CharityWatch Analysts perform an in-depth analysis of charities' audited financial statements and IRS tax filings, and often review other documents such as state filings, annual reports, and fundraising contracts during their evaluations. Below are select notes that CharityWatch believes may be of interest to donors.

Any time an Analysts' Note refers to a charity's Audited Financial Statements or IRS tax form, CharityWatch encourages interested donors to obtain a copy of the referenced documents so that they may view the information in context. Please contact the charity directly to request a copy of any referenced document. Charity tax forms and audits may also be obtained from a number of online databases. For a list of sources, please visit our LINKS page.

Note(s)
CharityWatch is unable to rate AdoptAPlatoon (AAP) at this time due to the continued presence of apparent reporting errors in the charity's IRS Form 990 tax filing and audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended 12/31/2014. The charity appears to be incorrectly reporting millions of dollars of fundraising expenses as program grants. The exact dollar amount of potentially misallocated fundraising expenses is unknown.

CharityWatch contacted AdoptAPlatoon in November of 2015 with questions regarding its financial reporting. Though the charity responded to our inquiry, its responses were general in nature and did not include dollar figures or data regarding the dollar amounts and types of grants it distributed, who received the grants, or the purpose of the grants, as is required by the IRS to be reported on Form 990, Schedule I, Section III.

CharityWatch also contacted AAP multiple times in 2013 with questions regarding similar such reporting on AAP's tax filing for 2012. Although AAP responded to our inquiries, responses were general in nature and did not provide direct answers to the questions asked. In particular, AAP did not provide us with a dollar amount for expenses related to fundraising activities that were allocated to program services.

Of particular concern to CharityWatch is the unexplained, drastic decline in AAP's reported fundraising expenses in 2014, 2013, and 2012, as compared to the previous years of 2007 through 2010. AAP's reported fundraising expenses decreased from approximately $3.7 million in 2010 to $504,441 and $308,288 in 2012 and 2013, respectively, while contributions remained relatively constant at approximately $7.8 and $7.9 million in 2010 and 2012, respectively, and increased to approximately $8.8 million in 2013. AAP's tax filing for 2014 follows a similar pattern, with reported fundraising expenses of only $775,212 to raise contributions of just under $9 million.

CharityWatch contacted AAP in 2013 and specifically asked the charity to explain the above described, significant variances in its reporting of fundraising expenses; AAP did not provide an explanation.

The same professional fundraising company, listed as "Fund Raising Strategies," was used by AAP in 2012, 2013, & 2014, (per tax Form 990, Schedule G).

With no explanation, AAP's reported program grant expenses dramatically increased in the same years that its reported fundraising expenses dramatically decreased. Reported grant expenses increased from approximately $3.6 million in 2010 to approximately $6.7 and $7.1 million in 2012 and 2013, respectively, according to its tax filings for these years. CharityWatch identified specific line item variances in AAP's financial reporting, and in 2013 we asked AAP if it was now reporting certain expenses as program grants that it had reported as fundraising expenses in prior years. AAP responded that the grant expenses "do contain some of the [fundraising expense] items mentioned in your letter; however, these functional expenses are not considered fundraising expenses."

While accounting rules do allow charities wide latitude to report fundraising expenses and other indirect costs in varying ways, IRS reporting rules do not allow fundraising expenses or other indirect costs to be lumped in with reported "Grants and other assistance to individuals within the United States." AAP failed to provide direct answers to CharityWatch's questions as to the specific dollar amounts of fundraising-related items it chose to report as program grant expenses for 2012.

In the absence of additional information clarifying AAP's tax form and audit reporting of fundraising and program grant expenses, CharityWatch is unable to compute the program and fundraising efficiency percentages needed to assign AAP a letter grade rating for its fiscal year ended 2014 activities.
CharityWatch is unable to rate AdoptAPlatoon (AAP) at this time due to the continued presence of apparent reporting errors in the charity's IRS Form 990 tax filing and audited financial statements for the year ending 12/31/2013. The primary reporting errors involve the apparent misallocation of an unknown portion of fundraising expenses as program expenses.

CharityWatch contacted AAP multiple times in 2013 with questions regarding similar such reporting on AAP's tax filing for 2012. Although AAP responded to our inquiries, some of the responses were general in nature and did not provide direct answers to the questions asked. In particular, AAP did not provide us with a dollar amount for the expenses related to the fundraising activities that were allocated to program services.

Of particular concern to CharityWatch is the drastic decline in AAP's IRS Form 990 reported fundraising expenses in 2013 and 2012 compared to the prior years of 2007-2010. AAP's fundraising expenses decreased from approximately $3.7 million in 2010 to $504,441 and $308,288 in 2012 and 2013, respectively, while contributions remained relatively constant at approximately $7.8 and $7.9 million in 2010 and 2012, respectively, and increased to approximately $8.8 million in 2013. The same professional fundraiser also was used by AAP in each of these years (per Form 990 Schedule G). In 2013 when CharityWatch specifically asked AAP about this variance in its fundraising expenses, AAP did not provide an explanation.

In addition, AAP's program grant expenses dramatically increased from approximately $3.6 million in 2010 to approximately $6.7 and $7.1 million in 2012 and 2013, respectively, according to its IRS Form 990 reporting. In one of AAP's 2013 responses to CharityWatch's inquiry as to if certain specific fundraising expense items are included in the $6.7 million in reported program grant expenses for 2012, AAP responded that the grant expenses "do contain some of the [fundraising expense] items mentioned in your letter; however, these functional expenses are not considered fundraising expenses." While the accounting rules do provide charities with wide latitude to report fundraising expenses and other indirect costs in varying ways, the IRS does not allow fundraising expenses or other indirect costs to be lumped in with reported "Grants and other assistance to individuals within the United States." Although CharityWatch inquired in 2013 as to the specific dollar amounts of the fundraising related items included in AAP's program grant expenses for 2012, AAP failed to provide this information.

Without additional information concerning AAP's fundraising and program expenses to clarify its IRS Form 990 and audited financial statements reporting, CharityWatch is unable to compute the program and fundraising efficiency percentages needed to assign AAP a letter grade rating for its fiscal year 2013 activities.
CharityWatch is unable to rate AdoptaPlatoon (AAP) at this time due to apparent reporting errors and certain omissions in the charity's IRS Form 990 for fiscal year end 12/31/2012. The reporting errors and omissions include the apparent misallocation of an unknown portion of fundraising expenses as program grant expenses, and the failure to report the number of recipients and dollar amounts of grants and other assistance provided to individuals in the U.S. (on Form 990 Schedule I).

CharityWatch contacted AAP with questions regarding its fiscal 2012 Form 990 reporting on 8/19/2013, and AAP responded on 8/29 by providing a newly amended Form 990 for fiscal 2012, signed by the charity's president on 8/27/2013. After analyzing the amended Form 990 that we received on 8/29, CharityWatch sent a second inquiry to AAP on 9/13 seeking further clarification regarding several reporting issues related to AAP's program grant expenses, fundraising expenses, and contributions. Although AAP responded to our second inquiry on 9/16, some of the responses were general in nature and did not provide direct answers to the questions asked.

Of particular concern to CharityWatch is the drastic decline in AAP's Form 990 reported fundraising expenses in fiscal 2012 compared to the prior years of 2007-2010. AAP's fundraising expenses decreased from approximately $3.7 million in 2010 to $504,441 in 2012 while contributions remained relatively constant at approximately $7.8 and $7.9 million in 2010 and 2012, respectively. The same professional fundraiser also was used by AAP with similar activity in each of these years (per Form 990 Schedule G). Although CharityWatch specifically asked AAP about this variance in its fundraising expenses, AAP did not provide an explanation.

In addition, AAP's program grant expenses dramatically increased from approximately $3.6 million in 2010 to approximately $6.7 million in 2012. In AAP's 9/16 response to CharityWatch's inquiry as to if certain specific fundraising expense items are included in the $6.7 million in reported program grant expenses for 2012, AAP responded that the grant expenses "do contain some of the [fundraising expense] items mentioned in your letter; however, these functional expenses are not considered fundraising expenses." While the accounting rules do provide charities with wide latitude to report fundraising expenses and other indirect costs in varying ways, the IRS does not allow fundraising expenses or other indirect costs to be lumped in with reported "Grants and other assistance to individuals within the United States." Although CharityWatch inquired as to the specific dollar amounts of the fundraising related items included in AAP's program grant expenses, AAP failed to provide this information. AAP also failed to respond to CharityWatch's inquiry regarding the quantities and dollar amount values of the direct cash grants and non-cash assistance to individuals in the U.S. distributed by AAP in 2012, information AAP omitted from reporting on Form 990 Schedule I.

Without additional information concerning AAP's fundraising and program grant expenses to clarify its 2012 Form 990 reporting, CharityWatch is unable to compute the program and fundraising efficiency percentages needed to assign AAP a letter grade rating for its fiscal 2012 activities.

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