Financials (updated September 30, 2015)
Every organization (for profit and non-profit alike) has a responsibility to manage their finances with integrity and wisdom. At GOAT, we take that responsibility incredibly seriously for several reasons. First and foremost, a significant amount of the funds we receive are the result of your giving and our role is to ensure that we provide the best possible opportunities for kids with every dollar that comes in. Next, it takes money to accomplish our mission. We’re giving kids in the Upstate opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise and we want to ensure that our programs can continue to exist and grow in a healthy, sustainable way. One key component of integrity is transparency. We have checks and balances in place to make sure that we are using our funds with honesty and wisdom. For example, since the beginning of GOAT, a board of directors has reviewed, approved (or disapproved) financial forecasts, reporting and all significant financial decisions at our organization. In fact, we’re not even allowed to make major financial decisions without the approval of the board! Having accountability in place has been a crucial part of building GOAT into what it is today, but we want to go one step further and be transparent about our finances with you. Although our organization does a great job at minimizing costs and maximizing effectiveness, our goal isn’t to put those things on display. What we want to do is give people a clear picture of how our organization operates, how their donations are being used and how we’re planning for long-term sustainability and—most excitingly—more growth in the future.
Quarterly Financials

We’re planning several more posts that will dive into deeper detail, but we’re starting with a broad overview of revenue and expenses at GOAT. To the right is a spreadsheet that includes quarterly and YTD financials.

The Tribe
The Tribe is our dedicated, monthly donors. As a non-profit largely dependent on donations, regular giving makes it much easier to plan, forecast and budget. By knowing what sort of regular revenues we have, we can spend our resources better and provide more life changing experiences for kids.
Tribe Numbers (as of Sept 30)

Tribe members: 88

Monthly amount: $6,645

Average: $76/month

Low: $5/month

High: $500/month

Most common: $100, $85, $20, $35

Quarterly growth: 2.6%

Join the Tribe
“Tribe” is the term for a group of goats, and GOAT wouldn’t be what it is without the Tribe. We would love for you to be the next member of our Tribe and have you as a part of what we do here at GOAT.
More about the Tribe

Common questions/concerns

What is “Gym (net)”?
This amount represents the net contributions from our indoor climbing facility after all expenses. An added bonus is that the expenses include rent, facility, utilities and staff phones for GOAT (that means the climbing gym helps cover significant operating costs related to helping kids!). This figure represents the full revenues (minus expenses) that is contributed to GOAT as cash for programs and operations.
If you're making a profit, why do you need people to give more?
That’s a great question, with a couple of answers. First of all, our biggest programs happen in the summer months, from June to August. During those months we have a whole host of additional expenses: summer staff and interns to pay, insurance premiums, rental vans for transportation, food for over 1,200 kids, permit and usage fees, and lots of outdoor gear. Having excess funds during the off-peak season allows us to plan accordingly and build some runway for the months we face significantly heavier expenses. We save in months where costs are low so we can afford the months where costs are high. That brings us to our second reason. Each summer we serve a specific number of kids. That number has grown every summer, and as you would expect, that growth was possible because of increased donations. Life is good when things keep growing, but what we don’t want to happen is growth beyond sustainability. More specifically, we want our programs to live on for at baseline number kids so that if for some reason our donations didn’t grow again next year, we wouldn’t have to let employees go and let down all of the groups we’ve worked so hard to build relationships with. To that end, our team has been working very hard over the last few years to build sustainability into our model. We’ve accomplished that in two ways: first, through our climbing gym (the “Gym (net)” figure), and second, through an incredible group of monthly donors called The Tribe. That’s good news for the kids we serve: we’re not dependent on landing some huge donation each year for our programs to keep running. That’s also incredibly exciting for people who want to make donations, though: additional funds allow us to serve even more kids and open our programs to even more people. We’ll cover this model in more detail in the coming weeks.
Why are administrative costs so high?
The bulk of our programs and related expenses occur in the summer months. Outside of those times, we keep our program costs as lean as possible. Our mentoring program is our primary out of summer program and we’ve been able to keep it very efficient.
What is your overhead percentage?
Overhead is a common metric in the non-profit world. Many donors and foundations want to be sure their funds are being used for overhead items – rent, utilities, office expenses, and even payroll. In many non-profits, overhead becomes a bad word. We believe (and our donors agree) that overhead is a necessity of running any organization. We need an office, and a copier, and even paperclips – at the end of the day, we’re a business. Further, we have specific measures of accountability in place to make sure that our overhead costs are as low as reasonably possible. That being said, we understand concerns about costs and do our best to cover as much of our traditional overhead through our indoor climbing gym. For example – in Q1 the indoor facility covered all facility overhead and the excess revenues offset 85% of our remaining Administrative costs.
What is your cost per kid served?
This is a great question, and a very common question. It’s also a dangerous question. We could very easily drive our programs to optimize our “cost per kid” and provide a nice, low, round number. This would require a lot of growth strategy, and we believe it would cause us to focus less on the quality of the time we have with the students we serve. We choose a “quality over quantity” approach, and are still able to serve over 1,200 kids each year. Instead of developing a cost per student, we’ve come up with a model to serve a baseline amount of students through our indoor facility and The Tribe and we’ve explained how that model works here.

Financial Blog Posts

Every now and then we write in detail about our financials and dive deeper into non-profit financial principles. Feel free to follow along.

Dollars and cents

As we enter the final quarter of the calendar (and fiscal for us) year, we find ourselves in a similar yet different situation as an organization. Our summer is by far the busiest part of the year and…
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