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How much of your donation dollar actually goes to the causes you care about?

Sometimes, it can be as little as a dime.

These 10 charities aren't living up to their missions, according to Charity Navigator, a nonprofit evaluator of charities. Each spends more than 50 percent of its budget on for-profit fundraising professionals to solicit donations. They are ranked by the percentage of their total functional expenses spent on professional fundraising fees. As a result, less of these charities’ spending is directed toward their programs and services.

Charity Navigator ranks charities for both their financial health and their accountability and transparency, then provides an overall score. You can use the site, or a similar site such as GuideStar, (both are nonprofits) to research charities before parting with your hard-earned money.

Based on their ratings, Charity Navigator came up with this list of 10 charities that are overpaying their for-profit fundraisers.

10. Children’s Leukemia Research Association

  • Garden City, N.Y.
  • Percent of budget spent on charitable programs and services: 31.7 percent
  • Percent spent on fundraising: 66.6 percent

This charity supports research efforts toward finding the causes and cure for leukemia, but spends almost 70 cents for every dollar on for-profit fundraising, and has scored 16.14 overall out of 70 on Charity Navigator’s scoring system.

9. National Police Defense Foundation

  • Morganville, N.J.
  • Percent of budget spent on charitable programs and services: 17.7 percent
  • Percent spent on fundraising: 79.1 percent

This organization works to provide medical and legal support services to the national law enforcement community. While their executive director isn't compensated, according to their financial statement submitted to Charity Navigator, they spent $1,391,863 on fundraising and just $312,946 on the programs and services the charity exists to deliver.

8. Law Enforcement Education Program

  • Troy, Mich.
  • Percent of budget spent on charitable programs and services: 3.3 percent
  • Percent spent on fundraising: 79.4 percent

LEEP seeks to create and support educational programs for the betterment of both the general public and the law enforcement community. With a total revenue of $1,556,700, this charity spent just $55,679 fulfilling its purpose.

7. Wishing Well Foundation USA

  • Metairie, La.
  • Percent of budget spent on charitable programs and services: 12.4 percent
  • Percent spent on fundraising: 79.8 percent

The Wishing Well Foundation’s goal is “to bring joy to children with life-threatening illnesses by providing them with their fondest wish in life.” With $1,145,257 raised through federated campaign funding, this charity offered up just $143,526 toward its purpose — about 12 cents for every dollar. It received a 2.93 score out of 70 from Charity Navigator.

6. Children’s Charity Fund, Inc.

  • Sarasota, Fla.
  • Percent of budget spent on charitable programs and services: 8 percent
  • Percent spent on fundraising: 83.7 percent

The purpose of Children’s Charity Fund is to educate and inform the public concerning the needs of disabled children, provide referral services and act as children’s advocates. The organization scored 4.8 out of 70 with Charity Navigator, and spent just $107,232 on the program out of total contributions of just over $1.3 million.

5. National Vietnam Veterans Foundation

  • Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Percent of budget spent on charitable programs and services: 11.5 percent
  • Percent spent on fundraising: 86.8 percent

A national organization dedicated to aiding, supporting and benefiting America’s veterans and their families, the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation spent just 11.5 percent of its total contributions of nearly $4.9 million on that task, with over $4.2 million spent on fundraising.

4. California Police Youth Charities

  • Roseville, Calif.
  • Percent of budget spent on charitable programs and services: 8.4 percent
  • Percent spent on fundraising: 85.5 percent

This “cops for kids” charity seeks to build relationships between the law enforcement community and California youth. They raised $2,591,759 in 2011, but spent $2,259,213 on fundraising, leaving just $224,063 to charitable programs and services.

3. The Committee for Missing Children

  • Lawrenceville, Ga.
  • Percent of budget spent on charitable programs and services: 12.1 percent
  • Percent spent on fundraising: 85.5 percent

The Committee for Missing Children provides services to help locate missing children. In 2012, they raised more than $2 million — of which $252,405 went to the cause.

2. Firefighters Charitable Foundation

  • Farmingdale, N.Y.
  • Percent of budget spent on charitable programs and services: 7 percent
  • Percent spent on fundraising: 87.7 percent

This charity helps victims of fire and disaster. It scored a 55 out of 70 with Charity Navigator on accountability and transparency, but zero on financials, spending $6,678,453 on fundraising, and just $533,711 fulfilling its purpose.

1. Cancer Survivors’ Fund

  • Missouri City, Texas
  • Percent of budget spent on charitable programs and services: 7.1 percent
  • Percent spent on fundraising: 90.5 percent

The Cancer Survivors’ Fund tops the list of charities spending too much on for-profit fundraising with just $99,309 going toward supporting cancer survivors, and $1.26 million going toward for-profit fundraising for the fiscal year ending March 2013.

Check the bottom of a charity’s ratings page on Charity Navigator to see a list of highly rated charities that offer similar services.

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