Choosing a charity to give to that makes the best use of its funds takes a little research. At the Sept. 12 Waunakee Rotary meeting, Lisa Humenik, director of the Waunakee Neighborhood Connection, suggested some ways to be sure your money is being well spent.
Social change is difficult work, Lisa said. If it weren’t, we would have solved the world’s problems.
Lisa said there are 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States that employ 13 million people for $1 trillion for the Gross National Product.
Overall giving last year equaled $427.1 billion. To succeed, charitable organizations need effective management systems, competent and adequately paid staff, a robust infrastructure and impactful programs.
Their funding mostly comes from individuals, followed by foundations, bequests and grants.
Often, people will focus on the overhead of a charitable organization when judging its works. But what an organization provides and how that overhead is used also factor in. Also, overhead can change from year to year, depending on what investments the organization is making in any given year.
Lisa said some nonprofits fall into a starvation cycle. They become so focused on the overhead and the pressure to conform that they don’t invest in the staff they need.
Overhead goes toward information technology systems, financial systems, skills training and fundraising.  
Instead, Lisa suggested looking at the organization’s legitimacy and the compliance in terms of finances and operations, whether programs are consistent with the organization’s mission and whether they achieve the intended results.
One red flag to look for is non-transparency. Checking out the press the organization has received, its strategy, management, programs and services also helps in the evaluation.
Lisa also suggests identifying the organization or mission you want to support, what you want to give and where you want to give it, whether it’s regionally, nationally or internationally. That also helps to say no to some organizations that don’t meet the criteria.
Lisa suggested a few different websites to visit to research nonprofits, including, and
“It’s good to be proactive rather than reactive and to research strategies rather than overhead,” Lisa said.
The Sept. 12 meeting was also club assembly, so committees gave the following reports:
–The visit to the former Badger Ammunition property is set for Oct. 10 after the meeting. Bob Klostermann asked if we would like a bus to transport us. The group will head to the Vintage in Sauk afterwards, so if you can’t make the tour, you’re welcome to meet there afterwards, around 4:30 p.m..
–Oct. 20 is the Food for Kidz event and the goal is to package a half million meals.
–Next week’s speaker is from the Wisconsin chapter of Better Angels, an organization that tries to promote civil discourse about polarizing political issues.
–The Sunrise meeting was rescheduled to the week of Sept. 16.
–The Wauktoberfest grounds were all set up, and there will be some premium wines this year.
Guests: Chad Beery, guest of Roxanne Johnson.
Visiting Rotarians: Todd Restel, La Crosse.
Birthdays: Sept. 19, Neil Kruschek; Sept. 23, Chris Kenney; Sept. 25, Allan Dassow.
Anniversaries: Sept. 20, Neil and Sharon Kruschek; Sept. 22, Rex and Brenda Endres; Sept. 25, Bob and Karen Klostermann.
Programs: Sept. 19, Cameron Swallo, the Better Angels Organization; Sept. 26, Mark Weller, the art of time stacking.
Greeters: Sept. 19, Scott Cochems and John Cullen; Sept. 26, David Dargenio and Allan Dassow; Oct. 3, Lori Derauf and Breck Dokken; Oct. 10, Pat Durden and Fritz Durst.