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Author: Subject: Charities: ripoff or worthy?

World Class Peach





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  posted on 10/11/2007 at 08:39 AM
I have been getting solicitations for charities in the mail since it is that time of year and got to wondering ‘Where does the money go?’

I found a site on the web that might interest anyone that gives part of their hard earned $ to charities. http://www.charitynavigator.org has done the leg work for you and put a microscope on the issue.

An example of the discrepancies among charities can be seen when giving to those charities involving breast cancer. There are over 700 charities taking up donations for this cause and the charitynavigator site has compared 21 for your instant perusal. I’ve seen many times folks here posting that they support the Susan G. Komen For The Cure. This appears to be one of the good guys- 4 star rating by the site. 82% of monies received go to the cause and the CEO makes $245,340. Compare that with one of the 1-star breast cancer sites listed, Strang Cancer Center: the CEO makes $617,000!! It would be nice to know that your donation wasn’t going towards his boat payment! Compensation is one thing; making as much as The President is another.

I was happy to see that the charity the ABB supported with their ‘unplugged’ CD, IRSA, is a 3-star charity whose CEO makes all of $60,000.

Anyway, thought I’d toss this out for information purposes. Times are tight; it’s nice to know that your money is being used in the best manner.


[Edited on 10/11/2007 by TanDan]

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2007 at 10:02 AM
Show me a local family who needs money for food or housing and I'll write a check or deliver a box of goceries. If somebody walks up to me on the street and tells me they're hungry, I'll likely dig into my wallet and find a few dollars.

I have developed a strong distrust over organiszed charities. The bigger the organization, the stronger my distrust. It's not that I think that these super-organizations do not provide service to those down on their luck, it's the high operational costs that water down the initial donations. A few years back, one of the network "news shows" (I apologize for not remembering which) did a story on United Way. It was revealed that less than 10 percent of every dollar given to United Way makes it to the intended charity. Meanwhile, United Way execs pull down salaries in the 6 to 7 figure range. Even local United Way exec's are highly compensated.

My biggest beef with United Way is that many employers lean heavily on their employees to participate. Many employers stress participatiion to the point where it is virtually mandatory.

Then there are the many charities with semingly vague goals or aims. At a busy intersection where I live, there are routinely people with coffee cans collecting donations between red light intervals. The Xeroxed signs on these cans inform motorists that they are donating to keep kids off drugs. At one time, te same groups had "Katrina Relief" on the Xeroxed labeled cans. When I asked for literature, or for an executive contact name, the solicitor moved away from my car.

What disturbs me most are the charities that pick on senior citizens. My mother receives constant letters and packages from groups purporting to be saving starving Indonesian children, whales and puppy dogs. Many of these solicitations come with cheaply made calendars, pens and other gifts. the idea is to make the recipient feel obliged to send a little something. At my insistance, my mom (who needs her money at least as much as the starivng puppy dogs) has gotten better at filing these requests under "T" (for "trash").

We do give to several legitimate charities. Since donna lost her mother to Breast Cancer a few years back, we make donations to a couple of groups involved with this effort. The American Red Cross, while also having high operational expenses also gets attention.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2007 at 10:02 AM
quote:
I have been getting solicitations for charities in the mail since it is that time of year and got to wondering ‘Where does the money go?’

I found a site on the web that might interest anyone that gives part of their hard earned $ to charities. http://www.charitynavigator.org has done the leg work for you and put a microscope on the issue.

An example of the discrepancies among charities can be seen when giving to those charities involving breast cancer. There are over 700 charities taking up donations for this cause and the charitynavigator site has compared 21 for your instant perusal. I’ve seen many times folks here posting that they support the Susan G. Komen For The Cure. This appears to be one of the good guys- 4 star rating by the site. 82% of monies received go to the cause and the CEO makes $245,340. Compare that with one of the 1-star breast cancer sites listed, Strang Cancer Center: the CEO makes $617,000!! It would be nice to know that your donation wasn’t going towards his boat payment! Compensation is one thing; making as much as The President is another.

I was happy to see that the charity the ABB supported with their ‘unplugged’ CD, IRSA, is a 3-star charity whose CEO makes all of $60,000.

Anyway, thought I’d toss this out for information purposes. Times are tight; it’s nice to know that your money is being used in the best manner.


[Edited on 10/11/2007 by TanDan]
Dan, I don't think even the President makes $617K a year!! According to Wikipedia, POTUS makes a base salary of $400K.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2007 at 10:11 AM
I stopped donating to all the 'mail' charities a couple of years ago when I realized even the ASPCA was selling my name to other places. I'm like Rusty. If someone is in need around here, I give directly. And I don't donate through telephone solicitations either after I found out only a small portion of the money raised actually goes to the organization. I especially support the Salvation Army. It helps people locally and I know the people involved. Not one of them makes a large salary around here.
 

True Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2007 at 10:13 AM
Good points Dan, and I think the GA sec'y of state's ofc has a database on local and national charities too. And don't even get me started about those roadside charities. Even if they are legit, I never give to them because I think it is a dangerous and inefficient way to raise money. Traffic around here is bad enough w/o having to dodge these highwaymen who impede traffic.

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2007 at 10:28 AM
Not only do contributors not understand where their money is going, but often the fundraisers don’t either. I see this all the time in marathoning. Nothing irks me more than if someone asks me if I’m running for a ‘charity’. These are very popular right now….run (walk/complete) a marathon for Aids, Breast Cancer, Leukemia, ALS, etc., etc., etc. Often (not always) it’s quite a scam. A FOR PROFIT private organization will offer a marathon training program. The participant gets an entry and group training. In return the participant must raise an enormous amount of money, usually 3 – 5K. Generally 50% goes directly to the for profit organization, another 20% to cover costs and then a mere 30% goes to the Non-Profit.

I’ve thought of offering a marathon training program myself…..We’d be Team Viagra. We’d give out blue wrist band and our slogan would be “Keep It Up – Finish Hard”!

The bottom line, as stated before, is just to understand where the money is going. Any legitimate fundraising organization will have that info available for you.

 

Universal Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2007 at 10:58 AM
Really depends on which one....all have their special "requirements".
Research is the order of the day and see how much of the actual $$ goes to the
charity, not to the "administrations" pocket. The SKYDOGS play several benefit/charities
every year to help children who have no way to recieve the help for hospital care.
This saturday, there will be a "Pig Roast" motorcycle ride and music event for the local Gadsden kids who need help with illness and cant afford to get help. The Skydogs will play from 6-7 pm then do our show at Dr Feelgoods in Gadsden.
We also play local shows to help our fire department the homeless.
spdb

 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2007 at 11:18 AM
It's always a good idea to look into a charity to which you are giving money. Roadsides are suspicious and even the person on the street with their hand out might not be what you think. That being said, I personally feel if you have something to spare and you are giving to someone who appears to be in need - go for it. I think there are more needy on the streets than con artists. I've given food to people on the subway and on the street more than I've given money but that's me. On a funny note, I still laugh at the guy I saw a few years back at the top of the subway stairs. He had a sign that said "Tell me off....$2"

Because I received support from this community for my participation in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer this past weekend, below is the Q&A from the Avon Foundation regarding fund allocation:

FUNDS RAISED BY THE AVON WALK FOR BREAST CANCER
Exactly where does the money go, and who makes those decisions?


The Avon Foundation has implemented a sophisticated and comprehensive need-based philanthropic strategy that addresses every facet of the disease. Recognizing the complexity of the problem of breast cancer among all groups of women, the Avon Foundation is distinguished from most other donors that fund a single institution or scientific investigator by supporting a virtual national network of research, medical, social service and community-based organizations, each of which is making a unique contribution to helping patients or advancing breast cancer research. The Avon Foundation awards funding in breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment, support services and scientific research, including prevention and therapeutic vaccine studies.
Breast cancer beneficiaries which range from leading cancer centers to community-based, non-profit breast health programs are selected through a rigorous review process that includes the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade Scientific Advisory Board and the Avon Foundation Board of Directors. Programs and institutions must satisfy strict criteria that align with the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade's mission of funding access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. The Foundation makes grants only to organizations and institutions having tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. A majority of the net proceeds raised through the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer will stay with breast cancer programs in the geographic areas where the Walks are held.

A detailed listing of benefiting organizations can be found at http://www.avonfoundation.org/.

Details of some of the initial funding announcements at past Avon Walks can be found on our website in the Press Center.

How much money is returned to the cause?

Total Avon Foundation revenue in 2006 was $69.9 million. Expenditures, including grants for breast cancer, domestic violence and other programs, exceeded $73.7 million. Of total expenditures for the year:

79.5% was directed to mission programs and services, including grants, gifts and awards to beneficiary organizations (this is what is commonly referred to as “net return” to the cause)
3% covered management and general activities
17.5% covered fundraising expenses

These results exceed philanthropic fundraising guidelines.

Funds are awarded for access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, including funding for education and awareness; screening and diagnosis; support services; access to clinical care; and research, all with a focus on the medically underserved.

How much support does the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer receive from the Avon company?

The Avon Walk series is produced and managed by the Avon Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity that was founded in 1955. The Avon Foundation is fortunate to receive support of the Avon Products, Inc. corporation in all of our endeavors, including the Avon Walks. The fees for the logistical producer and marketing consultant for the Avon Walks are paid by Avon Products, Inc., not drawn from funds raised, and the Avon corporation also makes significant contributions to the marketing and advertising expenses. Avon Products also supports the Avon Walks with full-time corporate-salaried staff in a wide variety of disciplines, on-site personnel at the events and gratis Avon products for every participant.
Avon also pays for salaries, expenses and costs of running the Avon Foundation.
The Foundation manages and disburses the funds raised through many programs for breast cancer, domestic violence and special emergency relief. The Foundation also disburses millions of dollars in funds provided directly by Avon Products, Inc. to support scholarships and domestic violence programs. In 2004, the total Avon Products, Inc. commitment to the Avon Foundation mission and administration was approximately $15 million, and we await final 2005 financial reports.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2007 at 12:08 PM
I believe in helping friends and family in need. One of those friends runs a small local animal rescue for ferrets and cats who devotes her life and the little money she has to these little creatures. She also takes in stray dogs who wander by her place, many dropped off in the country to fend for themselves. Helping somebody I know and seeing the work she does gives me a good feeling.

My favorite charities are The Fund For Animals and The Black Beauty Rance in Texas both founded by writer and animal activist Cleveland Amory, now deceased. You might remember the helicopters lifting burros in slings from the Grand Canyon. The burros were to be killed by Park Service because they weren't native. That effort was run by Mr. Amory who bought a ranch in Texas for their new home. The ranch land has been expanded and many different animals inhabit it now, including wild mustangs bought at auction to save them from the slaughter house.

Two others I contribute to are The United Methodist Relief Fund and the US Humane
Society . I used to contribute to the Salvation Army, but no more because they have taken up political positions lately. I have done my research on all of these. I throw away anything coming from any of them I don't support.

Thanks for the link. Very helpful.



[Edited on 10/11/2007 by ruthelane]

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/11/2007 at 12:23 PM
Interesting website, Dan - thanks! I'm going to keep this link.

I've been way blessed in life so I give to a few charities. Some of these are one-time cash donations others are ongoing. I donate through United Way to two local charities which are meaningful to me because of the help they offered a loved one in her time of need. This is done through payroll deduction and the donations are earmarked as being in her memory. I do this through a routine payroll deduction because it's convenient and it allows me to give more than I would be able to in a lump sum. During Katrina I gave some extra money to Red Cross and Salvation Army and specified that it should go towards the Katrina relief effort. I've also offered to buy a meal for people on the street with their hand out and offer non-perishable food items to local food banks.

I work in corporate America so am only too aware of salaries that the management 'upper echelon' can make (I struggle to use the term 'earn' here because some of these salaries are so ridiculously high). And I do keep my eye on the charities that I donate to. If I felt that there was mis-management of funds or grossly inflatted CEO salaries being given by the organizations I support I would throw my support elsewhere.

I think it's true that many kind hearts give and do not know much about the organization they are supporting. My philosophy is that when you pledge your support to an organization you become a partner of sorts with that organization...investigate them - find out how they are spending the donations they receive. If they have any questionable practices there are plenty of other deserving organizations.

 

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