As we shared in an earlier blog post, UGM stresses the importance of individual accountability for staff and residents. In this post, we want to share the ways in which UGM is striving for that accountability as an organization, as well.
- Independent Audit. Every year, UGM undergoes an independent audit by a certified public accounting firm at the end of our fiscal year (September 1 through August 31). We lay our books open and invite scrutiny. The audit is not required; UGM does it out of desire to hold ourselves accountable and demonstrate that our stewardship is above reproach. This report is available to anyone who is interested. Simply request a copy through Dean Bitz, UGM Director of Operations.
- IRS Form 990. Again, UGM is not required to submit a 990, but we fill one out as an extra measure of transparency for foundations and other investors. We want people to know where the money’s coming from and where it’s going. This form is also available by request.
- Annual Report. The UGM marketing and communications team uses the above two pieces of information to create the annual report – a user-friendly document to show both the previous year’s financial history and the impact that funding made. The annual report comes out in the spring of the year and is available on the UGM website throughout the year. One of the critical measures relayed in the annual report is the percentage of total revenue spent on program expenses vs. management and fundraising. (In 2015, UGM spent 88% of total revenue on program expenses; 7% on fundraising; and 5% on administration.)
Union Gospel Mission Ministries are administered by a Board of Directors. The 23 men and women who serve on the Board provide the ministry with oversight and an additional layer of accountability. A variety of committees – including but not limited to the finance committee, the personnel committee, the long-range planning committee – research, discuss and deliberate on relevant policy issues and present their findings for full board discussion, review and voting if required. For example, the Finance Committee meets with the UGM business administrator to examine the annual budget line by line. All requests for spending beyond the approved budget must receive board approval.
We very much want you to come take a closer look at our facilities. We invite you to come for a tour, to prepare or serve a meal, to sit down with our guests for dinner. We want to show you what’s happening behind the scenes and hear your feedback.
We are a part of the Body of Christ, and as such, we strive to be integrally connected to the local church. A variety of churches and small groups hold chapel services at the Men’s Shelter each night. Pastors teach classes and Bible studies to our guests. Nine different churches and youth groups host a week at UGM Camp each summer. UGM Auxiliary is made up of members from local churches who partner with us to spread the word about what’s happening throughout the ministry. UGM staff also go into local churches to teach classes and help congregations provide the support their members in recovery might need. UGM views our church connections as vital to keeping us grounded and healthy.
"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another," (Proverbs 27:17).
Vocational Advancement, under the leadership of Joel Brown and Marsha Reese, is all about studying best business practices and equipping residents in our programs to go out into the business world to make a valuable contribution. We invite business owners and corporate executives to speak to our residents, to provide job coaching, and even to evaluate our programs. If a resident goes into a business practicum position and the fit is not a good one, we want to know. Joel and Marsha engage in conversation with both the business owner and the resident to discover the problem and make things right.
We invite business partners to do job fairs and mock interviews and training seminars because we know their input is invaluable. They help keep us on track as we help individuals return to society as contributing members.
Social media provides the opportunity for an incredible level of transparency. People ask all kinds of questions that they might not have the opportunity to do otherwise, and we try to answer them as honestly and directly as we can. People also have the opportunity to express negative feelings and even to criticize. While we might argue that there are more effective ways to advocate for change, social media definitely helps keep us on our toes.
Our marketing and communications department also invites professional critique through local and national competitions, holding us accountable to pursue a standard of excellence.
If you have questions you'd like to see answered, we invite you to comment below. On a ground level, the fact that you are paying attention helps to keep us accountable, and we're grateful.
Stewardship and accountability are important factors when picking a charity. Click on the link below to download our 5 Tips on How to Pick a Charity.