Overhead blog post: get to know how your generous contributions impact our community.

Your Questions Answered: A Look at Overhead

Apr 9, 2024 | Blog

In the evolving world of nonprofit management, there are all kinds of financial metrics that measure performance and accountability. As we engage with corporate partners, recurring and potential donors, people often ask, “What is your overhead?” In other words:

– Is United Way of Greater Nashville doing a good job with managing expenses?
– Are my donations making a real difference?

The answer is a resounding yes. Bottom line (pun intended), we put your dollars to work through programs and services that help our neighbors. This is achieved through our in-house programs and initiatives as well as strategic nonprofit partnerships that amplify our mission.

The industry benchmark for program expense ratio is usually 70%, sometimes 65%. United Way of Greater Nashville surpasses this standard with a program expense ratio of 91.1%. This means that 91 cents (plus a tiny fraction of a penny) from every dollar that you give helps our programs thrive and supports the essential work of our funded partners. Together, we are connecting thousands of individuals and families to services that align with our core priorities: health, education, financial stability and basic needs.

What about the remaining nine cents? We use that to cover general expenses and essential fundraising and marketing activities such as donor engagement, outreach efforts and maintaining our website.

As you know costs continue to rise, so we work diligently across our administrative and community impact teams to budget as efficiently as possible. Shout out to our budgeting wizards — our finance team and finance committee within our board of trustees. They help us balance our strategic goals and spending so that we can sustain the organization, foster community-based work and grow our programs.

Explore our financial performance and the impact of your donations at Charity Navigator and our most recent Annual Report.