Week 5 Post

On week 5 (two weeks ago from today), we explored more in depth the meanings of all of the numbers and mathematical data on a form 990. By exploring the significance of these numbers, we learned that these numbers, although punctual in fact and detail and not seemingly bad, can contain a lot of hidden, deeper meaning and deceive the viewer when not studied carefully. When certain numbers are compared with the rest of the numbers through qualitative analysis of the numbers (i.e., seeing the greater patterns that the numbers do not convey themselves), we learned that one can truly understand the company’s approach with money. After going through an example of this shocking realization, for example, if a certain organization had gotten billions of dollars in revenue but only spent a couple thousand dollars on employees and a lot more (millions) on advertising and marketing expenses, why would this be? Coming up with hypothetical situations to serve as answers to this peculiar situation definitely gave me a chance to think and really ponder the meaning of those numbers. In this aspect, Main Street helped me to see that the observation of the pattern and analysis of numbers can expose hidden, darker secrets or successes that any company or organization can have, all on their 990 which is publicly accessible and usually easy to access.

Our class also used the quantitative data from the form 990s of our selected charities in order to evaluate their ranking (out of three points) in certain categories such as the program ratio, the management ratio, etc. These rankings were added up and given over a total possible score of 15. Based on this score, we could see how well the organization/charity had done in terms of profit and making money as well as how they had spent their money (if they had used their money wisely). It was interesting to see the total scores of certain organizations.

Finally, we also went through what to expect for the next week (our first panel class with real representatives representing their organizations!) and reviewed what types of questions we would be asking the representatives.

Week 5 was a time where there were a lot of interesting things that I learned that I had never known before and I think this prepped everyone for the following week (Week 6).

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