Everyone is aware of the situation with North Korea – when we try to send them food many times the army requisitions it all. This is by design – the North Korean leader is only interested in staying in power – and he will use any means at his disposal to get as much foreign aid as possible. What are we to do?
We are not able to enter the country – and the only time we can enter and roam freely is during periods of great famine. However North Korea is not the only country where this issue happens – it is only the one where the reality is so stark – and being the last vestige of all powerful communism rule – it is the one people are most fascinated with.
Unfortunately there are many areas where this issue is happening – and so we must ask how we can improve the lot of people in life – especially in countries with – and this is a common issue – repressive regimes. It’s not that repressive regimes necessarily want to make life tougher for its residents – it’s just that the regime’s need to stay in power is more important than improving the lot of the people in the country.
Recently we have had the Sri Lankan bombing – we can see how quickly the international community can respond and help – and while Sri Lanka is not known as the best first world country – and is in a country known for corruption – aid services can assist in these areas.
So the solution is a systemised way that aid agencies can assist the impoverished people in these countries. We must look to aid agencies that have been able to do this successfully and replicate their efforts – the Red Cross does amazing work – but there are many organisations that can play into a dictator’s hands because they are not aware of the tricks and sleighs of hand that are implemented by a regime.
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.
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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
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