I have grown to dislike and distrust these pie charts. Charities often display them prominently and they’re often the first thing potential donors look for. But I’d like them – in their current form – banished.
Firstly, they completely oversimplify what we do. They are all about input with no mention of output. Why should we care if you spend 90% on services? What does that get you? What does it mean?
Secondly, what are you putting in those little slices of pie? Donors are drawing conclusions and making comparisons based on these percentages, but look at the pie charts. They are all different. They are not all equal. What’s a support cost? What’s admin? Why do some charities have governance and some don’t? [Also see this blog post]
If we keep providing this information in such a lazy format then potential donors will continue to judge us lazily.
For the time being donors will continue to look for it, so for the time being let’s keep providing it but with a massive disclaimer explaining why more questions need to be asked. Let’s get a unified disclaimer all charities can use. Let’s get a shared microsite: http://www.makepiechartshistory.com