Charity Review

  • Issued: October 2014
  • Expires: October 2016

Cheetah Conservation Fund

Standards Not Met

  • 1
  • 3
  • 6
  • 7
  • 16
  • 18

866-909-3399

2210 Mount Vernon Avenue, Second Floor
Alexandria, VA 22301

http://www.cheetah.org

866-909-3399

2210 Mount Vernon Avenue, Second Floor
Alexandria, VA 22301

http://www.cheetah.org

Standards Not Met

This organization does not meet one or more of the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. Click the conclusions section below for more information.

Standards For Charity Accountability

Governance

  1. Board Oversight

    Oversight of Operations and Staff: Standard 1

    Description
    Organizations shall have a board of directors that provides adequate oversight of the charity's operations and its staff. Indication of adequate oversight includes, but is not limited to, regularly scheduled appraisals of the CEO's performance, evidence of disbursement controls such as board approval of the budget, fund raising practices, establishment of a conflict of interest policy, and establishment of accounting procedures sufficient to safeguard charity finances.

    CCF does not meet this Standard because its board of directors does not:

    • Review the performance of the chief executive officer at least once every two years.

  2. Board Size

    Number of Board Members: Standard 2

    Description
    Soliciting organizations shall have a board of directors with a minimum of five voting members.

    The organization meets this standard.

  3. Board Meetings

    Frequency and Attendance of Board Meetings: Standard 3

    Description
    An organization shall have a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings per year of the full governing body with a majority in attendance, with face-to-face participation. A conference call of the full board can substitute for one of the three meetings of the governing body. For all meetings, alternative modes of participation are acceptable for those with physical disabilities.

    CCF does not meet this Standard because:

    • Although the board of directors held three board meetings in 2013, only one meeting was held in-person.

  4. Board Compensation

    Compensated Board Members: Standard 4

    Description
    Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.

    The organization meets this standard.

  5. Conflict of Interest

    Conflict of Interest: Standard 5

    Description
    No transaction(s) in which any board or staff members have material conflicting interests with the charity resulting from any relationship or business affiliation. Factors that will be considered when concluding whether or not a related party transaction constitutes a conflict of interest and if such a conflict is material, include, but are not limited to: any arm's length procedures established by the charity; the size of the transaction relative to like expenses of the charity; whether the interested party participated in the board vote on the transaction; if competitive bids were sought and whether the transaction is one-time, recurring or ongoing.

    The organization meets this standard.

Measuring Effectiveness

  1. Effectiveness Policy

    Board Policy on Effectiveness: Standard 6

    Description
    Have a board policy of assessing, no less than every two years, the organization's performance and effectiveness and of determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

    CCF does not meet this Standard because:

    • The board of directors does not have a written policy stating that, at least every two years, an appraisal be done assessing the organization’s performance and effectiveness and determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

  2. Effectiveness Report

    Board Approval of Written Report on Effectiveness: Standard 7

    Description
    Submit to the organization's governing body, for its approval, a written report that outlines the results of the aforementioned performance and effectiveness assessment and recommendations for future actions.

     CCF does not meet this Standard because: 

    • The board of directors has never performed an effectiveness assessment.

Finances

  1. Program Expenses

    Program Service Expense Ratio: Standard 8

    Description
    Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.

    The organization meets this standard.

  2. Fund Raising Expenses

    Fund Raising Expense Ratio: Standard 9

    Description
    Spending should be no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies, and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.

    The organization meets this standard.

  3. Accumulating Funds

    Ending Net Assets: Standard 10

    Description
    Avoid accumulating funds that could be used for current program activities. To meet this standard, the charity's unrestricted net assets available for use should not be more than three times the size of the past year's expenses or three times the size of the current year's budget, whichever is higher.

    The organization meets this standard.

  4. Audit Report

    Financial Statements: Standard 11

    Description
    Make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. When total annual gross income exceeds $500,000, these statements should be audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $500,000, a review by a certified public accountant is sufficient to meet this standard. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $250,000, an internally produced, complete financial statement is sufficient to meet this standard.

    The organization meets this standard.

  5. Detailed Expense Breakdown

    Detailed Functional Breakdown of Expenses: Standard 12

    Description
    Include in the financial statements a breakdown of expenses (e.g., salaries, travel, postage, etc.) that shows what portion of these expenses was allocated to program, fund raising, and administrative activities. If the charity has more than one major program category, the schedule should provide a breakdown for each category.

    The organization meets this standard.

  6. Accurate Expense Reporting

    Accuracy of Expenses in Financial Statements: Standard 13

    Description
    Accurately report the charity's expenses, including any joint cost allocations, in its financial statements. For example, audited or unaudited statements which inaccurately claim zero fund raising expenses or otherwise understate the amount a charity spends on fund raising, and/or overstate the amount it spends on programs will not meet this standard.

    The organization meets this standard.

  7. Budget Plan

    Budget: Standard 14

    Description
    Have a board-approved annual budget for its current fiscal year, outlining projected expenses for major program activities, fund raising, and administration.

    The BBB is unable to verify if this organization meets this standard.

Fund Raising & Info

  1. Truthful Materials

    Misleading Appeals: Standard 15

    Description
    Have solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means, that are accurate, truthful and not misleading, both in whole and in part. Appeals that omit a clear description of program(s) for which contributions are sought will not meet this standard. A charity should also be able to substantiate that the timing and nature of its expenditures are in accordance with what is stated, expressed, or implied in the charity's solicitations.

    The BBB is unable to verify if this organization meets this standard.

  2. Annual Report

    Annual Report: Standard 16

    Description
    Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

    CCF does not meet this Standard because the 2013 annual report did not include:

    • A roster of the board of directors
    • Total income.
    • Total program expenses.
    • Total fund raising expenses.
    • Total administrative expenses.
    • Total end of year net assets.

  3. Website Disclosures

    Web Site Disclosures: Standard 17

    Description
    Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.

    The organization meets this standard.

  4. Donor Privacy

    Privacy for Written Appeals & Internet Privacy: Standard 18

    Description
    Address privacy concerns of donors by (a) providing in written appeals, at least annually, a means (e.g., such as a check off box) for both new and continuing donors to inform the charity if they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization, (b) providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on any of its websites that tells visitors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them by the charity and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact the charity to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform the charity (e.g., a check off box) that the visitor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures the charity has in place to protect personal information.

    CCF does not meet this Standard because the privacy policy on this website, www.cheetah.org does not indicate:

    • What security measures are in place to protect personal information that is collected.

  5. Cause Marketing Disclosures

    Cause Related Marketing: Standard 19

    Description
    Clearly disclose how the charity benefits from the sale of products or services (i.e., cause-related marketing) that state or imply that a charity will benefit from a consumer sale or transaction. Such promotions should disclose, at the point of solicitation: (a) the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity (e.g., 5 cents will be contributed to abc charity for every xyz company product sold), (b) the duration of the campaign (e.g., the month of October), (c) any maximum or guaranteed minimum contribution amount (e.g., up to a maximum of $200,000).

    The organization meets this standard.

  6. Complaints

    Complaints: Standard 20

    Description
    Respond promptly to and act on complaints brought to its attention by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and/or local Better Business Bureaus about fund raising practices, privacy policy violations and/or other issues.

    The organization meets this standard.

Conclusion

Cheetah Conservation Fund does not meet the following 6 Standards for Charity Accountability:

Standard 1 - Oversight of Operations and Staff
Organizations shall have a board of directors that provides adequate oversight of the charity's operations and its staff. Indication of adequate oversight includes, but is not limited to, regularly scheduled appraisals of the CEO's performance, evidence of disbursement controls such as board approval of the budget, fund raising practices, establishment of a conflict of interest policy, and establishment of accounting procedures sufficient to safeguard charity finances.

CCF does not meet this Standard because its board of directors does not:

  • Review the performance of the chief executive officer at least once every two years.

Standard 3 - Frequency and Attendance of Board Meetings
An organization shall have a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings per year of the full governing body with a majority in attendance, with face-to-face participation. A conference call of the full board can substitute for one of the three meetings of the governing body. For all meetings, alternative modes of participation are acceptable for those with physical disabilities.

CCF does not meet this Standard because:

  • Although the board of directors held three board meetings in 2013, only one meeting was held in-person.

Standard 6 - Board Policy on Effectiveness
Have a board policy of assessing, no less than every two years, the organization's performance and effectiveness and of determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

CCF does not meet this Standard because:

  • The board of directors does not have a written policy stating that, at least every two years, an appraisal be done assessing the organization’s performance and effectiveness and determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

Standard 7 - Board Approval of Written Report on Effectiveness
Submit to the organization's governing body, for its approval, a written report that outlines the results of the aforementioned performance and effectiveness assessment and recommendations for future actions.

 CCF does not meet this Standard because: 

  • The board of directors has never performed an effectiveness assessment.

Standard 16 - Annual Report
Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

CCF does not meet this Standard because the 2013 annual report did not include:

  • A roster of the board of directors
  • Total income.
  • Total program expenses.
  • Total fund raising expenses.
  • Total administrative expenses.
  • Total end of year net assets.

Standard 18 - Privacy for Written Appeals & Internet Privacy
Address privacy concerns of donors by (a) providing in written appeals, at least annually, a means (e.g., such as a check off box) for both new and continuing donors to inform the charity if they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization, (b) providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on any of its websites that tells visitors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them by the charity and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact the charity to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform the charity (e.g., a check off box) that the visitor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures the charity has in place to protect personal information.

CCF does not meet this Standard because the privacy policy on this website, www.cheetah.org does not indicate:

  • What security measures are in place to protect personal information that is collected.

In addition, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance requested but did not receive complete information on the organization’s finances and solicitation materials and is unable to verify the organization's compliance with the following 2 Standards for Charity Accountability: 14 and 15.

Cheetah Conservation Fund meets the remaining 12 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Purpose

  • Year, State Incorporated

    1990, California

  • Stated Purpose

    "to be an internationally recognized center of excellence in research and education on cheetahs and their ecosystems, while working with all stakeholders to achieve best practices in research, education, and land use."

Programs

CCF is dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. The organization’s conservation programming is rooted in scientific research. The organization maintains a research program on the biology, ecology and genetics of cheetahs that publishes papers in peer-reviewed journals annually, and currently operates the only fully-equipped genetics lab at an in-situ conservation facility in Africa. Using this research, CCF has created a set of integrated programs that together address the threats both to the cheetah and its entire ecosystem, including human populations.

For the year ended December 31, 2013, CCF's program expenses were:

Program services 1,421,784
Total Program Expenses: $1,421,784

Governance & Staff

  • Chief Executive

    Laurie Marker, Executive Director

  • Compensation*

    $64,969

  • Chair of the Board

    Dr. Stephen O'Brien

  • Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation

    Entrepreneur

  • Board Size

    12

  • Paid Staff Size

    8

*2013 compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.

Fund Raising

Method(s) Used:

Direct mail, telemarketing, grant proposals, Internet appeals, and planned giving.
Fund raising costs were 8% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $2,012,705, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)
CCF incurred joint costs of $1,713,071 for informational materials and activities that included fund raising materials. Of those costs $1,421,784 was allocated to program expenses, $160,631 was allocated to fund raising expenses, and $130,656 was allocated to administrative expenses.

Tax Status

This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.

Financial

The following information is based on CCF's audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2013.

Source of Funds
Contributions 1,432,394
Special events, net 311,535
Grants 227,111
In-kind donations 41,665
Other 25,721
Net realized gains and changes in unrealized gains 10,898
Investment income 6,701
Total Income $2,056,025
  • Programs: 83%
  • Fundraising: 9%
  • Administrative: 8%
Total Income $2,056,025
Program expenses 1,421,784
Fundraising expenses $160,631
Administrative expenses $130,656
Total expenses: $1,713,071
Income in Excess of Expenses 342,954
Beginning Net Assets 864,029
Ending Net Assets 1,206,983
Total Liabilities 53,473
Total Assets 1,260,456

Note: According to the audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2013, CCF received $41,665 in contributed goods and services.

An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.