Cost of Fundraising
Is it true that the MS Society has a high cost of administration? Can you tell me where my fundraising dollars go?
The MS Society's administration expense for 2011 was 7.1 per cent. This covers things like administrative staff, office rental costs and insurance.
The cost of our fundraising events for the same period was 42.2 per cent. Some programs like MS Walk and MS Bike Tours are lower than this overall average while others like the MS Read-A-Thon and our direct mail program are higher.
Here is a breakdown of costs from our 2011 fiscal year. $33 million in program expenditures were disbursed as follows:
$10.8 million client services - including education programs, self-help groups, recreational and social programs, information and referral services, financial support for daily living or equipment needs, etc.
$9.8 million research - research grants, scholarships, fellowships, and support of our endMS Research & Training Network and new research funding into the relationship between CCSVI and MS
$6.9 million public education and awareness - awareness campaigns, newsletters
$4.0 million chapter and volunteer support and development - volunteer recruitment and training, as well as chapter support from division and national offices
$1.7 million government and community relations - educating all levels of government about needed changes to benefit people living with MS and assistance to clients dealing with local transit and accessibility issues.
The MS Society is a national charity led by volunteers who believe wholeheartedly in what we do and how we do it. We have over a million donors and 100,000 event participants annually supporting our work. We receive less than 3% of our revenue from the government. In contrast, according to Statistics Canada, the majority of charities in the health sector receive 70% of their funding from the government.
With virtually no government funding and comparatively low bequest revenue – sources of revenue that significantly lower the costs of fundraising for other charities – the MS Society must raise funds through a variety of means. Like any other charity that raises funds, fundraising costs are a reality. Some of our most grassroots events like our walking and cycling events have significant costs associated with them: staff to coordinate the event and manage thousands of volunteers who help organize the events, producing and mailing approximately 200,000 tax receipts annually, marketing materials to encourage participants to raise funds, prizes to reward fundraising efforts, security, and rental of start/finish locations among many others.
As a predominantly self-funded charity it would be risky and insufficient for us to focus on only one or two sources of funds. That's why we have to raise funds through a diverse portfolio of sources and campaigns, each with its own cost structure – much like businesses have different product lines with different profit margins.
Our reporting policies are transparent and responsible, and adherent to all government and industry standards. We have extensive volunteer oversight and control mechanisms to ensure every dollar raised is used to maximum benefit.
For more information please see the National Impact Report and National Stakeholders' Report.
Learn more about donating with confidence to the MS Society of Canada.