Frequently Asked Questions
Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR) operates with 10 percent or less of overhead expenses. This 10 percent is broken down to basic administrative costs, such as communications, print material, donor thank-you's and Foursquare Connection costs (expenses that are not field focused).
The Foursquare Church is part of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). As part of The Foursquare Church, FDR upholds the standards set forth by the ECFA and is accountable for good financial stewardship.
The term “overhead” is actually quite nuanced. Donors often interpret the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization based on its fundraising and administration costs.
Any percentages of overhead within nonprofits are usually comprised of two things: accounting and assignment. “Assignment” refers to how an employee is utilized. For example, an executive’s function may comprise 50 percent field operations, 25 percent fundraising, and 25 percent administration and management. The percentage of time given to each function is referred to as an employee’s “footprint,” and also helps inform the allocation of funds toward salary and expenses.
More than the numbers, well-informed donors often respond on the basis of an organization’s credibility. While there are some who may only care if the overhead percentage number is low, it is helpful to keep in mind that donors often have a higher expectation that overhead percentages be lower for the nonprofits they support than consumers typically have for for-profit businesses.
When landing on an overhead number, there are a few things to consider. This is especially the case with lower overhead numbers. Immediate questions include the following:
- How are nonprofits managed if the desire is to keep overhead expenses low? In all organizations/businesses/nonprofits, someone has to mind the store. Organizations need administrative support, someone to drive sales and basic management. Having competent people in those roles costs money.
- What are “in-kind” donations, and how do they help drive down overhead percentages? Most organizations publishing extremely low percentages are able to do so because of what are considered “in-kind” donations, which can consist of tangible supplies or professional help. For instance, if an organization receives donations of food products or medical equipment (which could be worth upwards of thousands of dollars), it can offset the costs of overhead expenses with the “in-kind” goods.
Likewise, when it comes to the donation of time, if people volunteer hours directly related to their vocations, those hours can also be considered “in-kind” donations. These are a couple of examples of how organizations might offset their figures to display low percentages of overhead. If FDR were to employ the use of “in-kind” donations, our overhead percentages would be under 1 percent.
- Organization comparison. Most donors like a way to compare and rank organizations side by side, comparing efficiency and effectiveness with this number. This is rarely an “apples to apples” comparison, however. Given the nature of how these numbers are tracked and offset, organizations interpret and adopt their own expense allocation guidelines when determining what constitutes fundraising or overhead.
FDR has adopted a transparent and clear interpretation of our expenses, and does not offset expenses with “in-kind” gifts. FDR’s partnerships with local Foursquare churches both in the U.S. and around the globe enable us to have “boots on the ground” in the immediate wake of a disaster. Utilizing The Foursquare Church’s infrastructure and systems helps keep our expenses down, and allows us to resource more in our response.
Scripturally, it is a blessing and act of worship to give, and FDR is honored and privileged to be a part of resourcing the local church to represent Jesus to people in their time of need. We encourage our donors to share in our accomplishments and stories of the lives that have been touched and transformed as a result of their giving and compassion. We will constantly strive to be open, accountable and transparent in all that we do. We thank you for your partnership.
We partner with our local Foursquare churches nearest the disaster area — and often right in the middle of it. Because of this, we are often able to get an initial response within 24 hours of a disaster. From there, we already have a foothold for our donors abroad to begin sending donations and supplies.
We have responded to disasters all over the world. We don’t put any limits on where we will go when our neighbors need us. As of 2021, we’ve provided relief to:
If there is human suffering, we will do everything we can to alleviate it. That includes serving communities impacted by famine, drought, fire, flood, storms, war, and political unrest.
Visit our donation page here! You’ll be able to choose which of our current relief efforts you’d like your donation to go towards.
Beyond donating, we have several opportunities to volunteer with Foursquare Disaster Relief.
You can volunteer with FDR to respond to emergencies and disasters in the U.S. or internationally. Complete the application, and an FDR team member will contact you with next steps to prepare you for deployment.
U.S. Responder Training
Foursquare Disaster Relief Training requires 16 hours of FEMA-approved equipping for people who want to become responders to disasters. This training is required for Foursquare credentialed ministers who would like to become Foursquare chaplains.
International Responder Training
FDR, in partnership with Foursquare Missions International (FMI), offers two-day Short Term Missions Training (STMT) events. Our training prepares short-term teams and individuals to serve in alignment with Foursquare global/national leaders and FMI area missionaries.
Become a Medical Responder
If you have a medical background, apply to respond to disasters around the world through Foursquare Disaster Relief. You will partner with FDR and our global Foursquare family as we seek to meet tangible needs for communities in need. Complete the volunteer application, and an FDR team member will contact you with next steps, usually within two weeks.