The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. The Society is also committed to being an exceptional steward of the funds and resources entrusted to us in order to achieve that vision. As such, we encourage everyone who shares our vision to be fully informed, and confident in their choice to support the National MS Society.
There are several companies that provide information, and in some instances ratings, to describe the manner in which charitable organizations are governed, allocate resources, and transparently disclose public information. Because there are few, if any, common standards, each company determines the specific variables and methodology they use to gather, analyze, and communicate both information as well as any ratings they provide. This variability in approach can sometimes create wide disparity in ratings, and in some cases reflects an approach that is inconsistent with regulatory agencies or principles with which charitable organizations must comply. While such variability remains prominent, some agencies are working together to identify common ground; read more in a letter from three organizations addressed to the Donors of America.
Below are a few of the companies who provide information and evaluations of charitable organizations. Where applicable, inconsistencies with regulatory agencies or principles are indicated.
The National Health Council Standards of Excellence Certification Program acknowledges those organizations who maintain the highest standards of effectiveness and public stewardship. The standards are aligned with those of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, but more extensive, covering the areas of governance, human resources, programs, fundraising, finance, accounting and reporting, and evaluation.
The National MS Society meets the highest standards of accountability, ethical practice, organizational effectiveness, and good public stewardship.
The BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability include twenty standards addressing the areas of:
- Governance and Oversight
- Measuring Effectiveness
- Fundraising and Informational Materials
The National MS Society meets all 20 BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards.
The BBB also provides information on some individual Society chapters, which can be searched at BBB.org.
Charity Navigator* evaluates and rates charitable organizations primarily in two areas: financial health, and accountability and transparency, to which they apply a mathematical formula.
Charity Navigator’s disallowance of joint cost allocations** directly conflicts with:
- Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
- Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)
Information from this organization is individually reported by chapter office as well as national office, which can be searched at charitynavigator.org. The Society's national office rating is 53.05, reflecting 3 out of 4 stars.
**What is Joint Cost Allocation?
Joint Cost Allocation is an accounting term that ultimately reflects the percentage of each dollar spent by a non-profit organization on three primary categories of their work; Fundraising, Mission/Program, and General/Administrative. Joint Cost Allocation is an Generally Accepted Accounting Principle (GAAP) established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Statement of Position 98-2, with which non-profit organizations are required to comply. A specific set of criteria is applied to allocate expenses specifically associated with the three identified work areas. For detailed information on the criteria and application, please visit: AICPA site