Why has CSPF’s Charity Navigator rating changed?

As described under Revenues and Expenses, in accordance with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) guidelines, CSPF allocates the joint costs of its direct mail activities between its program and fundraising expenses on its audited financial statements as well as public filings such as the IRS form 990.

In 2013, Charity Navigator reclassified non-profit expenses, believing that all mailings and communications materials should be fully charged to fundraising as part of the functional reporting of expenses. This reclassification played a major factor in CSPF's Charity Navigator rating change.

Since Charity Navigator began rating CSPF in 2002, we have averaged a three-star rating. Our current rating on Charity Navigator, based on Fiscal Year 2014-15, reflects the challenges and fluctuations that CSPF faced during this period. Though CSPF is making every effort to return to our four-star rating, we acknowledge that our current score is a reflection of the fiscal challenges faced by the organization during this difficult period.

Why are there annual fluctuations in CSPF’s fundraising and expenditure numbers?

One of CSPF's roles over the years has been to assist the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) in raising funds for major capital projects and other initiatives. Examples of such projects include the wetlands restoration at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area and the development of the Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) virtual education program. CSPF raises funds and manages their distribution to complete these projects in accordance with funders' wishes. The pace at which funds are raised and spent can vary widely from year to year depending on the timing of project phasing and completion by the Department of Parks and Recreation. As a result, CSPF's revenues and expenditures can fluctuate significantly from year to year, affecting the ratio of program to administrative/fundraising expense as well as the cost of fundraising percentage.

Are CSPF staff salaries reasonable?

The compensation structure for CSPF's staff, including senior management, is established annually in consultation with an independent compensation consultant. The consultant's salary recommendations are based on their objective review of regional compensation surveys as well as their assessment of CSPF's job responsibilities and supervisory duties. Executive compensation is specifically reviewed and approved by the Board's Executive Committee. The overall compensation levels for senior management as approved by the Board of Trustees are consistently at or below the recommended levels provided by the compensation consultant.

California State Parks Foundation

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