CharityWatch is unable to provide a letter grade rating for Crisis Relief Network at this time due to our concerns related to its reporting of certain 2018 expenses. For this reason, we have assigned Crisis Relief Network a "?" rating for the fiscal year ended 12/31/2018.
CharityWatch analyzed the Crisis Relief Network (CRN) 2018 IRS Form 990 tax filing and audited financial statements. In its 2018 tax filing (IRS Form 990, Part III), CRN reports that its total program expenses of $2,108,333 in 2018 consisted of: $239,165 for Case Management; $545,842 for Poster Distribution; and $1,323,326 for "Spreading the word about the services offered for free to the public..." As part of its total program expenses, CRN reports spending $549,545 on "Marketing and promotions" and $1,091,986 on "Printing, publications and postage," according to its audited Statement of Functional Expenses for the year ended 12/31/2018. CharityWatch is concerned that these expenses, which comprise approximately 78% of CRN's reported total program expenses for the year, may include fundraising expenses and/or joint costs from a combined educational campaign and fundraising solicitation.
CharityWatch has identified multiple fundraising campaigns conducted by professional fundraisers on behalf of CRN for which CRN received either only 10% or 12% of the gross donations raised during periods that included portions of 2018. For example, CRN reported to Colorado, Massachusetts, and North Carolina, as part of its annual state registration filings, that it used Outreach Calling as a paid professional fundraiser during 2018, and that the portion of the gross proceeds raised that went to CRN was 10%. Other professional fundraisers or fundraising consultants CRN reports using in 2018, according to some of its state registration filings, include: CRF, Inc.; Front Line Support, LLC; Innovative Teleservices, Inc.; and Precision Performance Marketing, Inc. In its 2018 tax filing, however, in response to the question: "Did the organization have a written or oral agreement with any individual...or entity in connection with professional fundraising services," CRN responded "No" (IRS Form 990, Schedule G, Part I, line 2a).
Moreover, in its Form 990 CRN reports incurring $544,499 in fees for professional fundraising services in 2018, its only reported fundraising expenses for the year. But as part of its Massachusetts state registration, CRN reports paying $927,803 in total expenses to one of its professional fundraisers, Outreach Calling, in connection with the $1,030,893 Outreach Calling raised on behalf of CRN in 2018. Of the $927,803 in total expenses, a combined $135,595 is reported as consisting of "Postage" and "Printing" expenses. This supports CharityWatch's concern that CRN may be including certain fundraising expenses and/or joint costs from a combined educational campaign and fundraising solicitation in its reported total program expenses in 2018.
CharityWatch also assigned Crisis Relief Network a "?" rating for its fiscal year ended 12/31/2016, based on similar concerns to those described above. On April 30, 2018, CharityWatch sent a letter to CRN inquiring about our concerns and requesting additional information about its reported program expenses in fiscal 2016. CharityWatch never received a response from CRN.
According to the Crisis Relief Network audit of December 31, 2018 (Note 6, Related Party Transactions):
"During 2018, the executive director had an employment agreement with [the] organization that was approved by the Board of Directors. The executive director also provides contractor services as a therapist. The executive director is related to members of the Board of Directors through family relationships." [See below for additional details.]
According to the Crisis Relief Network (CRN) 2018 tax filing, CRN reports re: Business Transactions Involving Interested Persons, a transaction in the amount of $237,500 involving Don Wood, CEO & Board Member. The transaction is described as: Provides contract services (IRS Form 990, Schedule L, Part IV).
Also according to the Crisis Relief Network (CRN) 2018 tax filing, CRN reports the existence of a family or business relationship among officers, directors, trustees, or key employees (IRS Form 990, Part VI, Section A, llne 2). The related party information among officers reported by CRN is: Brandon Wood, President; Bridget Wood, Executive Director; and Don Wood, CEO (IRS Form 990, Schedule O). Each of the Woods is also reported as being a Board Member (IRS Form 990, Part VII, Section A). CRN reports having five voting members on its governing body at the end of 2018, with only two of the members being independent (IRS Form 990, Part VI, Section A, lines 1a & b).
According to the Crisis Relief Network (CRN) 2018 tax filing, in response to: "Describe in Schedule O whether (and if so, how) the organization made its governing documents, conflict of interest policy, and financial statements available to the public during the tax year" (IRS Form 990, Part VI, Section C, line 19), CRN reports:
"No documents available to the public" (IRS Form 990, Schedule O).