Video: America’s worst charities a family affair

posted at 3:31 pm on June 16, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Three charities supposedly focused on breast cancer and cancer in children raised $26 million in a single year. Good news, right? The bad news is that less than $15,000 of those funds got used to help victims of cancer. CNN, the Tampa Bay Times, and the Center for Investigative Reporting found that the three charities have a lot in common — their leaders are all related to each other:

Anderson Cooper and Drew Griffin note that CNN and its partners have been reporting on this for more than a year, and yet the IRS doesn’t seem terribly interested in investigating their tax-exempt statuses. They had plenty of time to harass Tea Party and other grassroots conservative groups, however. Kudos to Cooper for saying that out loud.

On a more general note:

Among the findings:

– The 50 worst charities in America devote less than 4% of donations raised to direct cash aid. Some charities gave even less. Over a decade, one diabetes charity raised nearly $14 million and gave about $10,000 to patients. Six spent no cash at all on their cause.

– Even as they plead for financial support, operators at many of the 50 worst charities have lied to donors about where their money goes, taken multiple salaries, secretly paid themselves consulting fees or arranged fund-raising contracts with friends. One cancer charity paid a company owned by the president’s son nearly $18 million over eight years to solicit funds. A medical charity paid its biggest research grant to its president’s own for-profit company.

– Some nonprofits are little more than fronts for fund-raising companies, which bankroll their startup costs, lock them into exclusive contracts at exorbitant rates and even drive the charities into debt. Florida-based Project Cure has raised more than $65 million since 1998, but every year has wound up owing its fundraiser more than what was raised. According to its latest financial filing, the nonprofit is $3 million in debt.

– To disguise the meager amount of money that reaches those in need, charities use accounting tricks and inflate the value of donated dollar-store cast-offs – snack cakes and air fresheners – that they give to dying cancer patients and homeless veterans.

Americans are a generous people. To be certain that your generosity is used for the purpose you intend, don’t just donate over the phone (which I refuse to do, ever), but instead seek out charities that work for causes you support. Do some research on what they do, how much of their donations go to administrative costs, and how transparent their finances are to their donors. Otherwise, you may not be helping to cure cancer, but instead helping a few less-than-savory operators have more fun with your money than you would have.

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So many of these charities and foundations are just scams. They make themselves officers and then have the charity pay for all their living expenses. Arianna Huffington was notorious for this. I just read that K. Kardashian donates all her clothes to be auctioned for charity. However, she keeps 90% of what they make and the charity only gets 10%.

Blake on June 16, 2013 at 3:37 PM

The only 2 charities I give to:
Make a Wish
Wounded Warriors

VegasRick on June 16, 2013 at 3:41 PM

I’ve heard good things about http://www.charitynavigator.org being a decent, independent tool to use in the kind of research Ed suggests.

KS Rex on June 16, 2013 at 3:46 PM

The Human Fund: Money for People

Walter Sobchak on June 16, 2013 at 3:48 PM

I’m leery of any of them anymore.Send your donations to docflash.I will make sure it is used properly.I may be dieing of something someday.

docflash on June 16, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Better Business Bureau started a charity database a few years back as well.

http://www.bbb.org/us/charity

chimney sweep on June 16, 2013 at 3:51 PM

The Human Fund: Money for People

Walter Sobchak on June 16, 2013 at 3:48 PM

George Costanza. So funny.

If someone solicits funds over the phone, it’s likely they get most of what you give. A good rule of thumb is to be in total control of what you give, to whom. Do companies still extort money from their employees via aggressive United Way sit-down solicitations?

Paul-Cincy on June 16, 2013 at 3:54 PM

An article a few years ago reported that one of the sisters of the woman O.J. Simpson murdered was running a “charity” for victims of domestic violence. The “charity” was reportedly receiving donations of more than $100k a year, over 90% of which was being used to finance the lifestyle of the sister, with just a few hundred dollars going to battered women’s shelters.

Yet another reason why we need to scrap the tax code. There are millions of unscrupulous scammers ripping off people every day.

AZCoyote on June 16, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Over the past 20 years, Cancer Fund has run afoul of regulators in at least six states, paying more than $525,000 to settle charges that include lying to donors. It hasn’t slowed the network.

And this right here is the real problem. Instead of closing these frauds down, the government will just continue to get their “take” threw fines. Like cigarette taxes, they probably budget things off of these funds as a revenue source instead of actually doing something about.

Cindy Munford on June 16, 2013 at 4:01 PM

On a side note, always be sure to make your donations directly to the charities themselves.

There are telemarketing firms out there that ostensibly collect donations for charities. But many of them take an 80+% cut out of donations made.

It’s a shady business because these fees don’t get counted as operating expenses by the charities; only the post-fee donation gets figured into the equation.

Therefore, the telemarketers can cite impressive numbers like “75% of the money Children with XYZ Disease receives goes to benefit the children”, but that’s the percentage after the telemarketers take a their cut.

So if you give a $100 donation through a telemarketer, more than $80 goes to the telemarketer and less than $15 will go to the beneficiary of the charity.

Hot Gas on June 16, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Note to any charity executives who may visit the HA blog:

This is why I never, ever, donate to charity or to politicians.

And I don’t feel guilty. At all.

BobMbx on June 16, 2013 at 4:09 PM

cmon
most know exactly what they’re donating to.
Donating used loosely.

How bout them donor lists?

The hypocrisy is oozing in Washington. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

seesalrun2 on June 16, 2013 at 4:11 PM

If a Christian charity is not a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, do not give a cent to them.

http://www.ecfa.org/

Warning! Shameless plug alert!

Our charity (click on my username) is a member of the ECFA.
:P

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Quit sending any dough.

Multi-million Americans are on disability, mental or physical. Now, granted that most need the former.

The ads are mostly disgusting and the programs are too.

Give directly where you can/wish, but stay away from beggars on TV, radio and from the mail. You are snookered.

Schadenfreude on June 16, 2013 at 4:27 PM

I wonder if one of their employees helped himself/herself to some of the booty, without permission of the Chief Thief, is that a crime?

Even asking the question gives me the shakes.

platypus on June 16, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Precisely why I’ve stopped giving to “charities,” per se, I have now directed most of my charity giving directly to affected folks — be they victims of natural disasters, victims of disease or victims of government (namely, our veterans.)

I feel much better for having gone this route even if those gifts aren’t deductible (face it, there’s no truth in that any longer.)

Besides, I never donated because the amount was deductible–that was an after-the-fact acknowledgement on my part.

jersey taxpayer on June 16, 2013 at 4:30 PM

How bout the nearly 3/4 million that the director of Komen for the cure gets…be very very careful who you give your money to.

rich8450 on June 16, 2013 at 4:32 PM

I saw this yesterday. It’s good to give to charity, BUT know who you are giving to, and what their overhead is. One reason I support the Salvation Army is they have extremely low overhead, and most of your money donated goes to where you want it to go. The Red Cross, not so much, and it goes downhill from there. If you get weekly emails and snail mails from charities asking for money, watch your wallet. The DAV and USO send me address labels, personalized memo pads and calenders regularly. Guess where your donated money went. I can assure you it did not go to disabled veterans or troops overseas, It went to fund raising. Do your homework before giving away your money.

simkeith on June 16, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Stop sending money to charities and political parties. If you just have to give away your money, give it to yourself, your family, or your friends. Most charities are frauds…oh yeah, that reminds me: Rick Santorum Got caught running a fraudulent charity in PA years ago- the money donated was all going to fund his political ambitions! He had to shut it down, when he was discovered to be running a scam!

mountainaires on June 16, 2013 at 4:35 PM

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Correction:
I’m sure there are many fine charities directly under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church that would not feel the need to be members of the ECFA.
I should have specified that “evangelical charities” should be members of ECFA.
My bad.

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 4:36 PM

You see? This is why only the government should be in the charity business. They’re the only trustworthy ones!

/lib

Odysseus on June 16, 2013 at 4:40 PM

So many of these charities and foundations are just scams. They make themselves officers and then have the charity pay for all their living expenses. Arianna Huffington was notorious for this…

Blake on June 16, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Y’d think her famous judge-husband Oliver Wendell Holmes would make enough to keep her in Ho-Ho’s.

slickwillie2001 on June 16, 2013 at 4:40 PM

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 4:36 PM

If you’ve ever heard of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, that’s one not to give away your hard-earned money to. Several years ago, there was a big controversy about it in our diocese when many of us in our parish learned that their funds go to very questionable efforts that are contrary to Catholic beliefs and teachings. Our parish no longer solicits contributions for it.

PatriotGal2257 on June 16, 2013 at 4:46 PM

3 words, just 3 words -

Clinton Global Initiative!

gonnjos on June 16, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Katrina broke me of ever donating to a large charity.

Within 2 or 3 days I send a sizable donation to Red Cross… No better or worse than the rest I guess. But a week or 2 later the interviews with people blaming everyone else for their having stayed in N.O. and being swamped gave me a wake-up.

The boy who was shown over and over saying ‘pitiful and shame’ about conditions at the Super Dome… like it was our fault he was there, instead of his families… And the pimp who was all but laughing at US while admonishing into the camera ‘where’s my check?’…

That made me realize that even if the money makes it past the highly paid help at the ‘non-profit’… they may just be handing to someone who only needs it because of their own bad decisions… if they really ‘need’ it at all.

I donate local, and family comes first thank you very much.

RalphyBoy on June 16, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Sad to see in the comments that many refuse to give to any charity.

Jesus Christ himself endorsed giving to charity.

We all know that Jesus praised the Good Samaritan who helped the wounded robbery victim. But you might not have thought of this: Most of the caring was done by the innkeeper. The Samaritan had to be on his way, so he paid the innkeeper to care for the wounded man. Jesus did not commend the innkeeper; he commended the Samaritan!

Would you like for Jesus to commend you in this way?

Most of you are not involved in hands-on day-to-day helping the needy. OK…you can pay those who are involved!

Jesus said, “Sell your possessions and give to charity.” By doing so, he said you will “make yourselves moneybags that do not wear out.”

The Lord said when you help “the least of these,” you have done it to him.

So there is a special blessing for those who give to help the poor.

When the new apostle Paul met with the original apostles, they specifically encouraged him to remember the poor. Paul replied that he already intended to do so.

Several of Paul’s letters mention his desire for the churches to contribute to the poor saints in Jerusalem.

Why then do so many evangelicals shy away from what they call the “social gospel”? Perhaps it’s because they disapprove of those who focus solely on meeting physical needs, so they want nothing to do with that so-called liberalism. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!

It is in meeting physical needs that we often awaken a desire for folks to want their spiritual needs met.

There are many fine organizations that minister to both physical and spiritual needs far more effectively than individuals acting alone.

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Hey, skeevy families of former carnival barkers, grifters and con men gotta eat too!

Follow the money. Better than even money bet a lot of it goes to local and state cops and politicians and the DNC.

Jack Deth on June 16, 2013 at 4:56 PM

And speaking of appropriating the term “Catholic” for a completely opposite purpose to disguise its true intent, there’s Catholics for Choice, which I believe used to have the word “free” in its title.

IIRC, it’s one of those Soros-funded groups also.

“Catholics” who are members are most assuredly not Catholic in any other sense other than it’s a convenient label for them and are not to be confused with those Catholics who actually try to live their faith in their daily lives.

PatriotGal2257 on June 16, 2013 at 4:57 PM

PatriotGal2257 on June 16, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Point well taken, my friend.

I was just saying that any charity that claims to be “evangelical Christian” ought to be a member of the ECFA, & that Catholic charities are not under such an “umbrella.” :)

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Better than even money bet a lot of it goes to local and state cops and politicians and the DNC.

Jack Deth on June 16, 2013 at 4:56 PM

And then the DNC claims they “lost” a cell phone worth $30,000.

John the Libertarian on June 16, 2013 at 4:59 PM

There are many fine organizations that minister to both physical and spiritual needs far more effectively than individuals acting alone.

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Are you saying that ECFA knows better how to “minister to both physical and spiritual needs far more effectively” than individuals who understand in the heart the meaning of giving from the heart in our Lord?

I’m confused, I’ll admit. I still do and will continue to give and donate my dollars and time and effort to those who are directly affected, no matter how. My choice, for now.

jersey taxpayer on June 16, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Salvation Army.

Dingbat63 on June 16, 2013 at 5:13 PM

itsnotaboutme

The last I recall you were about to head off to drive charity down south. How’s that going? Well I hope?

DarkCurrent on June 16, 2013 at 5:13 PM

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 4:53 PM

I’m all for donating, but I keep it strictly local. I’ve donated clothing to my local St. Vincent de Paul store and food to our parish’s food bank. There’s a Goodwill store a couple towns away that I’ve taken clothing to also over the years.

A couple friends of mine have started a non-profit to help with renovation efforts in our small town. I’ve donated to them because I can see the direct result of their efforts.

PatriotGal2257 on June 16, 2013 at 5:13 PM

I was just saying that any charity that claims to be “evangelical Christian” ought to be a member of the ECFA, & that Catholic charities are not under such an “umbrella.” :)

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Yes, I’m appreciative that you pointed it out. I didn’t take it as you were excluding them. I just got a little off track. :)

PatriotGal2257 on June 16, 2013 at 5:18 PM

I’m all for donating, but I keep it strictly local…

PatriotGal2257 on June 16, 2013 at 5:13 PM

It’s great that you do those things, & I would never suggest that you stop.
I would suggest that you add international charity to what you already give.
Humanity’s greatest needs are found outside of our borders.

I’m not saying the poor in the US don’t need help.
But our poor are wealthy compared to millions in other nations.
Please consider helping them also.

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 5:19 PM

The only 2 charities I give to:
Make a Wish
Wounded Warriors
VegasRick on June 16, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Actually wounded warriors project isn’t rated very good compared to other veteran organization. Out of a score of 0 to 70 they get a 54. Out of 100 dollars it receives in donations it only give $55 to actual wounded warriors.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=12842

Compare that to a charity like the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund which has a score of 67 out of 70, giving $94 out if $100 to the veterans. Or the Special Operations Warrior Foundation which has a 68 out of 70 score giving $84 out of $100 it receives.

MoreLiberty on June 16, 2013 at 5:19 PM

@ itsnotaboutme:

I need to get to dinner for the father of my son, so I haven’t time to wait for a response to my last post, so..

if that’s what you are saying, I call that ‘hogwash.’ When I donate my dollars/effort/time to those directly affected, there is no middle man, thus all of my dollars/effort/time go directly to whom I wish to donate.

if you aren’t saying that, you need to explain yerself, Lucy :)

Happy Dad’s Day to all the fathers here who give their children the immense importance of having them in their lives. May God, Himself, bless you.

jersey taxpayer on June 16, 2013 at 5:20 PM

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 5:19 PM

I will certainly consider it and use both of the websites posted here to find a worthy international charity in which to donate. I’m sure I will find one. :)

PatriotGal2257 on June 16, 2013 at 5:23 PM

The last I recall you were about to head off to drive charity down south. How’s that going? Well I hope?

DarkCurrent on June 16, 2013 at 5:13 PM

I very much appreciate your interest & concern.
My wife & I are going west rather than south, to Davao City, Philippines.

Our mission is full steam ahead! We’ll hit the ground running this summer. We’ve just secured a generous doctor who will come later this year to do a ‘medical mission’ for the people we’ll work with. We’ve got a man with a general contracting background who wants to head up a team that will come out & build small homes for folks who live in rickety shacks. Also, we’ve been blessed with free rent for our home from mid-August to mid-January. And we’re in talks now to join forces/resources with a well-established charity in the area, while maintaining the freedom to do what God is calling us to do.

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 5:28 PM

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Good to hear things going well. Please keep us up to date!

DarkCurrent on June 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Salvation Army. http://www.salvationarmyusa.org

Wounded Warrior Project. http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org

missouriyankee on June 16, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Are you saying that ECFA knows better how to “minister to both physical and spiritual needs far more effectively” than individuals who understand in the heart the meaning of giving from the heart in our Lord?

I’m confused, I’ll admit. I still do and will continue to give and donate my dollars and time and effort to those who are directly affected, no matter how. My choice, for now.

jersey taxpayer on June 16, 2013 at 5:08 PM

I’m sorry for not wording it better.
I’m just saying that a good charity with, say, five full-time trained workers & a hundred people supporting it can accomplish much more than 105 people giving here & there when they see needs.
Bear in mind, the full-time workers might not need much personal support. For example, in our charity, about half of my wife’s & my personal support is provided by my monthly early-retirement check ($1200 a month).
I just think it’s often more efficient that way, & it’s often better to have folks with training doing the work.
And when you’re talking about helping folks on the other side of the world, there’s not much chance you’re going to do much for them outside of an organization, unless you happen to be related.

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Good to hear things going well. Please keep us up to date!

DarkCurrent on June 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Well, I hesitate to bring up our mission here unless the topic is charity *wink, wink*, but you can follow us at Davao City Outreach on Facebook, or our blog if you click my username below. :)

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 5:45 PM

I don’t give money to any charity because of scams like this. What a horrible state of affairs.

madmonkphotog on June 16, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Guidestar is the other charity guide, in addition to Charitynavigator and BBB.

juliesa on June 16, 2013 at 5:58 PM

I’m on two charity boards and two foundation boards. The foundation boards I’m on usually give to regional charities with people we know on the boards. We also give to the some of the bigger very reputable charities, including Salvation Army.

That was an interesting read for me. Some of the charities were outright fraudulent, and some started out legit but wound up in trouble by hiring those fundraising scammers. The charities I’m on use staff and sometimes consultants for fundraising, but much of the fundraising is done by the boards through personal and business connections. The fundraising scam companies in the article are a whole different animal.

I think I’ve seen that Breast Cancer Society on a list of good sources for info for women with breast cancer. It’s useful to know they’re one of the fraud charities.

Not all charities are scams. Just be check into it before giving.

juliesa on June 16, 2013 at 5:59 PM

As someone who has worked for a charity, a few things to keep in mind:

All charities over a certain size are going to have some overhead, be it office space, a director (& staff), etc. You may think that it’s terrible that 100% of your donation ought to go to x cause, but short of giving money to someone directly, it really won’t happen.

Donate to things that you care about – you are much more likely to pay attention to the organization and what they are doing if you have a common interest. Furthermore, instead of giving $5 to 20 charities, picking a couple to give more to also helps.

Tax-exempt charity organizations are required to file 990 forms, which are public record (except for donor info). (Religious organizations file 990s as well, but those are not public). Charity Navigator is pretty good, but only rates charities which bring in over a certain threshold in donations ($1 million, maybe?) and they review things via a formula, which is a little arbitrary. If you want to see the 990 as filed, they usually can be found at guidestar.org (with free registration).

Charities should also be responsive to people’s questions, inquiries, comments, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and give feedback.

Don’t ever make donations from unsolicited telephone calls!

Charities really provide a needed function in society and are needed to prevent government from taking over all “welfare” spending. However, as donors, it’s our job to to be smart about it!

Katja on June 16, 2013 at 6:02 PM

Do not count on their phone reps to be truthful when you ask them what percentage of their funds go to overhead. The Police Protective Fund rep LIED to me and told me it was 100%–and that some rich donor covered the overhead. My BS detector went off, and I did some digging–and of course, did not donate a dime.

You should always investigate any charity you donate money to.

Meryl Yourish on June 16, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Katrina broke me of ever donating to a large charity.

RalphyBoy on June 16, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Red Cross wasn’t needed during Katrina. I know – I was here. People should have been forced to live with the results of their decisions.

HondaV65 on June 16, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Three charities supposedly focused on breast cancer and cancer in children raised $26 million in a single year. Good news, right? The bad news is that less than $15,000 of those funds got used to help victims of cancer.

…wonder how the individuals running those charities …voted in political elections?

KOOLAID2 on June 16, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Salvation Army.
Samaritan’s Purse.
World Vision.
My own local church.
Compassion.
Local crisis pregnancy center.
Local Union Gospel type mission.
Other Christian ministries, as the funds allow.
That is all.

theotherone on June 16, 2013 at 7:19 PM

I donate a lot of money to charity via the IRS. They redistribute it to lots of worthy causes. I don’t feel any need to give to any other charities as long as they are in business. I trust them implicitly. /puke/gag/sarc

Oldnuke on June 16, 2013 at 7:27 PM

Does anyone else get calls from charities asking if they can send donation materials to you via mail? I get these all the time and my stock answer is always “Absolutely not. Do not send me anything.”

Oldnuke on June 16, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Salvation Army: Yes.

United Way: NO!

Some may remember the notorious Aramony of United Way donation brokerage who spent, say, presidential quantities of donation loot on hookers and booze….

I recently had to deal with the regional United Way IT department. Totally disorganized. Haywire management system. The oddity I had to deal with was probably schizophrenic maybe Nigella Lawson’s husband in disguise. Definitely a personality disorder of some kind where his meds were wrong or not powerful enough. On my way out (with my back to the wall) I made sure the check looked legit and deposited it before going anywhere else.

viking01 on June 16, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Does anyone else get calls from charities asking if they can send donation materials to you via mail?

Oldnuke on June 16, 2013 at 7:30 PM

That’s probably sleazy Eric Holder’s “Give Your Privacy Rights Away to Me” program at JustUs which was specially fast-tracked for approval by the KGB IRS Cincinnati office as a non-profit for the 2012 election year.

If you, er, donate tell ‘em Mark Rich sent ya.

viking01 on June 16, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Terrible.
I’d recommend donating to the Justltl Early Retirement Fund. It’s guaranteed that 100% of your contribution goes to the right place. Here’s the addy:

asuckerisborneveryminute.com

Do it.
For the children.

justltl on June 16, 2013 at 8:02 PM

The widow’s coin…

I know this was mentioned on the TV show The Factor . Check it for yourself and run charities through someone or something before you give.

I have problems with Bill O. at times but I have seen what he has done for veterans and the poor and the sick.

He is the most charitable entertainment person I know from Long Island and maybe planet earth.

I am in no hurry for the world’s end but I think that Chris Matthews is really going to be surprised on Judgement Day when several Fascists or crypto-Nazis are honored.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/

IlikedAUH2O on June 16, 2013 at 8:02 PM

I’m told the Navy Seals have a quality charity and I’ll bet they didn’t get a cent for terminating whats his name.

.

IlikedAUH2O on June 16, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Sad to see in the comments that many refuse to give to any charity.

Jesus Christ himself endorsed giving to charity.

We all know that Jesus praised the Good Samaritan who helped the wounded robbery victim. But you might not have thought of this: Most of the caring was done by the innkeeper. The Samaritan had to be on his way, so he paid the innkeeper to care for the wounded man. Jesus did not commend the innkeeper; he commended the Samaritan!

So there is a special blessing for those who give to help the poor.

Why then do so many evangelicals shy away from what they call the “social gospel”? Perhaps it’s because they disapprove of those who focus solely on meeting physical needs, so they want nothing to do with that so-called liberalism. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!

There are many fine organizations that minister to both physical and spiritual needs far more effectively than individuals acting alone.

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 4:53 PM

I agree with your larger point here but the problem is many who claim to be poor or needy aren’t and every dollar that goes to someone scamming the system is a dollar that doesn’t go to those who truly need it. The bible does referenc people helping themselves and people who refuse to do for themselves.

hopeful on June 16, 2013 at 8:35 PM

I agree with your larger point here but the problem is many who claim to be poor or needy aren’t and every dollar that goes to someone scamming the system is a dollar that doesn’t go to those who truly need it. The bible does referenc people helping themselves and people who refuse to do for themselves.

hopeful on June 16, 2013 at 8:35 PM

Both points you make are very true, “hopeful.”

itsnotaboutme on June 16, 2013 at 8:40 PM

Guess what political party they contribute to.

pat on June 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM

White collar Cons

Salahuddin on June 16, 2013 at 9:05 PM

There’s something you can give that will always go 100% to needy people — time.

If you only donate money, please consider getting involved directly. Not everyone has time to give, so don’t think I’m condemning folks who can’t donate time, but actually DOING charity is very rewarding.

Now, if you’re interested in helping people but don’t think you’re qualified, you probably aren’t. But what you need isn’t some magical gift, it’s training. Any legit charity will have a serious training program for new volunteers. Ask around; there are plenty.

One of the most serious training programs I know of is the VITA training which teaches you to prepare tax returns for poor people. VITA stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and it’s run by (don’t freak out now) the IRS.

http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers

Pythagoras on June 16, 2013 at 10:05 PM

There’s a Goodwill store a couple towns away that I’ve taken clothing to also over the years.

A couple friends of mine have started a non-profit to help with renovation efforts in our small town. I’ve donated to them because I can see the direct result of their efforts.

PatriotGal2257 on June 16, 2013 at 5:13 PM

You do realize that Goodwill pays their owners a healthy sum, in fact it’s basically a franchise system. They “hire” disabled for their employees, usually because they get an offset from the government so their labor costs are kept low.

Own a Goodwill store, and you are a millionaire…They pay their people close to nothing, rake in huge amounts of money, but have to be “non-profit”, so where do you think the money goes? They don’t give to charities.

They say “provided jobs and training”, but most of their jobs and training are subsidized by federal, state, and local governments.

right2bright on June 16, 2013 at 11:45 PM

In many cases, the best thing to do for targeted charitable giving is to give to a local church. The reason is that the pastor and staff already get a salary based on the standard tithes and offerings, so if they’re operating a ministry to feed the poor or help the homeless, in most cases, 100% of the money will go for the purpose it’s given for.

I know my church receives donations from non-members for specified ministries in many cases because they know that none of it will get sucked up into operational overhead.

I’m sure there are exceptions, but if you know and trust a local church that has charitable ministries, they’re usually the best ones to give money to and know that it will actually be spent on charity.

As far as the non-local charities go, I’ve heard that Salvation Army usually has a good reputation.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 17, 2013 at 12:16 AM

I have a bug up my butt about United Way. They have a very muscular operation for strong-arming corporations (depending on the vanity of upper management, in some companies, not donating generously is career suicide) and they aren’t really a charity, more like a broker. They take a 15% cut and pass the rest on to the actual charities, some of which are pretty dubious. So why not give directly?

The company I worked for wasn’t too harsh about non-donation, but they did make us sit through the United Way film every year. One year, the film was about how a United Way charity helped a severely mentally handicapped couple have and rear a baby. That was the last time I went.

S. Weasel on June 17, 2013 at 7:42 AM

A young kid (from Detroit; we live in Austin) came to our door asking for money to go to college. He said it was sponsored by some organization, but that’s it…no written materials, nothing. I asked for a copy of the organization’s audited financial statements. We don’t give money unless we review the statements. He didn’t argue. Just walked away.

Hat Trick on June 17, 2013 at 8:24 AM

There’s any number of big name charities out there we could point out where they live high on the hog on donations. Red Cross was even getting tossed in for awhile. My grandmother didn’t like them because they were charging the soldiers the doughnuts paid for by donations. That was during WW1. I had a bad experience with United Way when I first started working. The big corp I worked for wanted to be seen as caring for the community and literally forced the workers to donate to the Way. That’s not charity. I give to my church which is non-denominational. I know my particular church is supporting a missionary in Turkey right now. BTW, what has happened to all the money donated to Slick Willie to rebuild Haiti?

Kissmygrits on June 17, 2013 at 9:09 AM

When in doubt, keep your giving local and give equal measures of your time.

2nd Ammendment Mother on June 17, 2013 at 10:33 AM

It is a sad commentary on the state of affairs that we have such naked abuse of the generosity of the American people, but there it is. I don’t give anything to a charity that refuses to accept your time in lieu of cash. I understand the need for funds but the bad ones have driven trust out of the market. I have to see what they do before they get anything. And seeing doesn’t include a slickly produce fund raising film or brochure.

yesiamapirate on June 17, 2013 at 2:44 PM

I donate to the local single moms…One Dollar At A Time.

MunDane68 on June 17, 2013 at 3:09 PM

There is a special place in hell for those who rob from sick or needy people!

The only 2 charities I give to:
Make a Wish
Wounded Warriors

VegasRick on June 16, 2013 at 3:41 PM

My top 2 are:
1. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital- Founded by the late, great Danny Thomas whose promise that “no sick child’s family would ever get a bill” has been kept since its inception.
2. Wounded Warriors

NightmareOnKStreet on June 17, 2013 at 3:50 PM