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The Charity Industrial Complex

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  • The Charity Industrial Complex

    It's spring so around here so it's time for the United Way fund raising drive at work. I used to give but stopped several years ago. Certainly, the pressure to give has dropped.

    I think part of my problem is how much of an industry charitable giving has become. I think I first noticed it when the Wounded Warrior scandal broke a few years ago. Then, of course, all the BLM scandals didn't help. Now I see the ads for WWF, United Way, HSUS, Tunnels to Towers, etc. I just don't want to get involved with them. I'm sure they do good things, but it looks too industrial for my taste.

    My wife and I talked about this a couple years ago and decided to only support local charities. Right now, that's our church, the local rescue mission, and a local pet rescue organization. Yes, I know there's still a chance of misuse of funds and a bureaucracy, but it feels better.

    Have your views of charitable giving changed over the past few years. Do you think the increasing consolidation of industries will spread into the charity world and we'll be left with a few mega-charities?

    Another thought: since companies are getting more socially active and emphasizing their community involvement do you think that companies will increase the pressure on employees to give or volunteer for company approved charities?
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

  • #2
    Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
    It's spring so around here so it's time for the United Way fund raising drive at work. I used to give but stopped several years ago. Certainly, the pressure to give has dropped.

    I think part of my problem is how much of an industry charitable giving has become. I think I first noticed it when the Wounded Warrior scandal broke a few years ago. Then, of course, all the BLM scandals didn't help. Now I see the ads for WWF, United Way, HSUS, Tunnels to Towers, etc. I just don't want to get involved with them. I'm sure they do good things, but it looks too industrial for my taste.

    My wife and I talked about this a couple years ago and decided to only support local charities. Right now, that's our church, the local rescue mission, and a local pet rescue organization. Yes, I know there's still a chance of misuse of funds and a bureaucracy, but it feels better.

    Have your views of charitable giving changed over the past few years. Do you think the increasing consolidation of industries will spread into the charity world and we'll be left with a few mega-charities?

    Another thought: since companies are getting more socially active and emphasizing their community involvement do you think that companies will increase the pressure on employees to give or volunteer for company approved charities?
    Over the last decade I've found myself leaning more toward direct donating of time and labor to very local charities, as opposed to donating money to charities that may or may not go toward something useful
    "So when you actually get the virus, you're going to start producing antibodies against multiple pieces of the virus. So, your antibodies are probably better at that point than the vaccination."
    - Pfizer Scientist Chris Croce

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Gondwanaland View Post

      Over the last decade I've found myself leaning more toward direct donating of time and labor to very local charities, as opposed to donating money to charities that may or may not go toward something useful
      You're right. Time and labor are harder to misuse than money.
      "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

      "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
        It's spring so around here so it's time for the United Way fund raising drive at work. I used to give but stopped several years ago. Certainly, the pressure to give has dropped.

        I think part of my problem is how much of an industry charitable giving has become. I think I first noticed it when the Wounded Warrior scandal broke a few years ago. Then, of course, all the BLM scandals didn't help. Now I see the ads for WWF, United Way, HSUS, Tunnels to Towers, etc. I just don't want to get involved with them. I'm sure they do good things, but it looks too industrial for my taste.

        My wife and I talked about this a couple years ago and decided to only support local charities. Right now, that's our church, the local rescue mission, and a local pet rescue organization. Yes, I know there's still a chance of misuse of funds and a bureaucracy, but it feels better.

        Have your views of charitable giving changed over the past few years. Do you think the increasing consolidation of industries will spread into the charity world and we'll be left with a few mega-charities?

        Another thought: since companies are getting more socially active and emphasizing their community involvement do you think that companies will increase the pressure on employees to give or volunteer for company approved charities?
        I know about the BLM scandals but don't know much about the others. What is the problem main - is it outsized salaries, pensions, or lavish offices? General bad accounting or outright embezzlement?

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        • #5
          I never could stand United Way. They would come to whatever company I was working for, give a boring presentation, then ask "How much of your paycheck would you like to set aside?" Extortion. It was done in such a way as to shame you for not giving.

          They have reduced their overhead since the old days but I still dislike the distribution. More than 7X the amount of money it receives inside the U.S. goes outside the U.S. And when I worked as a fund developer at a food bank, the UA was useless.

          $1.00: Revenue

          -$0.26: Compensation, employee benefits, etc

          -$0.09: Consultants

          -$0.05: Travel, conferences, conventions, speaker, etc.

          -$0.05: Office expense, IT, temp staff, legal, accounting, etc.

          -$0.03: Miscellaneous Expenses

          -$0.48: Subtotal Functional Expenses

          $0.52: Amount Remaining to give to organizations

          -$0.37: Provided to organizations outside the US

          -$0.05: Provided to organizations within the US

          $0.10: Amount remaining (kept in the organization)

          "You should just assume going forward that if I am ever wrong it is a typo" - Backup
          "
          Reality simply does not change based upon consensus or desire." - rogue

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          • #6
            Same here about the United Way. I used to give at work mostly because they gave us an extra day of vacation if we gave $10/month. The nice thing was you could determine where your money went (which sub charity category) so you could avoid the obvious liberal stuff like Planned Parenthood type stuff. But I haven't done it in a few years now.

            I am always suspicious of charities since as you mention there have been so many scandals. And many are so obviously phony. One that comes to mind are those commercials for the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews that makes those commercials of old starving Jews in europe. Recently I have seen a commercial from them saying how they are rescuing all these Jews in Ukraine and need planes full of supplies to send. There are not that many Jews in Ukraine, I am sorry. The whole charity seems to play on a guilt trip. And as far as I know, Jews in europe are not any worse off than any other ethnic group. They are not living in squalor like the commercials show.

            What happened with Wounded Warriors? I never knew they were corrupt.

            If I do give to a charity I used to look them up on https://www.charitynavigator.org but they give both International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and Wounded Warriors high ratings. So I am not sure I can trust them now.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by alaskazimm View Post

              I know about the BLM scandals but don't know much about the others. What is the problem main - is it outsized salaries, pensions, or lavish offices? General bad accounting or outright embezzlement?
              As I recall, Wounded Warrior was lavish offices and a really lavish staff retreat. I think the cost for the later exceeded a million dollars. I think that's why you barely see their ads anymore and now its Disabled American Vets and couple others I can't remember right now.

              Don't recall hearing any bad accounting or embezzlement in any of the national organizations. I'll bet it's out there somewhere. Locally we just had a couple embezzlement convictions from the leaders of a local non-profit. As I think about it, Gondwanaland is on to something that's its better to give time and labor than money to the organizations you support.
              "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

              "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                Same here about the United Way. I used to give at work mostly because they gave us an extra day of vacation if we gave $10/month. The nice thing was you could determine where your money went (which sub charity category) so you could avoid the obvious liberal stuff like Planned Parenthood type stuff. But I haven't done it in a few years now.

                I am always suspicious of charities since as you mention there have been so many scandals. And many are so obviously phony. One that comes to mind are those commercials for the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews that makes those commercials of old starving Jews in europe. Recently I have seen a commercial from them saying how they are rescuing all these Jews in Ukraine and need planes full of supplies to send. There are not that many Jews in Ukraine, I am sorry. The whole charity seems to play on a guilt trip. And as far as I know, Jews in europe are not any worse off than any other ethnic group. They are not living in squalor like the commercials show.

                What happened with Wounded Warriors? I never knew they were corrupt.

                If I do give to a charity I used to look them up on https://www.charitynavigator.org but they give both International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and Wounded Warriors high ratings. So I am not sure I can trust them now.
                Here's a link about the Wounded Warrior Scandal. https://www.foxnews.com/us/wounded-w...ending-scandal I had forgotten that the CEO and COO were both fired as a result of lavish spending. At the time, only 60% of the donations went to help veterans.

                Back when I gave to United Way, I did the targeted giving as well.
                "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is disconcerting:

                  https://www.charitywatch.org/top-charity-salaries

                  Top Charity Compensation packages for CEOs.

                  I am pretty shocked that they are paying CEOs this much in any charity.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                    This is disconcerting:

                    https://www.charitywatch.org/top-charity-salaries

                    Top Charity Compensation packages for CEOs.

                    I am pretty shocked that they are paying CEOs this much in any charity.
                    Agreed. I also noticed how many of the charities are medical related.

                    Like I said, charities have become an industry.
                    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                    "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post

                      Agreed. I also noticed how many of the charities are medical related.

                      Like I said, charities have become an industry.
                      One of the charities I still liked was St Jude's children hospital. They don't charge their patients anything and seem to genuinely want to help children. But the salary of their CEO makes me hesitate in donating to them.
                      James R. Downing
                      President/CEO
                      St. Jude Children's Research Hospital $1,904,885
                      Nobody at a charity should be paid $2 Million. That's disgusting.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                        One of the charities I still liked was St Jude's children hospital. They don't charge their patients anything and seem to genuinely want to help children. But the salary of their CEO makes me hesitate in donating to them.
                        James R. Downing
                        President/CEO
                        St. Jude Children's Research Hospital $1,904,885
                        Nobody at a charity should be paid $2 Million. That's disgusting.
                        Yes. I expect the staff at charities to be doing it for the cause not their own enrichment. $2M? No way. I also check charities online and the executive salaries are the first thing I look at.

                        I also remember the United Way thing. I came from England on a contract in the early 80s and was shocked to see how it was handled where I worked. Guilt? Out and out threats. One lady on on the permanent staff told me that she had been called into her manager's office and told that if she didn't contribute 2% of her salary she could forget any advancement in the future. I wondered why the company cared about it, then realized that it was PR. They could say "see how much our people give to charity". Do I need to say how much I gave? Zero.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Alien View Post

                          Yes. I expect the staff at charities to be doing it for the cause not their own enrichment. $2M? No way. I also check charities online and the executive salaries are the first thing I look at.

                          I also remember the United Way thing. I came from England on a contract in the early 80s and was shocked to see how it was handled where I worked. Guilt? Out and out threats. One lady on on the permanent staff told me that she had been called into her manager's office and told that if she didn't contribute 2% of her salary she could forget any advancement in the future. I wondered why the company cared about it, then realized that it was PR. They could say "see how much our people give to charity". Do I need to say how much I gave? Zero.
                          Way back in the early 90's, I had someone tell me a similar story. I did notice over time since then, the pressure to give did diminish.
                          "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                          "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Alien View Post

                            Yes. I expect the staff at charities to be doing it for the cause not their own enrichment. $2M? No way. I also check charities online and the executive salaries are the first thing I look at.

                            I also remember the United Way thing. I came from England on a contract in the early 80s and was shocked to see how it was handled where I worked. Guilt? Out and out threats. One lady on on the permanent staff told me that she had been called into her manager's office and told that if she didn't contribute 2% of her salary she could forget any advancement in the future. I wondered why the company cared about it, then realized that it was PR. They could say "see how much our people give to charity". Do I need to say how much I gave? Zero.
                            Yeah the company does it for bragging rights. Our company doesn't pressure us, but tries to bribe us to give, by offering prize drawings for those who sign up to give monthly and giving an extra vacation day per year if you give for 12 months.

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