You Won't Believe the Overhead Costs at These 25 Nonprofits

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When donating to a nonprofit, you like to think that most of your money is going towards its stated goal, and that the nonprofit spends most of its money towards making the world a better place. Sometimes, however, the nonprofit spends more money on its overhead costs, such as fundraising and paying management, than on other efforts.

Thanks to some data from Charity Navigator, we have the top 10 charities with high overhead costs. These are largely smaller charities, probably ones you've never heard of, that look to spend almost all of their funds on overhead costs.

However, we should note that except in extreme cases, Charity Navigator believes that focusing on overhead without considering other critical dimensions of a charity's financial and organizational performance can do more damage than good. They further believe that the most critical dimension in evaluating a nonprofit has to do with it achieving meaningful results. To read more on this topic, see Charity Navigator's President & CEO's related articles:

The Best and Worst Way to Pick a Charity

The Road Beyond Nonprofit Overhead

Also note that there are about 1.4 million nonprofits in the US. Of those, about 1 million are public charities. Charity Navigator rates over 7,700 of them (which account for 50% of annual donations when excluding houses of worship). As such, the "top nonprofits with the highest overhead costs" are not of the universe of U.S. charities, but of those that Charity Navigator tracks.

25. Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund

Total Overhead: 82.4%

Management & General Expenses: 14.7%

Fundraising Expenses: 67.7%

CEO Compensation: $192,00

Starting the list is Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, which has a total overhead percentage of 82.4%. The nonprofit spends 67.7% of its funds on fundraising and 14.7% on management and general costs. CEO David Martin received 7.2% of the nonprofit's funds in 2012.

The goal of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund is to assist law enforcement officers when they are brought to court. The nonprofit helps pay legal fees and serves are co-counsel for police officers as part of its mission.

24. Defeat Diabetes Foundation

Total Overhead: 83.2%

Management & General Expenses: 5.9%

Fundraising Expenses: 77.3%

CEO Compensation: $15,600

In 2012 the Defeat Diabetes Foundation reported a total overhead of 83.2%. A total of 77.3% of the nonprofits funds went to raising more funds, while 5.8% went to management and general expenses. The nonprofit gave 1.3% of its funds to CEO Andrew P. Mandell in the year.

The nonprofit was founded in 1991 with the mission of informing and educating people about Type 2 diabetes. The goal of the nonprofit is to promote awareness, prevention, and early detection of the disease.

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23. American Jewish Congress

Total Overhead: 83.4%

Management & General Expenses: 71%

Fundraising Expenses: 12.4%

CEO Compensation: Not reported

The American Jewish Congress spent 83.4% of its funds on total overhead in 2012. The nonprofit spent 71% of its available money on management and general costs, and 12.4% on fundraising efforts. The American Jewish Congress didn't report any information about its CEO.

The goal of the American Jewish Congress is to defend the interests of Jewish people in the U.S. and abroad using diplomacy, legislation, and the courts. The nonprofit says its more important projects include advocating for the security of Israel, upgrading Israel's role in NATO, and furthering women's empowerment.

22. Friends of MS Charities

Total Overhead: 83.9%

Management & General Expenses: 15.8%

Fundraising Expenses: 68.1%

CEO Compensation: $52,00

Friends of MS Charities makes the list at number 22 with a total overhead percentage of 83.9% in 2012. The nonprofit reported spending 68.1% of its funds on fundraising in the year, and 15.8% on management and general costs. CEO Francis Maurice received 4.5% of the nonprofits funds in 2012.

As the name suggests, Friends of MS Charities goal is to help people with Multiple Sclerosis by supporting research and donating to programs that help those with the disease.

21. Police Athletic League of New Jersey

Total Overhead: 84.1%

Management & General Expenses: 9%

Fundraising Expenses: 75.1%

CEO Compensation: $44,734

The Police Athletic League of New Jersey spent a total of 84.1% of its funds on overhead in 2012. A total of 75.1% of its money went towards raising more money, and 9% went to management and general costs. The nonprofit gave 3.7% of its money to CEO Timothy E. Dowd in the year.

Founded in 1991, the Police Athletic League of New Jersey offers statewide programs and services for kids in New Jersey. The nonprofit's goal is to "serve the people and youth of our region by providing high quality programs, that will improve the quality of life in our state, especially programs that will help our youth to become caring, capable and engaged citizens in our complex society."

20. Wishing Well Foundation USA

Total Overhead: 91.8%

Management & General Expenses: 9.3%

Fundraising Expenses: 82.5%

CEO Compensation: $30,057

In 2012 Wishing Well Foundation USA reported total overhead costs of 91.8%. The nonprofit spend 82.5% of its funds on fundraising, and 9.3% on its management and general costs. The organization gave 2.7% of its funds to CEO Robin Withers in 2012.

The New Orleans-based Wishing Well Foundation USA's goal is to fulfill the wishes of terminally ill children.

19. National Caregiving Foundation

Total Overhead: 87.7%

Management & General Expenses: 19.7%

Fundraising Expenses: 68%

CEO Compensation: $107,748

The National Caregiving Foundation spent a total of 87.7% of its funds on overhead costs in 2012. Of its available funds for the year, 68% went to fundraising and 19.7% went to management and general costs. CEO Joseph R. Salta received 4.1% of the nonprofit's funds in the year.

The National Caregiving Foundation was founded in 1985 with the mission of meeting "both the direct and indirect needs resulting from the impact of catastrophic diseases on our society," according to Charity Navigator. The nonprofit focuses its efforts on the Alzheimer's Project.

18. The Committee for Missing Children

Total Overhead: 87.9%

Management & General Expenses: 2.4%

Fundraising Expenses: 85.5%

CEO Compensation: $84,593

The Committee for Missing Children makes the list at number 18 with 87.9% of total overhead costs in 2012. The nonprofit spent 85.5% of its funds on fundraising, and 2.4% on management and general costs. CEO David Thelan received 4.1% of the nonprofit's funds in 2012.

The Committee for Missing Children was founded in 1991. The nonprofit's goal is to help the families of missing children by distributing photos of the missing children, as well as serving as an "information clearinghouse" for families and agencies dealing with abducted children.

17. National Vietnam Veterans Foundation

Total Overhead: 88.5%

Management & General Expenses: 1.6%

Fundraising Expenses: 86.9%

CEO Compensation: $15,000

In 2012 the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation spent 88.5% of its money on total overhead costs. The nonprofit spent 86.9% of its money in attempts to raise more money, and 1.6% on management and general costs. The nonprofit gave 0.3% of its funds to CEO J. Thomas Burch Jr. in 2012.

The Florida-based nonprofit was founded by veterans with the goal of helping other veterans. The nonprofit says its mission is "raise the level of public pride in the achievement of Vietnam Veterans; provide educational seminars, workshops, conferences, and training programs; and sponsor scholarships for the education of dependent children of Vietnam Veterans."

16. Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation

Total Overhead: 90.4%

Management & General Expenses: 1.3%

Fundraising Expenses: 89.2%

CEO Compensation: $128,123

The Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation is 16th on this list after spending 90.4% of its funds on overhead costs in 2012. Of the nonprofit's available funds, 89.1% went to fundraising in 2012 while 1.3% went to management and general expenses. CEO Michael Slutsky received 3.3% of the nonprofits funds in the year.

The Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation's goal is to provide information, education, and financial help to families with children on the autism spectrum. The nonprofit also helps to spread awareness by providing free early detection kits to those who work with infants, toddlers, and preschool children.

15. California Police Youth Charities

Total Overhead: 90.8%

Management & General Expenses: 6.1%

Fundraising Expenses: 84.6%

CEO Compensation: $75,900

Number 15 on the list is California Police Youth Charities which reported spending 90.8% of its funds on overhead costs in 2012. The nonprofit spent 84.6% of its money on fundraising in the year, and 6.1% on management and general costs. CEO Christopher Eaton received 3.1% of the nonprofit's funds in the year.

The goal of the California-based nonprofit is "to build relationships between the law enforcement community and California youth," according to Charity Navigator. California Police Youth Charities tries to achieve that goal but creating scholarships and funding youth activities throughout the state.

14. The Retired Enlisted Association Memorial Foundation

Total Overhead: 90.9%

Management & General Expenses: 18.3%

Fundraising Expenses: 72.5%

CEO Compensation: $0

The Retired Enlisted Association Memorial Foundation is number 14 on the list with 90.9% of its funds going to overhead costs in 2012. The nonprofit spend 18.3% of its money on management and general costs, and 72.5% on raising more funds. In a surprise for this list, CEO Larry Anderson did not receive any compensation from the nonprofit in 2012.

The Retired Enlisted Association Memorial Foundation was founded in 1990 with the goal of "to support and assist fellow veterans, active and retired, their families, military widows and children as necessary to provide assistance during their time of need."

13. Kidney & Urology Foundation of America

Total Overhead: 91.9%

Management & General Expenses: 38.8%

Fundraising Expenses: 53.1%

CEO Compensation: $132,642

The Kidney & Urology Foundation of America spent a total of 91.95% of its funds on overhead costs in 2012. Of its available funds that year, 53.1% went to fundraising and 38.8% went to management and general costs. CEO Shirley Baer took home a surprising 31.7% of the nonprofit's funds.

Found in 1953, the Kidney & Urology Foundation of America's mission is to help people with urological diseases and those who are waiting for organ and tissue transplants. The nonprofit primarily focuses on the care and support of the patient.

12. Cancer Survivors' Fund

Total Overhead: 92.9%

Management & General Expenses: 2.4%

Fundraising Expenses: 90.5%

CEO Compensation: $18,283

The Cancer Survivors' Fund spent a total of 92.9% of its funds on overhead costs in 2012. The nonprofit spent 90.5% of its funds on fundraising efforts, and 2.4% on management and general costs. CEO Michael Yonter received 1.3% of the nonprofits funds in 2012.

The Texas-based charity provides scholarships and prosthetic limbs for younger cancer survivors. The nonprofit also helps counsel and provide emotional support for those young cancer survivors.

11. Firefighters Charitable Foundation

Total Overhead: 93%

Management & General Expenses: 5.2%

Fundraising Expenses: 87.8%

CEO Compensation: $98,00

In 2012 the Firefighters Charitable Foundation spent 93% of its available funds on total overhead costs. A total of 87.8% of its funds went to fundraising, with 5.2% going to management and general expenses. CEO Frank Tepedino received 1.3% of the nonprofit's funds in the year.

The Farmingdale, NY-based nonprofit was founded in 1991 with the goal of providing financial assistance to those affected by fire or disaster. The nonprofit also support volunteer fire departments and fire safety outreach programs.

10. Police Protective Fund

Total Overhead: 93.1%

Management & General Expenses: 22.6%

Fundraising Expenses: 70.6%

CEO Compensation: $120,000

Tenth on this list, with 93.1% of all funds in 2012 going to overhead costs, is the Police Protective Fund. In 2012, the nonprofit spent 70.6% of its money on fundraising and 22.6% on management and general costs. The nonprofit gave 2.1% of its funds to CEO Phil LeConte.

The Police Protective Fund was founded in 1998 by the leaders of the American Association of Police Officers. The goal of the nonprofit is to enhance public safety and the public's understanding of "law enforcement safety issues."

9. United States Deputy Sheriff's Association

Total Overhead: 93.4%

Management & General Expenses: 5%

Fundraising Expenses: 88.4%

CEO Compensation: $30,000

Ninth on the list is the United States Deputy Sheriff's Association, which spent 93.4% of its funds on overhead costs in 2012. The nonprofit spent 88.4% of its funds on fundraising, and 5% on management and general costs in the year. CEO Thomas Palms received 1.2% of the charity's funds in 2012.

The United States Deputy Sheriff's Association was founded in 1995 in Houston, Texas. The nonprofit's goal is to provide needed equipment to underfunded county law enforcement agencies, mostly in rural areas, for free.

8. Shiloh International Ministries

Total Overhead: 93.9%

Management & General Expenses: 13.8%

Fundraising Expenses: 80%

CEO Compensation: $9,800

Shiloh International Ministries spent a total of 93.9% of its funds on overhead costs in 2012, making it eighth on the list. The nonprofit spent 80% of its funds on fundraising, and 13.8% on management and general costs. The nonprofit gave 3.8% of its funds to CEO Wallace E. Christensen in 2012.

The California-based charity's goal is to help improve the quality of life of disabled and "needy" children as well as the homeless, the hungry, veterans and children's hospitals.

7. Children's Charity Fund, Inc.

Total Overhead: 93.9%

Management & General Expenses: 9.8%

Fundraising Expenses: 84.1%

CEO Compensation: Not reported

Seventh on the list is the Children's Charity Fund, Inc., which spent 93.9% of its funds on overhead costs. In 2012 the nonprofit spent 84.1% of its funds on fundraising and 9.8% on management and general costs. The nonprofit did not report any information about its CEO during 2012.

Children's Charity Fund, Inc. was founded in 1991 with the goal of education and informing people about the needs of handicapped and disabled children. The nonprofit provides referral services and runs a national hotline for handicapped children, according to Charity Navigator.

6. Heart Support of America

Total Overhead: 94.4%

Management & General Expenses: 19.8%

Fundraising Expenses: 74.7%

CEO Compensation: $65,480

Heart Support of America is sixth on the list, with 94.4% of its funds going to overhead costs in 2012. A total of 74.7% of the nonprofit's funds went to fundraising and 19.8% on management and general costs. CEO Laura M. Perry received a total of 2.4% of the charity's funds in 2012.

The Knoxville-based charity raises funds to provide "education, program services and primarily direct aid to heart patients," according to Charity Navigator. The nonprofit has numerous goals that include promoting and providing "education, financial assistance, aid and support to heart patients with limited or depleted financial resources" as well as "grants, commodities and gifts-in-kind to hospices and other health care providers."

5. Faith's Hope Foundation

Total Overhead: 95.5%

Management & General Expenses: 1.3%

Fundraising Expenses: 94.3%

CEO Compensation: $80,000

With 95.5% of its funds spent on overhead costs in 2011, Faith's Hope Foundation is fifth on the list. A total of 94.3% of the nonprofit's funds went to fundraising in the year, while 1.3% went to management and general costs. The nonprofit gave 1.3% of its funds to CEO Marcus Greene in 2011.

Faith's Hope Foundation was founded in order to "provide a solution for medically and financially disadvantaged families," according to the charity. The name of the charity is actually an acronym for "Family Assistance In The Hospital Specializing in Helping Others Pay Expenses."

4. Walker Cancer Research Institute

Total Overhead: 96.4%

Management & General Expenses: 5.3%

Fundraising Expenses: 91.1%

CEO Compensation: $132,736

Fourth on the list is Walker Cancer Research Institute, which spent 96.4% of its total funds on overhead in 2012. The nonprofit spent 91.1% of its money to raise more funds and 5.3% for management and general costs. CEO Helen Marie Walker received 1.3% of the nonprofit's funds in 2012.

The Maryland-based nonprofit was founded in 1981 with the goal of finding more effective cancer treatments. The nonprofit operates research labs in both Maryland and Florida to work on those treatments. Walker Cancer Research Institute also provides information about early cancer symptom detection and treatment options.

3. Texas Stampede

Total Overhead: 97%

Management & General Expenses: 67.2%

Fundraising Expenses: 29.8%

CEO Compensation: $75,000

In 2012, Texas Stampede spent 97% of its total funds on overhead. The nonprofit spent a relatively low (for this list) 29.8% of its funds on fundraising in the year, but a very high 67.2% on management and general costs. The nonprofit also gave 25.8% of its funds -- $75,000 -- to CEO Zandy Carnes that year.

The Dallas-based nonprofit was formed in 2001 with the goal of improving the quality of life for the children and families served by charitable programs at the Children's Medical Center of Dallas. The nonprofit tries to accomplish its goal with entertainment and educational activities that feature "Western culture," according to Charity Navigator.

2. Efrat-C.R.I.B.

Total Overhead: 98.3%

Management & General Expenses: 4.9%

Fundraising Expenses: 93.3%

CEO Compensation: $0

Second on the list is Efrat-C.R.I.B., which spent 98.2% of its total funds on overhead in 2012. The nonprofit spent 93.3% of its total funds on fundraising in the year, and 4.9% on management and general costs. Unlike others on this list, CEO Eliyahu Schusseim didn't receive any compensation that year.

Efrat-C.R.I.B. is based in New York City. The nonprofit's goal is "to inform women faced with an unwanted pregnancy that there are choices." Efrat first began with the goal to increase the Jewish birth rate in Israel.

1. Scottsdale League for the Arts

Total Overhead: 98.5%

Management & General Expenses: 82%

Fundraising Expenses: 16.5%

CEO Compensation: $78,454

Top of this list is the Scottsdale League for the Arts, which spent 98.5% of its fund on overhead in 2011. Of its total funds, 82% went to fundraising while 16.5% went to management and general costs. The nonprofit spent 6.8% of its funds for 2012 to pay CEO Joe Zanovitch.

The Scottsdale League for the Arts was founded in 1978 as the Men's League of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. The nonprofit's goal is to support arts and arts education in Arizona.

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