Gross or net?

Last week, a very dear friend of mine emailed me with a question. She was wondering how is the right way to report to her donors and the public how much money one of her special event fundraisers had generated. Is it more transparent and appropriate to report the event’s “gross income”? Or is it more honest to report “net income”?

As I typically do, I went to the great “internet oracle” called Google and conducted a search on the question. I didn’t find anything exactly “on point,” but I did find some very interesting stuff that I think is worthy of sharing:

Getting back to the original question: “how to report special event revenue to donors” … perhaps we should try to first create a litmus test to measure “transparency related questions”. I think a transparent non-profit organization might exhibit the following traits:

  • always telling the truth
  • sharing all relevant fact with stakeholders
  • being accurate and authentic
  • being upfront and avoiding surprises

Here is what says about “non-profit transparency“.

Applying a “transparency test” to this question, I lean towards the conclusion that it is appropriate to share ALL relevant information about the special event. Why not tell donors that the event grossed $X and costed $Y, which resulted in net revenue of $Z?

That is just my two cents … what do you think? How does your non-profit organization report its special event revenue to donors, board volunteers and the community?

Here is to your health!

Erik Anderson
Owner, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847!/profile.php?id=1021153653

About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on June 20, 2011, in resource development and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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