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Charities that cheat their causes

Posted by esh_ga z7 GA (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 14, 13 at 16:18

Is there anything more low than to take money for charity and then not use it? Some charities have done that - others come pretty close to doing it.

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.

This article from CNN discusses their research with the Tampa Bay Times.

The worst one - Kids Wish Network. Disgusting. According to the report they spent just 2.5% of the monies collected on helping kids.

I know most of us are too smart to not research our charities, but please make others aware too.

Here is a link that might be useful: The list


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

I saw this earlier. What really jumped out to me was the number of "police" and "firefighter" charities on the list.

My husband and I were duped by a "police" charity a few years back. Turns out it was a few retired police officers that used the good faith and name of their brothers and sisters to steal.......I only go with the big name charities now. Salvation Army being my all time favourite....


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

Last night Anderson Cooper did a story on a Cancer charity which abused and scammed millions from people and gave 2% to the charity. Paid the family who founded it loads of money as salary each year. I was making dinner and not paying that much attention but I'm sure it's out there on CNN. Just awful.


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

How many said children and/or cancer? A lot of "children cancer". It just makes me sick to my stomach, and my teeth hurt.


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

How many said children and/or cancer? A lot of "children cancer".

And as chase mentioned firemen and police and there were quite a few 9/11 ones also that included family members of those that died.

. There is a very simple answer -- because they are playing with your heartstrings. I will never understand why people don't look into the charity before giving even if it is $10. It only takes a few minutes to check.

There are so many easy ways to do so, I always tell people to look up credentials and check us out before giving us their money. Go to the various websites that rate charities, look at their 990's, annual reports, and check with the BBB. If they have nothing to hide then they will encourage you to do so. The one's with a problem won't. I have heard all the excuses imaginable. If there is an excuse then that should be a red flag.


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

It's not that easy to really know the truth. I worked for a charity that, supposedly, was up & up.

Guess what? It was NOT my idea of a charity. It still exists and is doing extremely well. I learned a lot while I worked there. The charity operated within the legal limits, I guess, but I didn't like what I saw going down. The only people who work hard and don't get paid anything are actually the "ground people". They are taken advantage of by directors and managers (the top echelon gets paid A LOT in many ways. Many work only 32 hours per week, but get paid 40).

I came to a realization that most, if not all charities are scams for the top people to have great jobs with benefits, while the bottom employees work hard and make very little. A very small portion goes to the actual cause-approx. 15%. I could write stories, but I won't.


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

Not so many anymore, but in the past I've gotten myriad calls soliciting for donations to sheriff, police, and fire causes. Some of them pretty much off the wall by paid bull pen solicitors... people who knew people who once said hello to a policeman type things.

Some of the Veterans ones are equally off kilter.
This is from the Michigan Attorney General, but I'd bet it holds in the other 49 states as well.

"FACT - Most public safety organizations are not charitable. Most of them are trade organizations, labor unions or lobbying groups. Even if they tell you about charitable causes they support, your donation may not be used for any charitable activities. In addition, because most public safety groups are not 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, contributions are likely not deductible on your income taxes.

FACT - The person who telephoned you requesting a contribution was likely not a member of your local police or fire department. Almost all solicitation by telephone is done by for-profit, professional fundraisers, who sometimes keep as much as 90% of your contribution as compensation. In other words, for $100 to be given to the organization after the fundraiser's fee, you may have to contribute $1000.

FACT - Some professional fundraisers have been known to imply that you will be better protected if you make a donation. For example, you may be told that emergency police or fire response to your house will be faster. The truth is that contributions to these organizations - or their fundraisers - will have no effect on the level of protection police and fire departments provide.

FACT - Some fundraisers may use deceptive tactics to induce you to make a donation. If you receive a bill for an unfamiliar pledge (promise to donate) you don't recall making, there's a good chance you never made such a promise - you may merely have requested written information about the organization. Or an unethical telemarketer may thank you for previous donations, even if you never made any."

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I don't know why this particularly fries me - my most convenient grocery store has "guest baggers" with their little tip jar front and center at the end of the conveyor belt. Usually it was only on weekends, but now that school's out there'll be pep clubs, swim teams, sports this & that, little ballet dancers, yadda yadda. I fully understand budgets for extra curriculars have been slashed to the bone, some families just don't have the extra funds for their kids to participate, and I surely don't miss the buck I tend to toss in the jar; and, after all, they did perform a service of a sort that a store employee would do for free. Can't speak for others, but I wonder if people don't feel trapped into an "obligation". Good heavens, today it was the LDS Women's something or other - that was a first.


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

Yea, when the top employees consider riding around in limos working, well, I'll keep my hard earned money.

I give to our village cops and fire, in an envelope addressed to the village hall. Had those other cop scammers calling here. Wonder if one of our village cops was in on the scam.

I am getting so tired of being asked to donate to something every time I check out in a store. Today, after withdrawing cash at an ATM at my bank, the dam machine asked if I wanted to donate to something. I want to scream!

I ALWAYS say no to these solicitations.


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

Sometimes one really has to wonder. It's been 3 years since the earthquake in Haiti... well, here's an article from The Guardian...

"Haiti received an unprecedented amount of support: more than $9bn (£5.6bn) in public and private donations. Official bilateral and multilateral donors pledged $13bn and, according to the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti, almost 50% of these pledges ($6bn) have been disbursed. Private donations are estimated at $3bn."

"...about 94% of humanitarian funding went to donors' own civilian and military entities, UN agencies, international NGOs and private contractors. In addition, 36% of recovery grants went to international NGOs and private contractors. Yet this is where the trail goes cold - " you can look at procurement databases to track primary contract recipients, but it is almost impossible to track the money further to identify the final recipients and the outcomes of projects."

Here is a link that might be useful: Poor Haiti. Still poor after all those billions


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

It's not that easy to really know the truth. I worked for a charity that, supposedly, was up & up

.A very small portion goes to the actual cause-approx. 15%

Huh? And that wasn't a red flag to you? That is not a good charity. A good charity uses most of it's money toward its mission, to run its programs and/or provide services. All this information is easily gleaned before giving or even working for them.

As for salaries you can look up anyone's and see what they make and the hours they are paid for. You can't judge the amount of time a person puts in by the time they are in the office that you see. Again, some are swarmy and only work part-time but others are working at night and on weekends. They could be out soliciting, meeting and networking, all an integral part of their jobs. Others get perks like the use of the organization cars to do their work - some deserve it and use it for business and others abuse the priviledge.

You can see what % of the money goes directly to a program compared to what was raised. If they are getting government $ then they are audited reguarly and I can only attest to NYS right now but they are taking this very seriously and go through the books with a fine tooth comb.

I worked for an organization that went through a change in Executive Directors and it changed considerably, not in a good way. I had left at this point but the new ED thought he was going to pull the wool over people's eyes including the state/city funding but in the end much of it was cut after they went through the books and private funding was also reduced when he couldn't meet the guidelines and prove it. It is a shame because it was a great organziation at one time. He moved the organization to a building that he owned and set up an LLC to funnel the rent money through so no one would realize that he paying the rent to himself. The city got wind of it through the audit and cut the funding immediately.

Yes, there are top people that are swarmy and organizations too that try to take advantage just like any other industry but you can get a good idea of an organization by the percentage of funds used, including the % goes towards administrative fees including salaries compared to their programs and the effectiveness of their programs as well as who is on their board and if that board actually gives money - another red flag if they don't. Board members in name only is another red flag.

But the bottom line is if the organization is raising money and the majority of the funds aren't spent on the programs then it isn't a good charity. 15% percentage should have been an outrage to you. Do your homework BEFORE you give a cent. There are many good organizations out there that don't mind if you investigage them first.

FACT - The person who telephoned you requesting a contribution was likely not a member of your local police or fire department. Almost all solicitation by telephone is done by for-profit, professional fundraisers, who sometimes keep as much as 90% of your contribution as compensation. In other words, for $100 to be given to the organization after the fundraiser's fee, you may have to contribute $1000.

Not always. Many times they are volunteers that are making these calls. There are even annual and bi-annual "phonathons" where they also use a cadre of volunteers to make those calls, not professional fundraisers. I don't know of any legitimate, decent organziation that would have professional fundraisers do that and besides most hi-level, professional fundraisers wouldn't waste their time on something like that. They are used to go after the bigger fish, not this which isn't worth their time or effort.

FACT - Some fundraisers may use deceptive tactics to induce you to make a donation. If you receive a bill for an unfamiliar pledge (promise to donate) you don't recall making, there's a good chance you never made such a promise - you may merely have requested written information about the organization. Or an unethical telemarketer may thank you for previous donations, even if you never made any."

In many states tactics like those are illegal and if it happens you should report it immediately- to authorities and the BBB. Any organization that would use those tactics should be suspect from the start and you should just hang up on them and then report them!


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

Speaking of scams, I got a letter in the mail today congratulating my "house's birthday"....

Dear Silver,
Happy 60th anniversary to your house at ______________. You may not know this, but your house was built in 1953. Think about all the electricity that must have run through your wires, and the water. Things must be wearing out, and you need......

All fine and good except my home wasn't built in 1953 and there's NO way my wiring should need addn'l insurance like they were selling.

Scammers.


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

Email is much the same... scams disguised as official letters from various organizations, when moused over reveal the scam site or might unearth a virus.

To me, there's very little lower than a thief cloaked by a charity.


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 14, 13 at 21:14

This morning my neighbor told me that the county he used to work for paid salaried management employees bonuses to make sure the grunts in the department were never working their ways into good paying situations.

These management people were making hundreds of thousands per year, and only had to put in an hour a day at the office to qualify for payment.

Yes, the county - a public agency had institutionalized suppression of wages in combination with enrichment and pampering of at least a portion of salaried employees.

There is no shortage of people who think it's okay for the flow to be all in their direction. Indeed, many of these types believe something is not the way it's supposed to be if they aren't getting it all coming to them, regardless of how others are affected. It would be funny if trillions weren't lost to this point of view on a recurring basis (try watching American Greed for specific examples).

This post was edited by bboy on Fri, Jun 14, 13 at 21:23


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

Givewell.org is an excellent website to review international charities. I don't know about more local charity organizations ... I have only needed it to fulfill my "Life You Can Save" pledge which commits the pledger to assisting the poorest of the world's population (read: probably not living in the US!).

Not as part of the pledge, but I was going to give to the Three Cups of Tea guy's group at one point. Givewell made me pause, showing a lack of record keeping and transparency. This btw, was two years before the 60 Minutes piece that revealed they were being looked at by the IRS. To be fair, I still do think of the founder as being a basically honest person who probably did just get overwhelmed with the "paper side" ... but has still done some great work in the Middle East for education. It was still enough for me to not want to give my meager portion to them, however, to not know for sure their effectiveness rate with the money given.

Givewell.org. Check it out. Great site.


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

TxanGoddess, it is a great site. Other sites that can help are:

Charitywatch: www.charitywatch.org.
They are the American Institute of Philanthropy and are an independent charity watchdog group and evaluate charity's across the U.S.

The BBB wise giving: www.bbb.org/us/Wise-Giving/

Charitynavigator: www.charitynavigator.org
Their page "Questions To Ask Charities Before Donating" is a good read to help you assess an organiztion before giving them your money.

Guidestar: www.guidestar.org

Another source for good info about some non-profits is the Foundation Center: www.foundationcenter.org


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

Another site that links you to several years of an organization's 990's is Propublica.

http://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/

This post was edited by epiphyticlvr on Fri, Jun 14, 13 at 23:49


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

I have been exposed to an ugly run of solicitations. There is some outfit or more running the same kind of scam related to my home in Santa Barbara that is in desperate need of help. Of course I don't live in SB nor own a house there, but no matter to those given the script to read. Must be using the list of social security recipients to call, all solicitors seem to be speaking to an elder still in his or her home.

Then there are the police and fire benefits requiring me donations to keep us all safe. About 35 years ago I got scammed by one fellow, well spoken and empathetic, named Joel. Well, that got me on the list of easy marks, and I was deluged with other tearful and anguished requests, so urgent that they would send some one over to get my money right then and there. For a few years, the fellow called Joel would call on behalf of a range of "needy" public safety folks, each time he used a different surname. He had such a distinctive voice and spiel that I soon came to greet him by the various names he had used. He hung up on me the last time and the solicitations stopped for a long time.

I follow closely the ratings and descriptions issued by CharityNavigator. If a large organization is not listed, the alarm bells go off in my head.


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RE: Charities that cheat their causes

Sometimes, there's an up side to being poor... in that most solicitors are urged by me to "give to my cause - cause I'm broke and need the money!"

But seriously... I detest the recorded calls the most. If you are serious about gaining donations for a good cause, the very least you can do is offer a real human to ask.

Dogs are a good deterrent, as is living quite off the beaten path, and tend to keep most solicitors at bay.

I only wish we had the means to offer help to more organizations and good causes, but for now... it is what it is.


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