Monday, December 10, 2007

End-of-the-Year Giving: Ask Us the Questions

As you consider your end-of-the-year charitable giving, I hope you will consider CHADD. We depend on our 14,000 members and individual donors to finance our core staff and operations. We supplement these operations with third-party funds, our annual conference, and sales of products.

There are thousands of wonderful charitable organizations. If you are concerned with learning disability, developmental disability, mental health issues, and helping adults live a full and happy life, CHADD may be the place for an end-of-the-year gift. Our services and programs are described on our Web site ( Our objective is to build a social movement that provides the supports that people need to be successful and happy.

Here are some questions you should ask any charity, and here are our answers:

1. Does the organization post its Internal Revenue Service 990 return on its Web site? They should, in order to meet charitable standards of public transparency. For CHADD's IRS 990, go to and go to the "About CHADD" section and "Reports," or click here.

2. Does the organization use an independent auditor to annually analyze the financial integrity of its financial affairs and is the audit available to the public? CHADD has an independent financial audit by Squire, Lemkin, and O'Brien. Because we post the IRS 990 return on our Web site, we do not post the very similar audit. But the audit is available upon request.

3. Does the organization tell you how much of their expenses are spent for programs, how much for management, and how much for fundraising? These data are included in the IRS 990. For CHADD, in the last fiscal year (which ended June 30, 2007), 83.45% of our expenditures were devoted to services and programs for persons with AD/HD and related disorders. We spent 9.78% to manage and have the board govern the association and we spent 6.76% on fundraising.

4. Does the organization meet independent national standards of accountability for nonprofit organizations? CHADD does. We not only meet the federal government's Combined Federal Campaign standards, but we meet the more rigorous National Health Council Standards of Excellence for voluntary health agencies, and we meet the nation's gold standard for independent accountability—the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance certification.

5. Does the organization post its board of directors, professional advisory board members (if applicable), and annual reports on its Web site? We do; go to our Web site and see "About CHADD"; our annual report content and format meet the National Health Council and Better Business Bureau standards.

6. Does the organization receive corporate support and does it publicly report this support? CHADD does. This is not a requirement of the IRS, NHC, BBB, or CFC. We post a summary of total revenue support and the exact dollars and composition of our revenues from pharmaceutical corporations (see; go to "About CHADD" and "Reports" or click here. For the fiscal year that just ended, 26% of our revenue ($1,169,000) was derived from corporate donations. These funds support many important programs, including our summer camp scholarship program, young scientists scholarship award, recognition award for individual authors of Journal of Attention Deficit Disorders family-oriented articles, conferences, educational activities, and parent-to-parent training.

When CHADD recently objected to a news media commentary that AD/HD was a historic fraud because AD/HD does not exist, and when we recently objected to a school district sending home with all children in the district a warning that most children diagnosed with AD/HD don't have a problem and are labeled mentally ill, a leading anti-psychiatry group that denies the existence of all mental disorders, including AD/HD, branded CHADD a "front group misleading parents" because we receive financial support from pharmaceutical companies. We receive corporate financial support to build, grow, and support programs and services to persons with AD/HD and related services. We believe that America's corporations have a charitable obligation, and the CHADD board of directors ensures that these funds are completely independently administered by CHADD. We believe in diversification of revenue. Our board restricts pharmaceutical funding to no more than 30% of our revenue.

We publicize the published science of agencies of government and professional societies. We publicize the science-based multimodal treatment of AD/HD, defined for children and adolescents as parent and child education about the diagnosis and treatment, behavior management techniques, medication, and school programming and supports. Treatment should be tailored to the unique needs of each child and family. Medications are not effective for all children. Medication creates side effects for some children and some of the side effects are serious. But for the average or typical child with more substantial AD/HD, medication is part of a multimodal treatment program. This is not a "front" argument. This is a statement of the published science as stated by the unanimous consent of the CHADD professional advisory board.

Thank you for considering end-of-the-year financial support for the programs and services offered by CHADD.