The Assistance Fund
Impact Rating

The Assistance Fund

Impact: $4,200 provides $4,100 in financial assistance to a patient in need.

Financial Assistance for Medical Conditions meets the benchmark for high cost-effectiveness. The nonprofit increases income for a patient with medical conditions by more than $1.50 for every $1 spent.

Note: The impact of this program may not be representative of the entire operation of The Assistance Fund.

Methodology

Governance: Passes checks

Mission

To provide critically or chronically ill individuals with access to advanced therapies through a continuum of services and programs, including education and financial aid.

Cause

Health

Rated Program

Financial Assistance for Medical Conditions

Program Geography

United States

Website

tafcares.org/

Donations processed by the nonprofit.

Cause

Health

Rated Program

Financial Assistance for Medical Conditions

Program Geography

United States

Website

tafcares.org/

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Rated Program

Program

Financial Assistance for Medical Conditions

Activities

The Assistance Fund provides financial assistance to patients with life-threatening, chronic or rare diseases.

Program Type

Financial Assistance for Patients with Medical Conditions

Beneficiaries Served

People with illnesses
People living in poverty

Geography

United States

Outcomes: Changes in people's lives. They can be caused by a nonprofit.

Costs: The money spent by nonprofits and their partners and beneficiaries.

Impact: The cost to achieve an outcome.

Cost-effectiveness: A judgment as to whether the cost was "worth" the outcome.

Outcomes

Outcome Metric

Increase in income for a patient with medical conditions

To calculate impact, we estimate how many outcomes the nonprofit caused.

Data Source

Output data collected during the program. The Assistance Fund publicly reports data on the dollar value of all financial assistance provided to patients, which we use to calculate the additional income received.

Time Period of Data

Jan. 1, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2017

Ratings are based on data the nonprofit itself collects on its work. We use the most recent year with sufficient data. Typically, this data allows us to calculate direct changes in participants' lives, such as increased income.

Method for Attributing Outcomes

We estimate the dollar amount of financial assistance attributable to the nonprofit by comparing the financial assistance given by the nonprofit to the financial assistance that would have been provided in the absence of the nonprofit (the “counterfactual”). In this case, we estimate the counterfactual to be zero based on two assumptions. First, we assume there is functionally no upper limit to the amount of cash transfers that continue to be valuable to patients as they are far from reaching the point of diminishing marginal returns, such that aid provided by one nonprofit does not displace aid provided by another. Second, we assume that nonprofits work independently and do not coordinate the provision of aid to the same patient. As a result, all aid provided by the nonprofit to patients with medical conditions can be directly attributable to the nonprofit.

We don't know if the observed changes were caused by the nonprofit's program or something else happening at the same time (e.g. a participant got a raise). To determine causation, we take the outcomes we observe and subtract an estimate of the outcomes that would have happened even without the program (i.e. counterfactual outcomes).

Cost

Data Source

Cost data reported by The Assistance Fund and data and assumptions about partner and beneficiary costs.

Cost Calculation

$119,801,734 program costs + $0 partner costs + $0 beneficiary costs = $119,801,734 total costs

After estimating the program's outcomes, we need to determine how much it cost to achieve those outcomes. All monetary costs are counted, whether they are borne by a nonprofit service deliverer or by the nonprofit’s public and private partners. In-kind donations, of labor or supplies, are not counted.

Impact

Impact Calculation

$119,801,734 total costs / 118,115,882 of financial assistance provided = roughly $4000 provides $4000 in financial assistance to a patient in need.

Numbers may not divide precisely due to rounding and time discounting.

We calculate impact, defined as the change in outcomes attributable to a program divided by the cost to achieve those outcomes.

Rating

Benchmark for Rating

Impact ratings of financial assistance to patients programs are based on income generated relative to cost. Programs receive 5 stars if they increase income for a recipient by more than $1.50 for every $1 spent and 4 stars if income increases by more than $0.85 for every $1 spent. If a nonprofit reports impact but doesn't meet the benchmark for cost-effectiveness, it earns 3 stars.

Determination

The nonprofit increases income for a patient with medical conditions by more than $1.50 for every $1 spent.

Why We Could Be Wrong

We welcome your suggestions for improving our methodology. Our methodology section includes explanations of how we mitigate these issues.

  • The outcome could oversimplify total impact. Using "dollars of financial assistance" as the metric of analysis does not capture potential improvement in patients’ health due to lower stress and better treatment adherence. However, there is limited evidence to support such health effects so we limit our analysis to the amount of assistance provided.
  • There could be multiple important outcomes not captured in our analysis.
  • The Assistance Fund may be spending additional money in order to serve harder-to-reach and/or particularly valuable populations.
  • In the absence of better data, we assume uniform counterfactual rates for programs, at the risk of masking variation across nonprofits.
  • Our estimates rely on data made public by The Assistance Fund on its website, annual reports, financial statements and Form 990s.
  • We only analyze programs that meet our criteria. As a result, this report may not fully reflect the impact of The Assistance Fund.
  • We do not assess what explains the nonprofit's cost-effectiveness.

We assign a rating to the nonprofit using the rubric:

  • There are indications of governance or financial health issues at the nonprofit.

  • After being given an opportunity, the nonprofit chose not to publish impact information.

    We are not yet issuing this level of star rating.

  • The rated program does not meet our benchmark for cost-effectiveness.

  • The rated program is cost-effective.

  • The rated program is highly cost-effective.

Read More

Nonprofit Comment

Not provided. This may be because we lacked contact information for The Assistance Fund or it chose not to comment. If you are a representative of this nonprofit, contact us to review and comment on your rating.

Before publishing, we ask every nonprofit we can to review our work, offer corrections and provide a comment.


Analysis Details

Analysis conducted by ImpactMatters and published on November 22, 2019.

An ImpactMatters analyst searched the Form 990s, annual reports, audited financials and the website of The Assistance Fund to calculate impact and rate cost-effectiveness. A second analyst conducted quality control.

We welcome corrections. If you are interested in exploring applications of ImpactMatters data, contact us at partnerships@impactmatters.org.

Governance Check

The Assistance Fund passes our governance check.

Conducted a financial audit

Overhead spending is reasonable (<35% of total spending)

Charity Navigator has not issued a fraud or mismanagement advisory

The Assistance Fund itself has not reported any material diversions of assets

The Assistance Fund itself has not reported any excess benefit transactions

Source: The Assistance Fund Form 990 and Charity Navigator

How We Calculate Impact

This rating is based on ImpactMatters analysis of the impact of Financial Assistance for Medical Conditions relative to costs. Impact is the change in the social outcomes of people served by the program, net of the change that would have happened even without the program (the “counterfactual”); divided by cost. Learn more.

For Donors

A guide to our process for analyzing nonprofits and assigning ratings.

For Nonprofits

Learn about best practices for reporting impact for different program types.

For Researchers

Our collected guidelines on how we analyze impact of nonprofit programs.

Rating is a complex exercise and we urge you to read our frequently asked questions for details of how and why we issue these ratings.