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Top Rated

National Wildlife Federation

CharityWatch report issued
October 2020

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 Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Dr.
Reston, VA 20190-5362

Other Names


Tax Status




Stated Mission

To unite all Americans to ensure wildlife thrives in a rapidly changing world.

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Data based on Fiscal Year Ended 08/31/2019

Program Percentage: 88%

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


Calculated Total Expenses



Cost to Raise $100: $6

How many dollars National Wildlife Federation spends on fundraising to raise each $100 of contributions.


Calculated Total Contributions


Joint Costs

National Wildlife Federation'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
89% $4
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 Wildlife Federation IRS Form 990 53-0204616
National Wildlife Federation Audited Financial Statements 53-0204616
Entity: National Wildlife Federation
Document Type: IRS Form 990
Tax ID: 53-0204616
Entity: National Wildlife Federation
Document Type: Audited Financial Statements
Tax ID: 53-0204616

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 Wildlife Federation
meets governance benchmarks.
National Wildlife Federation
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 Collin O'Mara President $387,679
2 Kevin J. Coyle VP Education & Training $215,655
3 James S. Lyon VP of Conservation Policy $215,611
Name: Collin O'Mara
Title: President
Compensation: $387,679
Name: Kevin J. Coyle
Title: VP Education & Training
Compensation: $215,655
Name: James S. Lyon
Title: VP of Conservation Policy
Compensation: $215,611

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 Wildlife Federation (Federation) audit of August 31, 2019 (Note 15, National Wildlife Federation Action Fund) [$s in thousands, as noted]:

"National Wildlife Federation Action Fund (NWF Action Fund) is a [501(c)(4) tax-exempt] not-for-profit organization that was formed in Colorado in 1989 for the purpose of conducting conservation advocacy programs such as National Wildlife Action...

"Although certain Federation employees serve on NWF Acton Fund's Board of Directors, the Federation officers and employees represent less than 50% of the total officers and Directors for NWF Action Fund and the Federation does not control a majority of the appointments to NWF Action Fund's Board of Directors. As such, the Federation does not consolidate [in its audited financial statements] the activities of NWF Action Fund.

"The Federation provided $220 [thousand] and $211 [thousand] in grants to NWF Action Fund in the years ended August 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. In addition, NWF Action Fund reimburses the Federation for certain costs such as leased staff, benefits, miscellaneous expenses and overhead costs. As of August 31, 2019 and 2018, NWF Action Fund owed the Federation $128 [thousand] and $29 [thousand], respectively, for such costs. Additionally, as of August 31, 2019 and 2018, NWF Action Fund owed $104 [thousand] and $118 [thousand] to the Federation for contributions collected for the Federation."

[Note: CharityWatch currently does not provide a separate rating for National Wildlife Federation's related 501(c)(4) entity, National Wildlife Federation Action Fund, given its relatively small size. Its total contributions were approximately $434,000 for the fiscal year ended 8/31/2018, according to its most recently available tax filing.]

According to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) tax filing for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, NWF reports re: Compensation, Supplemental Information (IRS Form 990, Schedule J, Part III):

Regarding severance payments to officers, directors, trustees, key employees and highest compensated employees (Schedule J, Part I, Line 4a):

"During the year ended December 31, 2018, Maureen P. Smith, Associate VP, Corp Sponsorships, received severance payments totaling $35,770."

NWF reports that Maureen P. Smith was Associate VP, Corp Sponsorships until 09/2018, receiving total compensation of $162,822 in calendar year 2018 (IRS Form 990, Schedule J, Part II).

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