Thursday, September 25, 2008

Keeping Costs Low at SCS

The first time the term “overhead” was explained to me, I understood it as “the cost of keeping the lights on” and similar expenses. In other words, direct costs are those that go directly through the program and into the tummies, homes, and lives of seniors. Later, I learned that fundraising and administration costs are part of overhead as well. At SCS, we cultivate a culture of financial soundness, and creative methods are employed to maximize both efficiency and quality. For example, SCS minimizes fuel costs by varying the delivery schedule for Meals On Wheels Atlanta and planning HOMES projects close together. The effect on seniors is neutral, if not positive, and the money saved can be distributed to increase the number of older adults receiving supportive services.

Senior Citizen Services is proud to have only 15% overhead. Unless you work in resource development, that number probably means little. When you donate $20, we spend $17 on food, gas, lumber, tools, routing software, activity supplies, etc., that directly benefit our clients. We spend just $3 of that $20 donation to keep the lights on, cash checks, pay salaries, raise funds, and the like. By contrast, the federal government’s welfare program has a 95% overhead cost – only $1 of every $20 in the program’s budget goes directly to people in need.

Senior Citizen Services recognizes that our donors choose to support this organization because they care about seniors. Thanks to a forward-thinking mission and vision, our supporters can count on SCS being a safe place for their investment for many years to come.

—Jaclyn Barbarow

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