Where Your Donations Really Go

Discussion
Sep 9, 2014

Throughout my life, my parents have always talked about donating to the "right" charities; making sure your donation reaches its destination. They have always been hesitant about donating to certain charities because they believe that the majority of your money does not really support the cause for which you intend. With the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge taking place, raising awareness for ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and drawing in over $100 million in a single month, I am now curious as to where the donations go and exactly what they support. (http://www.inquisitr.com/1435424/als-ice-bucket-challenge-raises-million...)

I began to research different charities to see how they distribute the donations they receive. After reading several articles, I noticed the trend that my parents have always spoken about. While some charities use the majority of the money they receive for the intended cause, many charities spend most of their donations on administrative costs (equipment, salaries, etc). For example, I found that the American Red Cross spend 92.1% of their income on actual programs that benefit the community, and they manage to keep their administrative expenses at less than 5% of their total overhead. (http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/24/pf/donations-charities/) An article written in the International Business Times says that The ALS Association said 28% of their budget was spent on research last year.

Most people are quick to donate some money believing that they are directly affecting the cause. Ironically, though, much of their money is used toward administrative costs and to raise the salaries of those working for the organization. I believe this should be published more prominently so that we may find a solution. In the meantime, it is important that people do more research into the causes they are supporting because most people do not realize where their money is going.

I found my information through the Google Search Engine. I read through several articles about a number of different charities and funds, and found quotes from interviews with executives of those specific charities.

Comments

Advice

Submitted by Paultabish on Tue, 2014-09-09 16:41.

Talk about some of the charities that do not use most of their donations for their cause, and compare it to charities, like the Red Cross as you noted, that do. This would make for an interesting comparison. This is an good topic, and it would be interesting to hear opinions of others that you found in your articles.

Compelling Facts

Submitted by richard.vu on Wed, 2014-09-10 02:36.

Dear Duncan,

your post shed a whole new light on my view of popularity, what people want and what people truly care about. While I do think ALS is a disease that should be cured as soon as possible and that the awareness is giving it the attention it needed, it's best if we spend our money on curing it than constantly mentioning it. However, advertising is a very powerful marketing strategy, if these companies don't send the message more and more even if it will cost them more money, how else will they have any money to begin with? Other than that, I now understand that greed is a bigger disease than those mentioned.

Thank you for your writing and I do hope I hear more about this subject and the outcome when everyone finds out about the truth.

Richard Vu from Oakland, CA

After personally having

Submitted by Abby.Isaacson on Mon, 2015-02-23 20:53.

After personally having donated to at least a couple organizations or charities each year I think the point you make here is very true; we don't know exactly where our money is always going. I think people aren't very educated toward being told or finding out themselves where their own money is going. Most of the time when people donate money they automatically feel as though they are making positive contributions, when sometimes this money is being used in ways which most people would probably not be very happy with. At my house we always get calls from various organizations, sometimes more than once a month from the same place. My parents have told me that some of these donations to various places are used to pay workers rather than directly help the people their organization is set up to aid. Overall, I feel as though we all need to learn to be more inclined toward checking up on where our money is truly going.