CSPA is a good financial steward
Expenses are lumped in the charts above into three categories: (1) Current and Future Programs (i.e., money that goes to fund programs and improvements in local state parks), (2) Expenses Incurred to Raise Funds, and (3) Organizational Overhead (i.e., what CSPA spends to operate the organization, but apart from the park stores, as will be explained). CSPA’s goal, of course, is to maximize the slice of the pie that goes to funding programs and to minimize the other two slices. In particular, we strive always to keep the sum of the fundraising expenses and overhead slices below 20%. Many programs are funded annually and change relatively smoothly from one year to the next. A prime example is training for volunteer docents. However, some large improvement projects—an example is replacing the observation deck at Pigeon Point Light Station SHP—require large expenditures for which CSPA saves funds over several prior years. This explains why the word “future” appears in the “Programs…” label.
Revenues come: (1) from Donations by individuals and corporations, (2) from Fundraising Events, (3) from Grants, and (4) from net revenue from Sales at Park Stores and from Sales of Firewood in campgrounds. Donations account for approximately two-fifths of revenues, and net revenue from stores’ and firewood sales account for one-third of the total.
The three park stores managed by CSPA serve a dual purpose. First, they fulfill an interpretive need by making available to visitors park-related information through the books, videos, maps, etc. that the stores sell. This function is a goal, expressly stated by California State Parks, for its Cooperating Associations. Second, the stores generate additional income for CSPA to return to local state parks in support of their programs. The net income of the stores is what remains of gross sales after subtracting the cost of goods sold, the salaries and benefits of the stores’ two employees, credit card fees and the costs of store related fixtures and supplies.