Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust
Impact Rating

Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust

Top Health Nonprofit

Impact: $70 cures one person of blindness.

Cataract Surgery Program meets the benchmark for high cost-effectiveness. The nonprofit averts a disability-adjusted life year for less than the country's G.D.P. per capita.

Note: The impact of this program may not be representative of the entire operation of Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust.

Methodology

Governance: Passes checks

Mission

To raise funds in The USA from the general public and transfer to medical research foundation in Chennai, India for providing free eyecare including cataract and major surgeries to indigent patients.

Cause

Health

Rated Program

Cataract Surgery Program

Location

India

Donations processed by the nonprofit.

Cause

Health

Rated Program

Cataract Surgery Program

Location

India

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Rated Program

Program

Cataract Surgery Program

Activities

Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust performs cataract surgeries to cure beneficiaries of preventable blindness.

Program Type

Cataract Surgery

Beneficiaries Served

People living in poverty

Geography

India

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

A person cured of blindness

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

Data Source

Output data collected during the program. Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust publicly reports data on how many surgeries it performs, which we use to calculate how many people it cures of blindness.

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 number of people the nonprofit cured of blindness by comparing the number of people whose blindness was actually cured to the number of people whose blindness would have been cured even in the absence of the nonprofit (the "counterfactual"). Some people might have had access to cataract surgery from other providers; these counterfactual successes must be netted out of the success we observe. Otherwise, we would be attributing a change (being cured of blindness) to the nonprofit when it would have happened anyway. Few nonprofits estimate the counterfactual themselves, so we construct our own counterfactual estimate based on research and publicly available data — namely, the percentage of the population with existing access to cataract surgery and the percentage of the population with existing access to essential health services.

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 Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust and data and assumptions about partner and beneficiary costs.

Cost Calculation

$361,005 program costs + partner costs + beneficiary costs = $361,005 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

$361,005 total costs / 5,490 people cured of blindness = roughly $70 cures one person of blindness.

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 cataract surgery programs are based on the cost of a disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted relative to the G.D.P. per capita of the country in which the program operates. Programs receive 5 stars if they avert a DALY for less than than the G.D.P. per capita, and 4 stars if they avert a DALY for less than three times G.D.P. per capita. If a nonprofit reports impact but doesn't meet the benchmark for cost-effectiveness, it earns 3 stars.

Determination

The nonprofit averts a disability-adjusted life year for less than the country's G.D.P. per capita.

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 “people cured of blindness” as the metric of analysis does not capture the level of health and wellbeing restored.
  • There could be multiple important outcomes not captured in our analysis.
  • Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust 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 Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust 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 Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust.
  • 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 Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust 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 Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust 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

Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust passes our governance check.

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

Charity Navigator has not issued a fraud or mismanagement advisory

Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust itself has not reported any material diversions of assets

Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust itself has not reported any excess benefit transactions

Source: Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust Form 990 and Charity Navigator

How We Calculate Impact

This rating is based on ImpactMatters analysis of the impact of Cataract Surgery Program 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.