Earthtrust is often asked, "Where does my donated money go?" This is a good question, because there is no agency which controls the "program accountability" of nonprofit organizations. If a group wants to hang up a "Save the Muskrats" sign and raise money for muskrat saving, they generally make up their own program and set their own standards. Their program might well be just to provide a salary for themselves, and their approach to muskrat saving could be questionable.
Earthtrust is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization which was incorporated in 1976, specifically to address problems like this. The name spells it out: Earthtrust accepts funds "in trust" for programs which benefit the creatures of the earth. The programs, such as "Saving Whales with DNA," are concise, and the books are open.
One of the main reasons Earthtrust was created was to provide an effective tool for donors who wanted to save endangered species from extinction and who wanted a large percentage of their donation to go directly into "program" rather than "overhead." Earthtrust has a commitment to such efficiency and effectiveness.
Part of this commitment is the annual completion of an external audit, so there is no uncertainty about where the money goes. We are extremely proud of the level of international work Earthtrust is able to sustain on a comparatively modest budget. This is due to the corporate decision not to hire large numbers of permanent salaried personnel, and the organizational philosophy that virtually anything needed for a worthwhile project can be obtained as a corporate or personal donation.
Annual audits done by the accounting firm of David M. Carr, CPA since 1990 have consistently shown that at least 82% of each donation dollar is spent directly on programs such as investigating "pirate whaling" activities, documenting wildlife kills in deep-sea driftnets, producing televised documentaries, conducting campaigns to end dolphin kills by the tuna industry, and initiating projects to save endangered species such as the Hawaiian Monk Seal. The remaining 17-18% is spent on administration and fundraising, one of the lowest "overheads" of any conservation organization in the nation. (In fact, over the last 5 years this has been lowered by another factor of 2!)
The message is simple: the world's wildlife can often be saved from destruction by well-researched, effective action, and such programs can be designed and conducted so that even moderate donations have a large positive effect.
I hope that you will consider joining the Earthtrust family, and become a part of the team. Thanks for your consideration.