PLATINUM2024

Best Friends Animal Society

Together, we can Save Them All®

aka Best Friends   |   Kanab, UT   |  bestfriends.org

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GuideStar Charity Check

Best Friends Animal Society

EIN: 23-7147797


Mission

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading national animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in Americas shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 378,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs across the country, as well as the nation's largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 4,200 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All.

Ruling year info

1971

Chief Executive Officer

Julie Castle

Main address

5001 Angel Canyon Rd

Kanab, UT 84741 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-7147797

Subject area info

Domesticated animals

Animal welfare

Population served info

Adults

NTEE code info

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (D01)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 378,000.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Saving Lives

Community-supported sheltering means thinking beyond the walls of the shelter, and instead, focusing on community-based solutions involving partners committed to the same goal: saving lives. We don't just want better animal shelters; we want to reduce the need for animal shelters. For example, our centers run foster and adoption programs in collaboration with animal shelters, facilitate lifesaving pet transports, help rescue groups raise funds, run community cat programs, provide access to spay/neuter services and work with whole communities to save more lives.

We've pioneered new approaches to saving lives and are continuing to develop and test lifesaving tactics and technologies that will better inform the work to end the killing of pets in shelters. We have teams working to deliver targeted services to save more lives in their communities and states. We are driving systemic change in animal welfare, thanks to the visionary commitment of our partners.

Population(s) Served

Best Friends’ national data collection and analysis tell us which animal shelters across the country need the most help, as well as the level and type of assistance they may need. Based on that information, we then help animal shelters in the United States reach and sustain no-kill by offering customized technical assistance, capacity-building support and financial assistance. Our solutions look different based on each community’s need, but the results are the same: more no-kill shelters.

Best Friends’ bench of 300-plus expert trainers, coaches and mentors work together to deliver a range of tools that transforms animal sheltering systems. For most shelters, our free online lifesaving library with comprehensive playbooks, best practice manuals, webinars and e-learning courses that cover a range of topics is exactly what they need to accelerate their progress to no-kill.

For the shelters that have the most lives to save, Best Friends takes a hands-on approach, providing one-to-one coaching and mentoring for shelter leadership, staff and animal control officers. Through these partnerships, Best Friends experts work alongside shelter staff to build trusting relationships, conduct assessment, share best practices and provide personalized guidance. We even embed our own staff in temporary, but long-term, roles within priority shelters for intensive lifesaving and leadership support.

We are also scaling up our efforts to facilitate peer-to-peer connections. By bringing partners together through lunch and learns, roundtables, cohorts and coalitions, and by incentivizing peer-to-peer mentorships, we are helping connect partners to strengthen shared learning, accelerate lifesaving, elevate other leaders and replicate systems change faster than we could ever do alone.




Population(s) Served

We are creating positive change for the most at-risk pets through advocacy work, targeted campaigns, and public service announcements to increase the awareness of animal issues and to mobilize the public to take action.

Best Friends advocacy and action teams work collaboratively to author pet-friendly policies and laws aimed at eliminating puppy mills, protecting community cats, ending breed bans and promoting pet-inclusive housing. This work is accomplished through partnerships between our advocacy team and the 2025 Action Team, comprising tens of thousands of volunteers dedicated to keeping the pets in their communities safe and out of shelters.

Population(s) Served

The Best Friends Network includes public and private shelters, rescue groups, spay/neuter organizations and other animal welfare groups across all 50 states. The Network is a coalition committed to saving the lives of homeless cats and dogs through collaboration, information-sharing and implementation of proven lifesaving strategies. Our partners support each other and inspire their own communities to increase lifesaving of dogs and cats across the country.

Through this program Best Friends provides direct program support to organizations by analyzing their data, reviewing operational procedures and working alongside their staff. Together, we design programs to best serve a community's specific needs and support both on-site and virtually as organizations implement those programs. We offer training with industry experts designed to provide tactical ways to implement new programs and proven strategies. Free educational resources are available including playbooks and online courses.

Population(s) Served

As the purest expression of our commitment to Save Them All, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals. Nestled in the red rock canyons of southern Utah, the nearly 4,200-acre Sanctuary is a home-between homes for around 1,600 animals, many with special medical or behavioral needs. The Sanctuary is where our movement began, and it continues to serve as the proving grounds for innovative lifesaving techniques that are helping to redefine the care and compassion we provide to homeless pets.

Animals live here, are loved here, and are welcome to stay until they are adopted. Best Friends employs a holistic approach to each animal’s lifesaving, which is tailored to meet his or her unique needs. There is an extensive “menu” of care options at Best Friends, and each animal receives the combination of options likely to benefit them the most. Of course, a lot of love and attention are baked in at every step of the way, with the ultimate goal of preparing animals to be placed into loving homes whenever possible. And for those few animals who are never ready to take that next step, Best Friends is their safe haven for life.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Animal Welfare Nonprofit Brand of the Year in the 2019 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study 2019

Nonprofit of the Year

Animal Welfare Nonprofit Brand of the Year in the 2018 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study 2018

Nonprofit of the Year

Animal Welfare Nonprofit Brand of the Year in the 2021 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study 2021

Nonprofit of the Year

Brands That Matter - Public Service 2022

Fast Company

Top 10 Most Innovative Companies - Data Science 2021

Fast Company

Top Workplaces - Woman-Led 2022

Energage

Top Workplaces - Nonprofit Industry 2022

Energage

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Spay/neuter surgeries performed through Best Friends clinics and programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Saving Lives

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The need to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) halted non-urgent veterinary procedures in many places during 2020-21, which led to a suspension or drastic reduction in spay/neuter services.

Animals adopted through Best Friends adoption centers, events and promotions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Saving Lives

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

For 2020-21 we shifted to virtual pet adoptions with curbside pickup and online adoption events. The decline in 2018 is due to resource shift - hosting fewer national adoption promotions.

Number of Best Friends Network Partners

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Rallying Supporters

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This number changes on a regular basis. For updated information, visit bestfriends.org/our-work/supporting-network-partners/network-partners.

Funding provided to Best Friends Network Partners and/or shelters

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Supporting Shelters

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

When Best Friends began in 1984, approximately 17 million dogs and cats were killed every year in our nation's shelters. Today, that number is down to about 378,000. That's incredible progress, but it also means there are still nearly 970 dogs and cats being killed every day simply because they don't have safe places to call home.

Best Friends is uniquely positioned to continue to lead our partners and the country to become a nation that no longer kills healthy dogs and cats in shelters.

Our goal is to reduce the number of cats and dogs entering the shelter system and increase the number leaving alive until we Save Them All by 2025.

To achieve these goals, we will directly save more shelter pets through proven, lifesaving adoption and spay/neuter programs and by addressing the gaps in public understanding and awareness through targeted outreach and education.

More specifically, we must:
• Through education and advocacy, create a groundswell of public support for spay/neuter and adoption.
• Save the most at-risk cats and dogs from being killed in shelters: kittens, adult cats (particularly community cats) and large dogs, including pit bull terriers and pit bull mixes.
• Through legislation and advocacy efforts, put an end to breed discrimination and puppy mills, and support trap-neuter-return as the best way to control community cat populations and reduce shelter intake.
• Maintain the beauty and integrity of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a no-kill refuge that on any given day is home for about 1,600 animals (many with special needs), as well as the accompanying goal of rehabilitating and finding homes for as many as possible.
• Create Save Them All ambassadors through our visitor and volunteer programs.
• Expand our footprint beyond the Sanctuary and our existing regional centers in order to broaden our lifesaving impact.
• Strengthen our Best Friends Network by providing the needed resources so that our partners can save more lives.

Saving Lives

1. Increase pet adoptions - Best Friends is committed to making pet adoption an easy, inclusive process by removing barriers for people who want to provide a loving home for pets who need them.

2. Expand foster networks - Fostering a pet is a flexible way to help make a difference in the lives of pets because you can foster a dog or cat for just a night or two or for several weeks depending on what works best for your lifestyle and schedule. It is also helps saves lives by freeing up shelter space for another pet to be rescued.

3. Support spay/neuter services - Preventing accidental litters of puppies and kittens through spay and neuter is one of the most critical strategies for achieving our goal of ending the killing in the nations shelters. The impact affordable and accessible spay/neuter services has on decreasing shelter intake is large. Best Friends supports spay/neuter programs across the country and offers low-cost services in our lifesaving centers and clinics.

Helping Shelters

4. Provide hands-on mentoring and targeted coaching - To help shelters reach and sustain no-kill, we created a comprehensive toolbox of lifesaving solutions, including technical assistance, capacity-building support and grants. Using this toolbox, our expert trainers, coaches and mentors provide customized assistance and meet shelters where they are on their journey to no-kill. Organizations that partner with Best Friends save lives 3.5 times faster than those that dont.

5. Invest in no-kill leadership development - We are helping to prepare the next generation of no-kill leaders through a variety of advanced learning opportunities, such as digital materials, podcast episodes, and online learning and certification opportunities. This includes the Executive Leadership Certification program, a first-of-its-kind, university-accredited academic program that provides professional development for those who will play pivotal roles in advancing the no-kill movement.

Rallying Supporters

6. Advocate for policy change - We are removing barriers to saving lives, such as breed-discriminatory legislation, through public policy advocacy. We have also helped change ordinances to legalize lifesaving practices like trap-neuter-return.

7. Empower community engagement - With more than 101,000 volunteer members, the 2025 Action Team advances local, statewide and national change on behalf of the animals. We support the team through advocacy training, self-serve resources and coaching

Beginning with the establishment of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, Best Friends has been a pioneer in the animal welfare field. Since 1984, we have challenged conventional practices and helped save the lives of millions of homeless pets. Our philosophies and strategies are grounded in our simple and steadfast belief that every unique, individual pet deserves a home.

Throughout the years, Best Friends has distinguished itself by an unwavering commitment to save all pets even those who people have given up on.

Our effectiveness and capability to bring the nation to no-kill by 2025 is directly tied to our unique ability to demonstrate lifesaving programs and multiply our impact through our national network of more than 4,300 Best Friends Network partners and no-kill coalition partners. We are dedicated to empowering our animal welfare partners with the practical know-how and resources needed to achieve and sustain no-kill communities. This combination of experience, passion, innovation, collaboration and expansive reach sets Best Friends apart and positions us to Save Them All.

During fiscal year 2023, through a variety of Best Friends programs, events, clinics and lifesaving centers:

42,756 pets were adopted
22,118 pets were spayed or neutered
8,717 unique pets were fostered through 15,067 foster placements

Empowering shelter and rescue group partners to save more lives through targeted programming is a primary component of our plan to lead the nation to no-kill. In FY 2023, a total of $13.6 million in funding was provided to Best Friends Network partners and other shelters and rescues across the nation. Through virtual town hall meetings, informative podcasts and operational playbooks on topics ranging from animal care to the latest in COVID-19 guidance, we have provided our network partners with lifesaving tools and resources to keep saving lives, even in uncertain times.

Best Friends shelter outreach team supports, guides and empowers partner animal welfare organizations committed to saving more lives around the country through a range of learning experiences. We provide shelters with expert staff members, assessments, recommendations and more.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
NET GAIN/LOSS:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

1.59

Average of 2.33 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

0.7

Average of 2 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

25%

Average of 22% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Best Friends Animal Society

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Best Friends Animal Society

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Best Friends Animal Society

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Best Friends Animal Society’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$928,647 -$5,102,711 -$10,112,619 $30,648,390 $7,092,465
As % of expenses -1.0% -5.2% -10.3% 30.4% 5.9%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$3,365,630 -$7,604,513 -$12,864,163 $28,215,729 $4,631,126
As % of expenses -3.5% -7.6% -12.8% 27.3% 3.7%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $93,163,465 $102,896,740 $106,903,525 $125,326,390 $141,488,178
Total revenue, % change over prior year -17.7% 10.4% 3.9% 17.2% 12.9%
Program services revenue 3.2% 2.9% 1.8% 1.2% 1.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 1.5% 2.2% 1.4% 1.4% 1.6%
Government grants 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0.1%
All other grants and contributions 93.3% 91.0% 96.0% 96.3% 96.7%
Other revenue 1.8% 3.8% 0.7% 1.0% 0.5%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $94,501,276 $97,432,983 $97,913,991 $100,745,213 $121,064,016
Total expenses, % change over prior year 6.0% 3.1% 0.5% 2.9% 20.2%
Personnel 51.3% 56.3% 58.6% 54.9% 56.3%
Professional fees 4.9% 5.0% 4.7% 4.8% 6.2%
Occupancy 3.1% 3.0% 2.9% 3.1% 2.4%
Interest 0.0% 0.4% 0.6% 0.7% 0.6%
Pass-through 6.8% 4.2% 5.4% 7.0% 6.5%
All other expenses 33.9% 31.1% 27.8% 29.5% 28.0%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $96,938,259 $99,934,785 $100,665,535 $103,177,874 $123,525,355
One month of savings $7,875,106 $8,119,415 $8,159,499 $8,395,434 $10,088,668
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $1,817,209 $111,139
Fixed asset additions $9,588,777 $12,824,185 $11,241,724 $6,471,549 $11,100,538
Total full costs (estimated) $114,402,142 $120,878,385 $120,066,758 $119,862,066 $144,825,700

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 4.5 3.3 2.4 1.5 0.7
Months of cash and investments 11.2 9.9 8.8 12.1 9.2
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 7.6 6.0 4.5 7.0 5.4
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $35,645,097 $26,803,897 $19,494,108 $12,228,731 $6,970,744
Investments $52,243,780 $53,887,480 $52,236,429 $89,591,328 $86,247,772
Receivables $16,016,742 $15,774,284 $17,238,019 $9,797,475 $7,296,881
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $59,186,365 $70,873,733 $81,482,175 $88,142,148 $96,043,576
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 35.7% 31.7% 30.2% 30.9% 27.6%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 31.1% 35.8% 39.7% 32.0% 32.2%
Unrestricted net assets $72,047,356 $64,442,843 $51,578,680 $79,794,409 $84,425,535
Temporarily restricted net assets $13,297,766 $18,397,087 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $16,303,860 $16,303,860 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $29,601,626 $34,700,947 $40,535,663 $42,705,050 $36,469,583
Total net assets $101,648,982 $99,143,790 $92,114,343 $122,499,459 $120,895,118

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Documents
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Chief Executive Officer

Julie Castle

Julie started in the proverbial mail room of Best Friends in 1996 as employee #17, doing whatever needed to be done on a given day cleaning kennels, tabling outside of grocery stores, or laying irrigation lines. As she progressed, she led Best Friends community programs and services division, launching NKLA (no-kill Los Angeles) and helping to launch NKUT (no-kill Utah). From there, Julie became the marketing, communications, and development leader, where she grew Best Friends fundraising by nearly 50% to reach an all-time revenue high of $137 million annually. It was in that role, too, that Julie put the stake in the ground on behalf of Best Friends to take the entire country to no-kill by 2025. She is a staunch believer in the importance of culture and innovation within a workplace and is proud to be the CEO of an organization full of compassionate and driven folks. She leads Best Friends staff to find their grand passion in order to create a better world.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Best Friends Animal Society

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Compensation
Other
Related
Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

Best Friends Animal Society

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Compensation
Other
Related
Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization

Best Friends Animal Society

Board of directors
as of 01/23/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Francis Battista

Francis Battista

Gregory Castle

Anne Mejia

Lynn Flanders

Cyrus Mejia

Abby Jones

Micarl Hill

Oke Mueller

Lona Williams

Denise Clark

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/22/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/12/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.

Contractors

Fiscal year ending

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser