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drgenenelson

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Smile Train, Inc.
August 22, 2010

Another charity that spends considerable funds advertising - and then sits on the money they rake in. The most recent IRS 990 certainly makes interesting reading. In 2007 their gross receipts were $130.6 million. Their investments totaled $107.1 million at year end. Service provider disbursements [Part II Other Grants] totaled a mere $14.03 million that year, or a minuscule 10.74% of gross receipts. They disguise their $23.6 million marketing expenditures as "public education." Another phony charity in my view.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Receiving an unsolicited targeted direct mailing, likely because my name was sold by a WDC nonprofit - and I have a "good" ZIP Code (Neilsen Claritas rates it as 04 - "Young Digerati - Tech Savvy, affluent...")

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Stop the "extortion by mail" The outside of the envelope like falsely claims that if I make one donation, we'll never ask for another donation again!" (There is also a large color photo of one of their cleft palate children.)

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Nothing

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Represent only about 7.6% of its 2007 gross receipts.

Ways to make it better...

They ceased their high pressure appeal to "liberal guilt."

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Honesty regarding the low level of disbursements to service providers as a fraction (10.74%) of their incredibly high 2007 gross income.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Sadly, there are other nonprofits, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that have pursued a similar marketing-intensive direct mail approach. SPLC's 2007 IRS 990 revealed a total of $191.8 million at year end.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field & I have worked as a staff member for several nonprofits. All of those nonprofits spent a considerably higher percentage of their receipts serving their intended audience.

Review from Guidestar