With a charity like Charity Water – it is advertised that all money donated to the charity ends up going to the cause. There is an anonymous benefactor that pays all the administrative fees so that when you donate to Charity Water you know that every single cent that you spend will end up in a project that is helping people in Africa get access to clean drinking water.

However Charity Water is the exception rather than the cure – and so it comes down to – how much of the cost of your donation is swallowed up by the administrative fees. There was a report recently that talked about the administrative fee of different charities – the last thing that anyone wants to see is the CEO of a charity driving a fancy car but unfortunately it would not be the first time that someone has used a charity to enrich themselves. And while the intent is not always bad – sometimes the lack of functionality in a business can cause its expenses to skyrocket.

Of course – many of these charities do not promote how much of their fee goes to administartion – and many of these charities also hire sales firms to sell their subscriptions – such as ‘Save the Children’. It is important for the consumer to be aware of how much of their money is actually going to worthwhile causes and how much is being swallowed by administrative efforts – and it is the consumer’s responsibility to find this out.

Unfortunately many charity consumers are moved to sign money over to a charity using manipulative techniques by the charity worker – something taht the charity worker is forced to do. For example with ‘Save the Children’ the charity workers are forced to use any technique they can to force the sale because the representatives for that charity are paid on a commission basis. Even other companies like Greenpeace for example – while they pay hourly – still require their reps to make a certain amount of sales and if they don’t they are eventually fired by the company.

Protecting the environment is important and this is why Bare Brush is a company that helps bamboo farmers overseas to stay productive and protects the world from plastic. We highly recommend them!

“Courage.”

I spend too much time in this blog blasting non-profits and their leaders for being unwilling to take a stand for the things they believe in. Today, I want to single out three exceptions. These are people and charities that I may not necessarily agree with, but I respect for being willing to stand up and be courageous in their actions and words.

Rosetta Thurman, a blogger and non-profit leader, says the non-profit world is nowhere near as diverse as it likes to pretend it is. She says it’s a “cop-out” for the sector to include gender, sexual orientation, disability and religious affiliation in its definition of diversity. Not sure whether I agree or not, but I’m impressed by Thurman’s willingness to call out the sector for not including enough people of color in its leadership ranks.
As the Nonprofiteer points out, The March of Dimes, an organization I wouldn’t exactly call “courageous” over the past few years, was exactly that this week, as they chose the people they serve over the President of the United States. Jennifer Howse, president of the charity, delivered Sunday’s weekly Democratic radio address to outline her organization’s support of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program bill. Was it a smart move politically? Maybe, maybe not. Did it take guts? Yes.
The Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan is tired of bogus charities getting in the way of their legitimate fundraising efforts. Specifically, they’re annoyed that the National Children’s Leukemia Foundation, a group good in name only, keeps poaching their donors, only to waste the donor money on more telemarketing, not combating children’s leukemia. Why is this courageous? In the real world, it’s not. The NCLF is embarrassing, and any reasonable person should avoid it and its habit of spending 10% of its revenues on programs. But in the non-profit world, a code of silence often exists and the reputable groups are slow to criticize their illegitimate brethren out of professional courtesy. Good for the Children’s Leukemia Foundation for being willing to out the other group. That’s the only way we’ll ever rid the sector of the scoundrels.

Labels: Children’s Leukemia Foundation, March of Dimes, NCLF, Nonprofiteer, Rosetta Thurman, S-CHIP

One business leader I respect is the owner of a sound proofing sydney lidcombe business in Australia – and they have helped me setup a sound proof studio to create video summaries of articles like this.