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International : Development and Relief Services (Grantmaking/Grants Payable)

Water 1st International

Supporting water projects that last

three stars

84.83

1904 Third Avenue Suite 1012
Seattle, WA 98101
tel: (206) 297-3024   Web Site
EIN: 20-2601035

Board Leadership
Heather Leach
Chair

CEO
Marla Smith-Nilson
Executive Director

  Score
(out of 100)
Rating
Overall Score & Rating 84.83 three stars
  Financial 78.56 two stars
  Accountability & Transparency 100.00 four stars
This rating was published 02/01/2020 and includes data from FY2018, the most recent 990 received at that time.

Water1st International's mission is to enable the world's poorest people to implement and sustain community-managed projects integrating clean water supply, toilets, and hygiene education. We unite people to fight the global water and sanitation crisis. We believe this worldwide, silent catastrophe will be solved when people come together as a concerned community and take effective, simple actions. Water1st was created to support water projects that would last. Our vision was to support local, on-the-ground organizations (our partners in this work) with a proven track record of implementing effective, long-lasting water and sanitation projects. And since most international nonprofit organizations do not follow up on their projects, we would be different.

Water1st International's mission is to enable the world's poorest people to implement and sustain community-managed projects integrating clean water supply, toilets, and hygiene education. We unite people to fight the global water and sanitation crisis. We believe this worldwide, silent catastrophe will be solved when people come together as a concerned community and take effective, simple actions. Water1st was created to support water projects that would last. Our vision was to support local, on-the-ground organizations (our partners in this work) with a proven track record of implementing effective, long-lasting water and sanitation projects. And since most international nonprofit organizations do not follow up on their projects, we would be different.

Impact Information

GuideStar is Charity Navigator's trusted partner in sharing information on how this organization seeks impact.  GuideStar has recognized this organization with a Platinum Seal of Transparency for voluntarily and publicly sharing information about how they measure their progress and results.  Learn More about Impact Information.
Reported Results
Total in 2019
Number of clients served
17,511
This impact information is current as of August 2020, when it was provided to us by GuideStar. At this time, Impact information published on this organization's page has no effect on its rating per our methodology.

Financial

two stars

78.56

Accountability & Transparency

four stars

100.00

This rating was published 02/01/2020 and includes data from FY2018, the most recent 990 received at that time.
Overall Rating Chart
  Program Expenses
(Percent of the charity's total expenses spent on the programs
and services it delivers)
86.3%
  Administrative Expenses 2.1%
  Fundraising Expenses 11.5%
  Fundraising Efficiency $0.10
  Working Capital Ratio (years) 0.26
  Program Expenses Growth 5.1%
  Liabilities to Assets 71.4%
All data for Financial Performance Metrics calculations was provided by Water 1st International on recent 990s filed with the IRS.
All data for Financial Performance Metrics calculations was provided by Water 1st International on recent 990s filed with the IRS.

Highly Rated

Charity Name & State Overall Score Overall Rating
Water 1st International (WA) 84.83 three stars
Himalayan Cataract Project (VT) 98.23 four stars
Children's HeartLink (MN) 87.39 three stars
Crisis Aid International (MO) 99.28 four stars
Health Equity International (MA) 95.87 four stars

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REVENUE  
Contributions  
   Contributions, Gifts & Grants $1,509,351
   Federated Campaigns $0
   Membership Dues $0
   Fundraising Events $1,474,642
   Related Organizations $0
   Government Grants $0
Total Contributions $2,983,993
   Program Service Revenue $0
Total Primary Revenue $2,983,993
   Other Revenue $-79,623
TOTAL REVENUE $2,904,370
   
EXPENSES  
   Program Expenses $2,041,367
   Administrative Expenses $56,809
   Fundraising Expenses $315,876
TOTAL FUNCTIONAL EXPENSES $2,414,052
   
Payments to Affiliates $0
Excess (or Deficit) for the year $490,318
   
Net Assets $649,602

Program names and associated costs are listed for the top programs as reported on the charity's most recently filed Form 990. The top programs displayed will include the largest three programs, or those programs covering at least 60% of the charity's total expenses, whichever comes first.

Due to an error on this organization's Form 990, we are unable to display program information.

Ratings History

Form 990 FYE Date Published Overall Score Overall Rating
CN 2.1
2018-12 02/01/2020 84.83 three stars

The data displayed on this tab is provided by the IRS in the form of Publication 78 and the Business Master File (BMF).

EIN 20-2601035
Name in IRS Master File WATER FIRST INTERNATIONAL
NTEE Code T12
NTEE Classification Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution
NTEE Type Philanthropy, Voluntarism and Grantmaking Foundations
Classification Charitable Organization
Subsection 501(c)(3)  (View the list of codes)
Activities
Foundation Status Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
Deductibility Contributions are deductible
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).
Group Name [Not Applicable]
Ruling Date June, 2005
Filing Requirement 990 (all other) or 990EZ return
Fiscal Year End December
IRS Forms 990
(provided courtesy of Foundation Center)
(Log In or Register Now to View Forms 990!)
  • December, 2018
  • December, 2017
  • December, 2016
  • December, 2015
  • December, 2014
Compensation % of Expenses Paid to Title
$92,475 3.83% Marla Smith-Nilson Executive Director

Highly Rated

Charity Name & State Overall Score Overall Rating
Water 1st International (WA) 84.83 three stars
Living Goods (CA) 91.45 four stars
ActionAid USA (DC) 85.32 three stars
Baptist Medical & Dental Mission International (MS) 87.44 three stars
Mercy Without Limits (KS) 91.45 four stars

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This charity has an official representative registered with Charity Navigator.

Official Charity Response

Fundraising Efficiency

The only way for us to increase our scores in fundraising is to raise more money. We have a small, nimble staff, and we are very efficient in our fundraising. Our average percent of expenses allocated to fundraising over the past 5 years is 11%. The biggest expense line item for many organizations operating in our sector is salaries. Our biggest line item is our water and sanitation projects by a factor of 4 over salaries. 

 

Working Capital Ratio and Liabilities to Assets

We do not have an endowment or a giant rainy-day fund. We do, however, always have enough savings to provide us with 12 months of operating expenses. As a result of our careful budgeting, during 2020, we have not reduced our commitments to any of our international partners nor have we let go of any staff. We have made the strategic decision to prioritize grassroots fundraising (which is diversified funding) and we must raise funds each year to support our charitable work. We rely on the commitment of our donors, and we spend the money they send us each year on water projects. We do not leave those funds in a savings account for longer than a year. We spend them on the communities on our waiting list for water projects.

 

Liabilities to Assets ratio

This score reflects the fact that we put our commitments to our international partners in writing each year, so they are recorded on our balance sheet as liabilities. We feel good about making these written commitments. We have lived up to our commitments every year for 15 years and in 2020, when many international organizations have immediately cut the budgets of their programs, we have been able to meet 100% our commitments to our partners. On our balance sheet, these commitments appear as debts. They are simply our formal commitment to our partners and our donors to do what we said we’d do with the funds we have raised. It’s also important for our international partners to know that they can rely on these funds. It has helped them retain experienced staff and gain a trustworthy reputation as organizations that live up to their promises, in the regions where they work.

 

Our projects last

While the general percentages are one way of evaluating a nonprofit, we also encourage supporters to look closely at what we accomplish. Our challenge is not just spending your donations efficiently, but also effectively. We closely monitor the work of our in-country partners, to make sure your investments continue to be lasting and sustainable. There is more information about how we monitor our partners on our website.

Charity Contact Info

Water 1st International
1904 Third Avenue
Suite 1012
Seattle, WA 98101
tel: (206) 297-3024
EIN: 20-2601035

Visit Web Site

Board Leadership

Heather Leach
Chair

CEO

Marla Smith-Nilson
Executive Director

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