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Top Rated

National Audubon Society

CharityWatch report issued
October 2021

Top-Rated Charity
CharityWatch Grade
Our independent grade based
on a number of factors.
Program Percentage
Amount spent on programs
relative to overhead.
Cost to Raise $100
Amount spent to raise
$100 of contributions.

Contact Information

National Audubon Society
225 Varick St.
7th Floor
New York, NY 10014

Other Names


Tax Status




Stated Mission

Saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, community engagement, and on-the-ground conservation.

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Data based on Fiscal Year Ended 06/30/2020

Program Percentage: 75%

The percentage of National Audubon Society's cash budget it spends on programs relative to overhead (fundraising, management, and general expenses).


Calculated Total Expenses



Cost to Raise $100: $24

How many dollars National Audubon Society spends on fundraising to raise each $100 of contributions.


Calculated Total Contributions


Joint Costs

National Audubon Society's rating was adjusted for Joint Costs. If you are a donor who considers direct mail, telemarketing, and other Joint Cost solicitations to be true charitable programs, the below efficiency ratios, which were not adjusted for joint costs, may better reflect your goals.

Program % Cost to Raise $100
81% $17
Accounting rules allow charities to report some telemarketing, direct mail, and other solicitation costs as Program expenses. CharityWatch believes that most donors do not consider a charity's solicitation activities to be the Programs they are intending to support with their donations. We therefore adjust such expenses out of a charity's reported Program expense and add it to Fundraising expense prior to calculating its rating.

Government Funding

0% to 24%

Percentage of cash revenue
coming from government sources


Financial Documents

Entity Document Type Tax ID
National Audubon Society IRS Form 990 13-1624102
National Audubon Society Action Fund IRS Form 990 83-1280515
National Audubon Society Audited Consolidated Financial Statements Multiple
Entity: National Audubon Society
Document Type: IRS Form 990
Tax ID: 13-1624102
Entity: National Audubon Society Action Fund
Document Type: IRS Form 990
Tax ID: 83-1280515
Entity: National Audubon Society
Document Type: Audited Consolidated Financial Statements
Tax ID: Multiple

Governance & Transparency

CharityWatch evaluates certain criteria related to a charity's Governance and Transparency. Donors may want to consider a charity's willingness to be open and transparent with CharityWatch to be a good litmus test for determining its commitment to public accountability.
This charity is Top-Rated
What does it mean to be Top-Rated?
National Audubon Society
meets governance benchmarks.
National Audubon Society
meets transparency benchmarks.
Provides Financial Information
Audit Accessibility
Governance: Policies
Reports regularly & consistently monitoring & enforcing compliance with a written Conflict of Interest Policy
Reports required, annual disclosure by officers, directors, and key staff of interests that could give rise to conflicts
Reports having a written Whistleblower Policy
Reports having a written Document Retention and Destruction Policy
Governance: Financials
Reports providing copy of tax form to all board members prior to filing it with IRS
Reports that financial statements were audited by an independent accountant
Governance: Board of Directors
Reports at least 5 voting board members
51% or more of voting board members reported as independent
Reports documenting minutes of board and board committee meetings
Privacy Policy
Privacy Policy Opt-Out Policy  

  Name Title Compensation
1 David M. Yarnold President/CEO $1,153,346
2 Stephen E. Meyer COO $410,538
3 David J. O'Neill Past Chief Conservation Officer $399,804
Name: David M. Yarnold
Title: President/CEO
Compensation: $1,153,346
Name: Stephen E. Meyer
Title: COO
Compensation: $410,538
Name: David J. O'Neill
Title: Past Chief Conservation Officer
Compensation: $399,804

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.

According to the National Audubon Society consolidated audit of June 30, 2020 (Note 1, Organization and Nature of Activities):

"Audubon is a powerful distributed network of 22 state and regional offices, 34 nature centers, 23 sanctuaries, 452 independent chapters, and international partners throughout the hemisphere. In addition, Audubon is currently in the process of establishing additional chapters at more than 150 college campuses across the United States..."

Audubon's 452 independent chapters throughout the United States are not included in its audited consolidated financial statements "since such chapters are independent organizations," according to Note 1 of Audubon's fiscal 2020 consolidated audit. As such, these 452 independent chapters are not included in CharityWatch's rating of National Audubon Society.

The rating also does not include the financial activities of the Society's related 501(c)(4) tax-exempt, social welfare organization, National Audubon Society Action Fund (Action Fund). The Action Fund "was established in July 2018 to build public demand for policy solutions that address the greatest conservation challenges for birds and people," according to Note 1 of Audubon's fiscal 2020 consolidated audit. The Action Fund reported only $173,336 in total revenue in fiscal 2020, according to Note 13 of the consolidated audit. Given the National Audubon Society Action Fund's small size, CharityWatch does not provide a separate rating for it at this time.

CharityWatch separates the ratings for 501(c)(3) & 501(c)(4) organizations, even when they are included together in a consolidated audit, due to their differing treatments under the IRS tax code. For more information on this topic, please see our sections on Types of Non-Profits, Tax Status, and Treatment of Related Organizations, which can be found on the Our Process page.

For more information about things to consider when donating to organizations that have related public charity and social welfare entities, read "Sorting Out Nonprofit Pairs" in the "Articles & Alerts" section, below.

According to the National Audubon Society consolidated audit of June 30, 2020 (Note 9, Commitments and Contingencies):

"Audubon is in the process of developing and improving several nature centers, which are in various stages of completion. As of June 30, 2020 and 2019, Audubon had remaining commitments on construction and related agreements amounting to approximately $1,319,000 and $4,388,000, respectively."

"Audubon is invested in several limited partnerships under which Audubon is committed to make capital contributions in future periods totaling approximately $23,220,080 and $18,315,000 as of June 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively."

According to the National Audubon Society tax filing for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020, Audubon reports re: Compensation, Supplemental Information (IRS Form 990, Schedule J, Part III):

Regarding nonfixed payments to officers, directors, trustees, key employees and highest compensated employees (Schedule J, Part I, Line 7):

"Audubon budgets an annual bonus pool for all employees (not just those individuals reported on the 990). Bonuses are awarded based on merit and are at the discretion of management or the board. As a retention incentive, Chief Conservation Officer, David O'Neill, earned a $50,000 bonus in 2019 based on achievement of various performance targets.

"At the end of 2016, Audubon drafted a 3-year retention agreement for the President/CEO, David Yarnold, with input from an outside compensation consultant and based on a market survey. The retention agreement provided for a potential $100,000 for each year from FY17–FY19 and an additional incentive of up to $150,000. In recognition of his outstanding commitment to, and work on behalf of Audubon, the President/CEO received a $427,500 bonus in 2019 under this 3-year retention agreement. The bonus was authorized and approved by the compensation committee. Annually, the compensation committee of Audubon's board of directors reviews the performance and compensation of Audubon's President/CEO. Their deliberations and decisions are memorialized in writing when made." [Note: D. Yarnold's total 'Bonus & incentive compensation' reported on Schedule J, Part II is $527,500. See below for more.]

Audubon reports "Bonus & incentive compensation" payments to 13 individuals in calendar year 2019, including $527,500 and $50,000 paid to David M. Yarnold, President & CEO, and David J. O'Neill, Chief Conservation Officer, respectively. Their reported total compensation in 2019 is $1,153,346 and $399,804, respectively. The reported "Bonus & incentive compensation" amounts for the other 11 individuals ranged from $20,000 to $3,000, with associated total compensation ranging from $410,538 to $240,966 (IRS Form 990, Schedule J, Part II).

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