Sierra Summit

Conversations and observations about California's mountains

March 31, 2009
Efficiency of green groups ranked

We hear a lot about energy efficiency these days. What about organizational efficiency?

The American Institute of Philanthropy, one of the nation's leading non-profit watchdogs, has just released its newest Charity Rating Guide and Watchdog Report in which it grades organizations (A through F) based on their fund-raising and organizational efficiency.  

The report is hard-copy only. If you're interested, I suggest that you subscribe and I'll include information about how to do that below.

But to give you a sample of what's in the report, here is how some environmental groups active in California and the Sierra fared:


                                             Cost to raise $100     Executive salary in 000's


American Forests           A-        19                          115 - 142

American Rivers            B-         21 - 32                 129 - 170

Arbor Day Foundation  B+         17 - 27                 187 - 388

Audubon Society             B          30                        309 - 390

Conservation Fund          A+        2                         218 - 476

Defenders of Wildlife       D         22 - 50                 212 - 315

Ducks Unlimited               A-       19 - 25                 232 - 292

Environmental Defense  B+     14 - 21                  271 - 417

Friends of the Earth         B+      14 - 16                  93 - 149

Greenpeace*                   C-       26 -50                     88 - 167

Nature Conservancy      A-       12                          270 - 407

Sierra Club*                    C         39                          219 - 264

Trout Unlimited              A-        14 - 16                 148 - 224

Trust for Public Land    A+        4                           182 - 282

Wilderness Society       C+     18 - 28                  173 - 267

World Wildlife Fund     B        15 - 27                   228 - 347

 *Contributions to these groups are not tax-deductible.

The American Institute of Philanthropy rates non-profit organizations of all stripes, from the Disabled Veterans Association to the American Cancer Society.  If you'd like to subscribe to the Charity Rating Guide and Watchdog Report, go to the following link:     

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About Sierra Summit

The Author
Tom Knudson lives in the Sierra Nevada and travels widely throughout the range. His hobbies include fly-fishing, backpacking and cross-country skiing. He is the recipient of numerous journalistic awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes, one for a 1992 Sacramento Bee series "Sierra in Peril," a watershed work about environmental threats to the mountain range. E-mail Tom at

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