breeders and sister Assistance Dog organizations, in an attempt to acquire more purpose-bred dogs for our training programs. Our breeding program which was already in existence prior to COVID, has now been expedited and continues to be a top priority of growth moving forward.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

Flexibility with remote employees and work, video conferencing meetings, and launching northeast campus (MA).


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
7/1/20212020 98.12
3/1/20202019 96.88
3/1/20192018 95.93
5/1/20182017 95.67
4/1/20172016 93.78
6/1/20162015 94.61
Rating Version: 2.0
4/1/20162015 95.32
2/1/20152014 90.94
6/1/20142013 94.42
7/1/20132012 88.73
3/1/20122011 89.59
9/20/20112010 86.12
Rating Version: 1.0
3/1/20112010 80.37
5/1/20102009 75.99
4/1/20092008 94.39
3/1/20082007 98.02
2/1/20072006 99.10
3/1/20062005 96.21
2/1/20052004 96.12
2/1/20042003 73.31
2/5/20032002 79.24
10/15/20022001 96.11

...   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

Dogs for Better Lives 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 Dogs for Better Lives? Join the waitlist for an updated Impact & Results score.


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Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



Dogs for Better Lives reported its two largest programs on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$2,395,371

Spent in most recent FY

75%

Percent of program expenses


DBL TRAINERS TRAVEL TO ANIMAL SHELTERS ACROSS THE WESTERN U.S. TO EVALUATE DOGS FOR APPROPRIATE TEMPERAMENT, CONFIDENCE, AND WORK ETHIC. DOGS MEETING SPECIFIC CRITERIA ARE BROUGHT TO DBL'S SOUTHERN OR ... (More)


$794,931

Spent in most recent FY

24%

Percent of program expenses


DBL'S PUBLIC EDUCATION IS PRIMARILY DONE THROUGH SHARING OF DIGITAL ONLINE MEDIA AND PRINTED MATERIALS, INCLUDING ITS BI-ANNUAL MAGAZINE, CANINE LISTENER. THE ORGANIZATION PRESENTS TO SEVERAL DIVERSE  ... (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 Dogs for Better Lives 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


Established in 1977, Dogs for Better Lives (formerly Dogs for the Deaf) is a national non-profit organization that rescues, breeds, professionally trains, and places dogs with people who have different disabilities and needs throughout the United States. Our three primary programs include Hearing Assistance Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs (currently placing in OR, WA, and CA), and Facility Dogs (that work with teachers, counselors, and physicians), all placed at no cost to the client. Tours of Dogs for Better Lives' southern Oregon campus are by appointment, taking place on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 1:00 pm. The address is 10175 Wheeler Road, Central Point, OR, 97502. For more information visit www.dogsforbetterlives.org or call 1-800-990-DOGS (3647).


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

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


To pursue a truly National Organization will require implementation of an organizational model that includes training, development, finance, and operational function strategically positioned to serve defined regional populations. Our Chief Executive Officer, Bryan Williams has articulated a vision for such an organization based, in part on his prior experience in another Assistance Dog training organization. This vision is included in this plan as an Attachment. The key points of this vision follow: > Geographic regions > Organizational concept to manage a National entity > Annual operating expenses covered by annual giving > Strategic regional development for optimal success. > Training and placing 400 certified dogs annually when fully implemented.


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: Significantly scale the number of mission placements with a specific goal of annual placement growth in the ‘West Region.’

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


Goal Two: Operate at break-even financially by focusing on annual giving while better defining the board’s assistance in fundraising efforts.

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


Goal Three: Be good stewards of organization’s assets, focusing on retaining strong reserves or determine if those reserves should be used to scale the mission.

Goal Type: Focus on core programs to achieve mission and scale back on programs not seen as core.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

CEO working with Human Resources Director and leadership team, to provide educational trainings, webinars, and annual all-staff strategic planning meetings with entire staff.

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

  • Raising Awareness

  • Community Building

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

DBL continuously works at the local, regional, and national levels, creating long-term partnerships. One example is working with our accrediting body, Assistance Dogs International (ADI), to identify Assistance Dogs organizations we can collaborate with. Since 2020, we have created five new partnerships within ADI that have helped to grow our project pipelines and benefit our new partners at the same time.

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.


Over the last year, DBL has adapted in several ways. Fortunately, we were able to quickly move the majority of staff to remote work with laptops, communication ,and access to all work via cloud-based software. Obviously, in some critical staff (e.g. training program) needed to be on campus. Since a number of our dogs come from shelters and other rescue facilities, we were certainly challenged with finding these businesses open. If shelters were open, we often found it difficult to find enough suitable dogs for our Assistance Dog programs. Fortunately, we were already in process of developing partnerships with other sister Service Dog organizations. In addition to Guide Dogs for the Blind (CA, OR), we now partner with Guide Dog Foundation (NY) and Southeastern Guide Dogs (FL), who we acquire dogs annually from. Further, we are a founding member of Assistance Dogs International (accrediting body), and through their national ABC Cooperative, we have received 5-10 puppies annually over last two years. This has especially benefitted us in 2020-21. Now with staff in eight different states and all being monitored with different state guidelines, particularly as it relates to the COVID19 pandemic, it has been a little challenging at times. All of our staff have (to varying degrees) flexibility in building their weekly schedules, with approx 80% of staff have flexibility to continue working remote, even beyond the pandemic period.

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

Dogs for Better Lives 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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