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Charities With the Highest Admin Costs

3. National Council of Negro Women (NCNW)

Administrative expenses: 64%

Serving as an umbrella organization for 39 national and local advocacy groups for women of African descent both in the U.S. and abroad, the National Council of Negro Women coordinates its activities with partners in 34 states. The Council also runs four research and policy centers in its efforts to develop best practices in addressing the health, educational, and economic needs of African-American women. Unfortunately, all of these centers take a lot of resources to run, and with administrative costs upwards of $4 million in 2007, there is comparatively little left over in the group’s approximately $6 million budget for programs.

2. Boys Choir of Harlem

Administrative expenses: 66.3%

Long-respected for its role in improving the lives of disadvantaged and impoverished young people in Harlem, New York, the Boys Choir of Harlem went all the way to the White House, performing for sitting presidents since Lyndon Johnson. The group, which for 30 years turned neighborhood kids into performing singers, ended in disgrace last year after a child abuse accusation and the death of its founder in 2007. Drowning in debt with high administrative costs soaking up much of its ever-decreasing budget, the Harlem Boys Choir suffered the most dramatic fall from grace of any group on the list.

1. American Tract Society

Administrative expenses: 68.0%

Topping the list of America’s worst charities is an organization that spent more than $1.6 million dollars on its administrative expenses in 2007, over twice what it spent the previous year. The American Tract Society, based in Texas, distributes religious literature to spread its message around the world. With a history of low ratings from Charity Navigator, the group’s administrative expenses have consistently outpaced the amount of donations coming in. While the group receives income from other sources than contributions, donors to the American Tract Society may be surprised to know that the recipient is the most inefficient in the country at maximizing the impact of its donations.

Check out MainStreet's recent story about lining up tax deductions through charitable giving.

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