Nicolás Fund for Education: Financial Transparency and Accountability

Joshua RystedtBlog, Financial Transparency and Accountability Leave a Comment

FINANCIALThank you to our donors who are helping Ixil youth to realize their educational dreams! This month, we would like to walk you through how each dollar you donate is spent. For each dollar that you donate:


Money Spent

Nicolas Fund for Education is definitely a “no frills” operation. Our National Director, Ivan España, administers our NFE programs in Guatemala. Our “US Administrative expenses” include our virtual assistant, donor management software, Constant Contact, website, insurance, office supplies and marketing tools such as posters and mailings.

We have one part-time “virtual assistant” who is an independent contractor to help coordinate NFE Board activities and assist with communications. The costs associated with our virtual assistant contractor are covered by a private donor, and we are very grateful for this help. We have no NFE employees in the United States.

The “Distance Learning Program” refers to Juanita’s and VH1 programs through Instituto Superior de Educación a Distancia. ISEA meets Guatemalan Ministry of Education criteria and standards.  The village tutoring program, however, was created by NFE specifically to better prepare students before they begin 7th grade.

Our fundraising costs are far, far below the average for a nonprofit because of our faithful donors and volunteers. This allows our fundraising to be highly efficient so that the least amount of money can be spent to receive a donation.

Typically, nonprofits spend about 25-30% of funds raised on the fundraising process itself, according to Charity Navigator.  NFE spends only 2%, thanks to our dedicated team of volunteers who bake, set up and take down our event and the hospitality of both Evergreen Covenant Church and Bellevue Presbyterian for our fundraiser. Our volunteers really help us devote every penny we can to our students and their education.

NFE has not been around long enough to be rated by Charity Navigator, which requires records for seven years from a nonprofit for evaluation. We can look at their criteria, though, to see how we stack up. According to Charity Navigator, our fundraising spending of only 2% places NFE within the lowest possible category spent on fundraising (lower is better).  Charity Navigator indicates that organizations who are, “spending less than a third of their budget on program expenses are simply not living up to their missions”. NFE’s program expenses are two-thirds of our budget.

NFE Donations Spent 2

To break down our Nicolás Christian School expenses as a pie chart:

NFE Budget 3

We have a four-year lease with a church in Nebaj to use their Sunday School building for our school, and the lease price is the cost of a number of property infrastructure improvements. The church was willing to do this because they too benefit from the improvements when they use the buildings on Sunday. Improvements included additional square footage, improved restrooms, eco-friendly wastewater management, plumbing and electrical improvements.

Our hope is that, in four years, we will have outgrown this campus. Our students live near Cotzal, which is approximately 11 miles (30 minutes) from our current school location in Nebaj. One of the questions facing the NFE Board is when our four-year lease of the school building ends in 2019, would our program be better served by relocating the school to Cotzal?

This question has many ramifications, especially as we begin developing relationships with local businesses for internships for our students and look into possible entrepreneurial ventures to help create jobs in the community for NCS students.

The cost of improving a leased property to meet our needs or building a new school are significant. We are asking God to show us what He would have us to do.

Please keep the NFE Board in your prayers as we consider this matter. It is a very high priority for the NFE Board to be good stewards of the funds donors have entrusted to us and to be always listening to God to follow His plan for these promising Ixil youth.

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