The 10 worst charities
An analysis by the Center for Investigative Reporting and a newspaper identifies organizations that fattened solicitors' wallets.
The Center for Investigative Reporting and the St. Petersburg, Fla., Tampa Bay Times examined the tax records of 6,000 charities that used paid fundraisers and identified the 50 worst in America. None of the 50, which, combined, paid solicitors nearly $1 billion of $1.3 billion raised over the past decade, gave more than 11 cents on the dollar to those who were supposed to benefit, the investigation found.
In some cases, such as with the Cancer Fund of America, if you donated $20, less than 20 cents of your contribution actually went the organization's cause. Among the 50 worst charities, the average amount that went to the cause itself was about 4 cents of every dollar donated.
Some of these charities have been flagged before -- an indication that even after word has gotten out about how they do business, many consumers aren't aware that practically none of their donation is being used in a charitable way.
Typically, charity rating organizations want to see fundraising costs no higher than 35%, and many major charities are far below that. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Make-A-Wish Foundation of America spent 19% and 15%, respectively, on fundraising, according to data published by the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance.
Many of the charities that poured money from donors into the bank accounts of for-profit solicitation companies have names that sound similar to respected national charities and typically have easy-to-support causes as part of their names, including "breast cancer," "firefighters" and "children's cancer."
Here are the 10 worst charities in America from the list compiled by the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Tampa Bay Times, along with the percentage of money raised that went to the supposed cause:
- Kids Wish Network (2.5%)
- Cancer Fund of America (0.9%)
- Children's Wish Foundation International (10.8%)
- American Breast Cancer Foundation (5.3%)
- Firefighters Charitable Foundation (8.4%)
- Breast Cancer Relief Foundation (2.2%)
- International Union of Police Associations (0.5%)
- National Veterans Service Fund (7.8%)
- American Association of State Troopers (8.6%)
- Children's Cancer Fund of America (5.3%)
Groups like these tend to rely on telephone solicitations to collect donations. Some are little more than fronts for the companies that raise the money. Every time a consumer makes a donation to the "charity," the bulk of it stays with the company that made the pitch.
Here are some tips to avoid donating to for-profit telephone solicitation operation when your intention was to support charity:
- Don't make a donation on a call from a fundraiser. A legitimate charity will be more than happy to accept a donation on your time frame through a means you feel comfortable with, whether it's by mailing a check or using a credit card online.
- If you're interested in a charity, take the time to find out how it plans to spend donated money.
- Research the charity before you donate, using charity evaluation sites including GuideStar, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator.
- Use the Internet to see what other people have said about the charity.
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sounds like you have had a bad experience with the Salvation Army. sorry to hear that.
I know when I was a child and an F-5 tornado hit Lubbock TX, they were there, we lost everything, they
came and helped us clean up what was left of our house, gave us food, water, clothing, and even
toys. they gave us hope.
I taught my sons to give by their actions.
When it's over a 110 degrees here in Las Vegas we stop what we're doing and go to Costco there we buy up a few cases of water and head for the parks..
We pass out the water to all of the homeless that we can find, but it's dangerous..
One time my son went by himself and he was almost overcome by a group of homeless..
He gave them hell and told them he couldn't understand how they could treat someone who was trying to help and that they should be ashamed of the way they were attempting to do harm to him. He said "Dad they wanted to rob me or worse"
So even when you try to help others in need "Watch out"..Go in parts and trust no one..But above all don't let a few people make you rethink your actions of kindness..
The ASPCA that uses those tear-jerker commercials on national TV with their spokesperson Sarah McLachlan should be banned as well. They take in hundreds of millions each year as a direct result of their deceptive ads which lead viewers to believe they are a national organization when in-fact they are the New York City SPCA and give little or no money nationally. In 2009 they took in over 600 million and gave about $300,000 to other SPCA's around the country.
If you want to donate to animal (or any) charities give locally and ignore national ad campaigns.
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