7. Charleston Area Medical Center Foundation (CAMCF)
Administrative expenses: 48.8%
West Virginia’s Charleston Area Medical Center Foundation raises money for the hospital from which it gets its name, with donations in 2007 totaling over $26 million. Representing a 10 percent increase over the previous year’s revenue, the group’s $2 million program expenses that year, however, represented a 19 percent decrease in the money distributed to further the hospital’s research and community outreach goals, bringing it to number 7 on the list.
Administrative expenses: 55.1%
There has always been a lot of money in horse racing, and the New York-based National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame has attracted some of that cash to further its goal of bringing the history and excitement of thoroughbred racing to the widest possible audience. With a 2007 budget of over $2 million, the museum provides educational program for children and adults, and organizes trips to horse races for interested groups. Unfortunately, over half of its expenses that year (as well as the previous year) went to administrative overhead, fueled in no small part by salaries paid to its director and acting director, together representing almost 10 percent of total expenses.
*Note: Following publication of this article, the Cherokee National Historical Society revised its filings to correct for "errors made by an outside accounting firm hired by the CNHS" and is now ranked as a four-star charity on CharityNavigator, the site's highest ranking.
Administrative expenses: 58.2%
Dedicated to preserving the history and traditions of the Cherokee people, the Cherokee National Historical Society, based in Oklahoma, is the fifth-most inefficient charity in the United States. With administrative expenses of over 58 percent of total expenditures dwarfing the 39 percent spent on programs in fiscal year 2007, the group saw its administrative costs almost triple from the previous year. While the cultural center that it runs has been a resource for Cherokee history since 1963, its skyrocketing overhead does not bode well for the group’s future efforts at fundraising and outreach.
4. Union Rescue Mission, Little Rock
Administrative expenses: 62.1%
Arkansas’s Union Rescue Mission is the first charity on the list whose administrative expenses reached over 60 percent of total expenses for the last reported year. The Mission’s goals are of the highest importance, targeting hunger, victims of abuse, and people struggling with addiction in Arkansas and her neighboring states, which it pursues through the efforts of a few key Baptist reverends. The massive increase in administrative costs in fiscal year 2008 over the previous year, according to Executive Director William Toffett, were due more to accounting issues than operational costs, suggesting that the group’s recent poor performance is not indicative of fundamental inefficiencies in the mission itself.