Accounting rules require a nonprofit to clearly communicate when it allocates a portion of its budget to ‘program’ combined with fundraising efforts. OPERATION LOOKOUT National Center for Missing Youth makes this distinction and has done so for many years. A ‘joint cost allocation’ is reported in the IRS 990 reports, yet there are times others’ reports reflect part of a picture. This multi-tasking activity has been this non profit's business model since its founding. Along with countless of casework man-hours given to assisting parents with child-search, additionally, getting the faces of missing, abducted, and runaway children out to the public via printed matter, blast emailings, and mail has always been a critical piece to the puzzle. This action received by thousands of interest citizens and passed forward to others serves to seek, to find, and to recover missing children. The business model of this outreach being performed additionally by a call center when making citizen contact for sponsorship and volunteer support is a working model that saves OPERATION LOOKOUT man hour costs and precious time needed to work with desperate families.
To imply otherwise is to place blame and a huge burden of tasks and activities on case managers' shoulders that is otherwise best performed by the hired services and willing volunteers. THIS HAS BEEN A WIN-WIN for all of these years, yet in recent years, it is not comprehended and it is treated as a poor reflection on ethics and policies of the organization. Donor dollars are respected and deeply appreciated--without it broad scope picture distribution (hands on help for parents in geographies they cannot reach) would be limited to a smaller sphere of influence when a global view is required. Without the motivation of 'the call' financial support nearly vanishes and thus would the service that has been provided since 1984.
OPERATION LOOKOUT has outsourced its ‘public service’ messages with dialing for dollars since 1984. This ‘coupling’ means the charity cost effectively duel-tasks outreach to thousands of caring USA citizens Working Together When Every Minutes Matters. This expense is neither ‘excessive’ nor ‘ineffective’, and reports such as this misinterpretations and discredits a powerful tool of outreach – making ‘recoveries’ OPERATION LOOKOUT'S most important end result - - our measuring stick. For more information about the services OL provides--always free of any charge for families whose children are missing, visit www.operationlookout.org. SEE 990 page 10 under cost allocation and the related PIE CHART on the website, both provided per the independent bookkeeping service and the CPA firm providing the annual IRS 990 reports and audit.
Working together with our intensely dedicated casework staff, professionals and volunteer citizens means increased hope that a missing child will be found. In 2010, according to the IRS 990 report JOINT COST ALLOCATION PAGE 10 LINES 25 and 26, 57.3% of every dollar raised goes to promotional efforts: communicating where to turn for help; who needs help via a sampling of missing children pictures; asking for volunteer help; and requesting financial support. Moreover, 40.24% is dedicated solely to missing child case management and parental crisis intervention. Management and general remains at a low 4.63%.
As OPERATION LOOKOUT'S cofounders, Mike and Melody Gibson, now semi-retired after 28 years of commitment to this cause, are saddened by disparaging remarks and misinformation that gains a cyber-life of its own with little regard to the harm caused. Out-sourcing some of the community outreach work to a call center has broadened the scope in which the nonprofit organization can focus its attention on its registered families from the USA and other countries.
Any donor that prefers not to give over the phone is encouraged to give directly, thus their contribution goes into 'child search program' and none will go to the expense of an outbound call. Visit www.operationlookout.org. For an info packet or to make a comment or inquire about registering a missing child, or to report a sighting call 1-800-LOOKOUT (566-5688), 1-800-782-SEEK (7335), 425-771-SEEK (7335). Write to OPERATION LOOKOUT 6320 Evergreen Way Ste 201 Everett, WA. 98203.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
that I have enjoyed the fruits of the experienced case managers and seen the results of their work on behalf of parents whose children are missing. It has been a pleasure these many years to serve in this capacity.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Insure that every donor is aware of the value of their gifts whether given via call center response or as a direct giving partner. The call center activities increase public exposure of the missing children's faces; tells where to turn for help and how to give help. A direct gift will go straight into child search activities with no middle man costs involved. I would strengthen any activity that expands missing children images and attempt to assure donors their gifts serve missing children as they wish.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?
OPERATION LOOKOUT could upgrade its computer equipment and software in 2012. It could expand its internship and job training program, thus allowing more young people the opportunity to learn the technical and emotional side of giving aid to desperate families.
Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)
I am now semi-retired and employed elsewhere due to downsizing. I have volunteered nearly 40 of my 62 years in either ministry or social services. It has been my pleasure to serve families that deal with the tragedy of having a missing, runaway or abducted child. During the years I was employed as OL'S Executive Director (until May 2010) it was an honor to be in that role.
How did this volunteer experience make you feel?
This experience has always been fulfilling to me.