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 Beware of Charities

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Dec 14, 2001
Earlier this year, I thought I'd try to improve my karma by donating some dough to a charity each month. Now, almost a year later, I realize that I've been had...

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So, I gave some money to Save the Children and a couple of other large well-known charities. After a while, they started sending me these letters, asking for more. Ok, I'd expected that.

Only, I thought they would spend some of my money to actually save some unfortunate kids. Judging from the large and rapidly growing pile of letters I've received from those charities, that does not seem to be their top priority. If they keep this up for much longer, they'll have spent all my money trying to get me to donate more money, which they undoubtedly would use to send me even more letters, asking for more money again.

For fucks sake, why don't they go save some children for a change!

Just needed to get that off my chest... sorry for the interruption.


Your mistake. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Dec 14th, 2001 at 03:21:32 PM PST
You specifically say that you contributed to a 'well known' charity. The only way to be well-known in a capitalist society is to spend money on advertising. So you made your mistake right there.

It is nearly impossible to find a decent charity to give money to, since any decent one wouldn't spend time or money making its presence known. If you actually want to help people, you pretty much have to volunteer your time. In the process of doing so, you might find out what causes are actually worth donating to. Throwing money at a problem without careful research just increases corruption.

Anonymous Reader #24601

Yes, you're right (none / 0) (#2)
by twodot72 on Fri Dec 14th, 2001 at 03:43:22 PM PST
This was pretty much my conclusion too.

I thought the big ones would be the subject of extensive scrutiny, while the smaller ones were more likely to turn out to be scams. Of course, as you say, spending lots of money on ads is how those charities became large and known in the first place.

Well yes but... (none / 0) (#3)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Dec 14th, 2001 at 04:50:47 PM PST
...I've worked as a volunteer for a rural dvelopment programme in China, and we did all the grant applications ourselves, which was incredibly time consuming. I'd have loved a full time fund raising office. Project work takes money.

Just look at their accounts - good organisations will publish indepentently audited ones. We tried to (and pretty much succeeded in) keep our admin costs below 5% of all funds.

What if... (none / 0) (#7)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Dec 15th, 2001 at 07:13:41 PM PST
If an organization is really good at helping people though, they will do so in such an obvious way that people would pay attention to them despite the fact that they don't spend money on advertising. With enough effort I'm sure you could get volunteers onto talk shows or news networks.

Lots are like that (none / 0) (#4)
by fluffy grue on Sat Dec 15th, 2001 at 12:18:57 AM PST
According to Cliff Bleszinski, he absolutely refuses to contribute another cent to the Animal Humane Society because when he sent them a $20 donation, they sent him way more than $20 worth of "free" crap to try to get him to donate more. As he put it somewhere in the Cat Scan contest hate-mail archive (I'm too lazy to find the actual page), "If I wanted stationery, I'd go to Staples and cut out the middleman."

That's exactly how I feel (none / 0) (#5)
by twodot72 on Sat Dec 15th, 2001 at 06:32:04 AM PST
One would think that, at some point, they'd stop sending me new letters if I don't contribute any more money. Preferrably before they spent more than I gave them. But no, if you're in the donor register, they'll pepper you with all sorts of crap like there's no tomorrow...

Is there a way (none / 0) (#6)
by hauntedattics on Sat Dec 15th, 2001 at 03:35:02 PM PST
to specify to the charity that you will never donate to them again if you receive more than X number of mailings a year? Or if they sell your name to some other charity? Maybe that only works if your donation is over 4 figures...

Yes (none / 0) (#8)
by twodot72 on Sat Dec 15th, 2001 at 07:52:11 PM PST
That would be useful. Maybe you could fill in a small donors form with every check you send them. So, for example, it could have some checkboxes like:

[ ] Use the money to help the poor and suffering
[ ] Use the money to fill your mailbox with useless crap

Given that kind of choice, I figure soon enough we will not only actually be able to help the poor and suffering, but we will also save the rainforests in the process :-)


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