Wall Watchers/ MinistryWatch.com
Wall Watchers is an independent donor advocate facilitating the information needs of donors. Wall Watchers' desire is to facilitate wisdom, understanding and discerning decision making for donors. This is done in part by providing information on organizations alleging to be charitable and its key leadership in order to identify materially misleading behavior, or wasteful spending practices, as well as identifying those operations that are above board and running efficiently. The objective is to limit consequences of scams and prevention of fraudulent activity, promote better allocations of giving, encourage intelligent questions of organizational structure, financial health, and advance the idea of organizational transparency and best practices.
2514 Plantation Center Dr.
Matthews, NC 28105-5298
Phone: (866) 364-9980
CEO/President: Warren Smith
Chairman: Mr. Howard "Rusty" Leonard
Board size: 5
Founder: Mr. Howard "Rusty" Leonard
Year founded: 1998
Tax deductible: Yes
Fiscal year end: 06/30
Member of ECFA: No
Member of ECFA since:
Wall Watchers is an independent donor advocate facilitating the information needs of donors.
Wall Watchers seeks to provide the truth of stewardship for donors and then to help donors obtain accurate, detailed information about Christian ministries in the Christian Ministry Marketplace.
Wall Watchers examines the practical epistemology of donor stewardship. Not stopping with the theory and origin of the "why" of stewardship (even though that is done too), but how to put it into practice with "where" and "who" (the practical application of putting a known truth into practice).
Wall Watchers' desire is to facilitate wisdom, understanding and discerning decision making for donors. This is done in part by providing information on organizations alleging to be charitable and its key leadership in order to identify materially misleading behavior, or wasteful spending practices, as well as identifying those operations that are above board and running efficiently. The objective is to limit consequences of scams and prevention of fraudulent activity, promote better allocations of giving, encourage intelligent questions of organizational structure, financial health, and advance the idea of organizational transparency and best practices.
Wall Watchers operates the following programs:
- MinistryWatch.com, is the online database component of Wall Watchers that profiles and reports on nonprofit public charities, church and parachurch ministries. MinistryWatch.com is not an organization, but is just one communication outlet for Wall Watchers. It is a type of consumer reporting website of faith-based charities. MinistryWatch.com includes a transparency grade, 5 Star Financial Efficiency Ratings, organizational details, descriptive information, analyst comments, numerous articles, features, and resource pages.
- Knowledge Management Information Pipeline, is a process to parse and facilitate wisdom, understanding and discerning decision making. Without the Knowledge Management Information Pipeline there would only be raw data on the website as content. Some charity related websites are mainly focused on the quantity of charity related raw data. This is not the case with Wall Watchers. We live in an age of ever increasing information, as people are after the pursuit of even more and more information; but people are not necessarily wiser. Some of the activities of the Information Pipeline include a propriety database, a larger amount of ministry data stored than is profiled on the website, ministry data examined, information requests being processed, data checked as it comes in, then entered, journaling contacts, following up when needed, calculations of a Transparency Grade, 5 Star Financial Efficiency Ratings, and many other activities. This is a practical application and outgrowth of the philosophy of Epistemology. In particular, a practical epistemology examination and application of donor needs.
- Individually tailored research, of issues and subjects that are brought to Wall Watchers attention through complaints of other ministries, media attention, ministries asking for advice in performing with best practices, various governmental entities seeking information, etc. Much of it could be classified as on-call research. This is all done with the view as a Donor Advocate. As a Donor Advocate, Wall Watchers argues for the cause, needs, and desire of Donors. As there are different circumstances, there are different approaches in being an advocate. Sometimes being in the role of an "advocate" will offend others. But this is not done capriciously and carelessly with the intention to harm anyone, but to the contrary in order to plead the case of donors. The research is accomplished by a variety of people in various capacities and the result of which generally does not get profiled on MinistryWatch.com.
Wall Watchers is a Christ-centered, nonprofit organization committed to promoting biblical principles of stewardship and helping people to apply those principles in their lives.
By providing quality information services, we seek to contribute to the enlightenment of the Christian community while empowering Christians with the ministry-specific knowledge that will lead to increased giving and enhanced ministry accountability.
Statement of faith
Wall Watchers uses the following to express its Statement of Faith:
- We believe that the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments is inspired by God, inerrant, and that it is of supreme and final authority in faith and life.
- We believe that there is only one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A. We acknowledge the Creator - God as our heavenly Father, infinitely perfect, and intimately acquainted with all our ways. B. We claim Jesus Christ as Lord - the very God who came in human flesh - the object of our worship and the subject of our praise. C. We recognize the Holy Spirit as the third member of the Godhead, incessantly at work convicting, convincing, comforting; and regenerates with divine life and personally indwells the believer upon his faith in Christ for salvation.
- We believe in creation, not evolution; that man was created by the direct act of God and in the image of God.
- We believe that Adam and Eve, in yielding to the temptation of Satan, became fallen creatures.
- We believe that all men are born in sin. Adam's fall into sin left humanity without the hope of heaven apart from a new birth, made possible by the Savior's death and bodily resurrection.
- We believe in the incarnation, the Virgin Birth, and the Deity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
- We believe in the vicarious and substitutional atonement for the sins of mankind by the shedding of Jesus' blood on the cross.
- We believe in the resurrection of His body from the tomb, His ascension to Heaven, and that He is now our Advocate before God.
- We believe in His power to save men from sin.
- We believe the offer of salvation is God's love-gift to all. Those who accept it by faith, apart from works, become new creatures in Christ. Salvation is by grace through faith, plus nothing, minus nothing, in the atoning blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
- We believe that anyone who trusts in Christ by faith is a new creation in Him - clothed in His righteousness and fully loved and accepted by God.
- We believe that God expects our lives to reflect that we belong to Him and that we are pursuing a holy life.
- We believe that Satan, under the sovereign permission of God, tries to destroy the faith of believers and that drawing near to God is the only way to resist him.
- We believe that as new creations in Christ we will continue to wrestle with our sin nature. We will, however, continue to grow in grace and become more like Jesus. Ultimate perfection and freedom from sin, however, will only come when we finally stand in the presence of the Lord.
- We believe that, as believers in Jesus Christ, we are members of His universal church and that the local church is the place God has designed for His people to worship Him, observe the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Table, and love other Christians.
- We believe that, having embraced Jesus Christ by faith, we are to make Him known to non-Christians in our sphere of influence.
- We anticipate our Lord's promised return in power and glory.
- We are convinced that all who have died will be brought back from beyond - believers to everlasting communion with God and unbelievers to everlasting separation from God.
Financial efficiency ratings
Sector: Christian Growth
|Category||Rating||Overall rank||Sector rank|
|Overall efficiency rating||89 of 660||6 of 56|
|Fund acquisition rating||23 of 662||5 of 56|
|Resource allocation rating||15 of 662||3 of 56|
|Asset utilization rating||470 of 660||34 of 56|
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|Receivables, inventories, prepaids||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Other current assets||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Total current assets||$76,197||$74,217||$21,726||$17,325||$13,252|
|Other long-term assets||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Total long-term assets||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Payables and accrued expenses||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Other current liabilities||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Total current liabilities||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Due to (from) affiliates||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Other long-term liabilities||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Total long-term liabilities||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Revenues and expenses|
|Program service revenue||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Total other revenue||$50||$500||$0||$0||$0|
|Management and general||$1,676||$1,123||$2,762||$7,930||$10,188|
|Change in net assets||2019||2018||2017||2016||2015|
|Other changes in net assets||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Total change in net assets||$8,304||$40,343||$4,401||$4,073||($7,572)|
Wall Watchers Supports Donor Needs as an Advocate
Donors make decisions where to give and how much to give based on some level of knowledge. The greater the knowledge a donor has the more likely a donation will take place. Additionally, greater knowledge produces a greater perceived value and the more likelihood of a repeat donation.
Donor needs include the following:
- Openness and transparency. Prudent donors want to understand what it is they are going to support. Foundational to ethics and morals is transparency and openness. Donors want committed ministries that are open and transparent, not experts in pushing emotional buttons in fundraising persuasion. Transparency is foundational in order to make a good decision.
- Due diligence integrity research. The knowledge that their donation is being used as solicited. Donors want to know that a nonprofit organization is telling them the truth and doing the right thing before God and man. Even when no one is watching.
- Values and beliefs. Donors want to understand which ministries represent their values.
- Efficiency and effectiveness. Donors want to know that their dollars are being used in an efficient and effective manner. Donors generally do not want to give to ministries that are overly focused on their own financial gain. Donors do not want to see leaders of ministries enamored with riches, but maximizing the ministry at every opportunity.
- Best practices. Donors would like some assurance that ministries are adhering to best practices, such as good governance in its operations and open to accountability measures.
Wall Watchers had its genesis in the early 1990s, when founders Howard "Rusty" Leonard and his wife Carolynn first entertained the idea of starting a Christian ministry aimed at bringing improved levels of disclosure and accountability to Christian ministries.
In the course of giving to a number of Christian ministries, Rusty and Carol felt the need to better fulfill their own stewardship responsibilities and began requesting basic financial information from the ministries they supported. For Rusty, at the time a portfolio manager for a large investment management firm, and Carol, an accountant, this seemed like a very simple request that any ministry should be happy to honor. Rather than being overwhelmed by a spirit of transparency and accountability on the part of the ministries they supported, the Leonards were shocked when ministries seemed to go out of their way to withhold financial information from them. If financially savvy donors like them had trouble getting information, they wondered, then how uninformed and ill-equipped must the average Christian donor be to exercise stewardship in this important area.
This experience corresponded to a time when they were studying the Bible. The context was of the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel and his calling to be a watchman for the house of Israel (Ez. 33:7). Along with the circumstances going on in their life at the time and their background it was as if the Lord were speaking to them through that text.
The Leonards concluded that they were being called to start an organization that would serve as a "watchman on the wall" by providing a much needed information service to Christian donors.
The Watchman symbol used by Wall Watchers is an Old Testament watchman standing on the wall of the city blowing the shofar (ram's horn). In the same way that the Watchman empowered people to act for themselves by sounding the alarm, Wall Watchers empowers people today by providing them with the information they need to make better informed giving decisions.
But Wall Watchers is more than just a Watchman, and in the same way that the shofar was used for many different purposes in the Old Testament (as a call to worship, proclaiming the presence of God, to assemble people), so to Wall Watchers goals are broader than simply sounding an alarm, and include facilitating increased giving, helping people become better stewards, and bringing donors and ministries together.
And so over time the ministry has taken on a greater scope as an information service as able with increased funding.
Wall Watchers officially got off the ground in July 1998 by incorporating as a nonprofit organization in the State of North Carolina.
Wall Watchers received recognition from the Internal Revenue Service of its tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).
Wall Watchers launched thegoodsteward.com (www.thegoodsteward.com), an educational website for equipping people with the knowledge to become better stewards.
An informational website (www.wallwatchers.org) was launched in December 1999 making Wall Watchers vision, mission and intentions more accessible to the public.
MinistryWatch.com (www.ministrywatch.com) was launched providing the donating public with access to organizational and financial profiles on nonprofit ministries in the United States.
- Profiled faith-based ministries for donors. This included Public Charities, church and parachurch ministries on MinistryWatch.com. Features included:
- Transparency Grade, providing donors with an insight into a ministry's commitment to transparency and helping donors search out those nonprofit Christian ministries that excel in the area of transparency
- Donor Alerts
- Shining Light ministry lists
- 5 Star Financial Efficiency Ratings
- Rating sectors
- The only online database to date that has incorporated audited financial statements of nonprofit ministries. Some organizations profile IRS Form 990 data, but Wall Watchers has paved the way with audited financial statements in addition to IRS Form 990s
- Historical income statements and balance sheets
- Financial ratios
- Analyst Comments
- Also commenting on values, worldview and theological considerations of nonprofit organizations as those intersect and are important to donors understanding in making giving decisions.
- Media contact communicating awareness of donor needs in addition to tax-exempt issues in general. Types of media regularly seeking consultation and contact include:
- National television shows
- Radio stations
- Local newspapers
- The Wall Street Journal
- ABC News-Primetime
- 60 minutes
- New York Times
- Time Magazine
- The Associated Press
- The OReilly Factor
- Fox News
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy
- Philanthropy at Work
- Philanthropy Roundtable
- National Public Radio
- Atlanta Journal Constitution
- The Virginian-Pilot
- The Tampa Tribune
- And many more including local affiliate TV stations and other media outlets.
- Individually tailored research, of issues and subjects brought to Wall Watchers attention through complaints of other ministries, media attention, ministries asking for advice in performing with best practices, various governmental entities seeking information, etc. Much of it could be classified as on-call research. This is all done with the view as a Donor Advocate. As a Donor Advocate, Wall Watchers argues for the cause, needs, and desire of Donors. As there are different circumstances, there are different approaches in being an advocate. Sometimes being in the role of an "advocate" will offend others. But this is not done capriciously and carelessly with the intention to harm anyone, but to the contrary in order to plead the case of donors. The research is accomplished by a variety of people in various capacities and the result of which generally does not get profiled on MinistryWatch.com.
- MinistryWatch.com - Continue to collect data, produce Ministry Profiles and write reports on the largest nonprofit ministries that are perceived as "Christian."
- Website migration along with a overhaul and remake of MinistryWatch.com.
- MinistryWatch.com - expand additional donor tools to provide more in-depth information for donors.
- MinistryWatch.com - expand the database to include more ministries.
The most persistent challenge facing the ministry is finding and securing the financial resources required to support the programs and day-to-day operations of the ministry. The ministry has been blessed by the support of the founders and other like-minded individuals. Their generous contributions have permitted the ministry's establishment and development; however, there is a need to find additional sources of support in order to maintain and expand the ministry's scope.
As additional resources are available, Wall Watchers will:
- Expand donor information tools to such things as a Worldview or Values Taxonomy. A way for donors to more readily understand key values of ministries so that they may examine if those values correspond to their own.
- Organizational structure charts that better differentiate between things like church and Public Charity status
- A Needs Rating
- Expand the number of ministries profiled
- Additional Analyst Comments
- Expand research to a greater level of due diligence
- Report on a greater range of aspects concerning ministries, including their effectiveness
- Also a noticeably needy area witnessed by Wall Watchers staff is the increased capacity to examine complaints sent in by stakeholders of ministries. Many have concerns in the operation of how ministries are being conducted and want a Christian resource to turn to.
- And additional resources to attend to donor research for those "On-call" issues that donors request that are of a miscellaneous nature but are not sure where else to seek the donor questions related to ministries.
Help Wall Watchers maintain a voice and momentum as a Donor Advocate. Your financial support can be used as a type of multiplier effect by providing confidence in the charitable sector. Charity is historically and ostensibly a Christian ideal. The sector now has extremes from the secular to the religiously fraudulent, cults and scammers. As a pooled resource of concerned donors, we can overcome the fraudsters, scammers and misdirected gifts.
Much work needs to be done to improve the lot of donors and to raise the standards in the Christian Ministry Marketplace. Wall Watchers has the potential of meeting vital needs, but it is not being funded as it should.
An outcome of Wall Watchers' work will be the increased amount of money available for the Lord's work by raising donor confidence in the ministry's carrying out these efforts. Donors are mostly left to fend for their interests individually as no group formed and financed by Christian donors, other than Wall Watchers currently exists.
Improving donor representation and empowering donors can ignite a renewed interest in giving. It would also cause current giving to be targeted more effectively and strategically.
Thank you for your interest to pass on wisdom, understanding and discernment to others.
"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary." (Gal. 6:9, NASB)