Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Frugality: Valhalla's Institutional Frugality

As leaders of the Valhalla Project it is incumbent on us to be strict practitioners of institutional as well as operational frugality. What do I mean by this? Well, one of the most troubling items for prospective corporate and individual donors is the frequently damning line on many non-profit annual reports that reads "Salaries and Benefits." In many highly publicized examples - too often from respected organizations like United Fund - directors and employees have outlandishly lavish salaries and overflowing baskets of benefits. Other investigations report that some organizations direct less than 10% of funds donated to actual mission-oriented projects while the rest is wasted of extravagances.

Some of the concerns are perception: since non-profits don't actually manufacture and sell anything other than services the normally high "Cost of Goods Sold" and "Profitability" lines are absent from the accounting page, thereby making S&B seem excessively high by comparison.

Valhalla will move beyond challenge: we will not only fix the perception, but the reality of the situation by some simple but effective measures. For example, Board members will not receive compensation for their efforts, nor will on-the-ground leaders (i.e., Gordon and Chris) draw a salary. By zeroing out these accounts Valhalla will graphically demonstrate sincerity of purpose and focus on mission to any and all who wish to peek inside our operational structure.

At some future point it may be necessary to have an on-site, permanent manager or two. In these cases a salary is acceptable but we would work with the prospective manager to make sure that while adequate, salary is low. Considering that housing and food will be provided in whole or in part and that retired NCOs will be the most likely candidates, we ought to authorize sufficient compensation to supplement military retirement and benefits without raising a red flag to donors. Just as we are making certain sacrifices and commitments, so will a qualified manager have to do.

By institutionalizing such practices we are going to be in a much stronger position to appeal for donations and contributions in kind and we will be more in consonance with the letter and spirit of our mission: Of the Soldiers; for the Soldiers.

Our IRS application for nonprofit status is being processed, 
yet you can still donate to help Valhalla today!

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