In this the hap-hap-happiest time of the year come all sorts of giving opportunities.
If your snail mail mailbox looks anything like mine, envelopes filled with letters and pens, bags and stickers, and cards and calendars have been rolling in since late October, early November. While I’m a fan of giving, I like knowing how my donated dollars are used preferring that they are spent on the actual mission of the charity rather than excessive administrative costs.
On that last point, CharityNavigator.org is packed with information about charitable giving. They’ve even got Top Ten Lists.
Just for the heck of it, I clicked on their Top Ten List of the“10 Highest Paid CEOs of Low-Rated Charities” and surprise surprise: The top salary listed was $417,500 and paid to the CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Yikes. The lowest: $205,168 for the CEO of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund.
Yes, all non-profits have administrative costs but making sure those costs aren’t eating up a large portion of the dollars donated is important to any charity that wishes to maintain a sound reputation.
Lovetoknow.com posted a piece,”What percentage of Donations go to Charity”. The answer, (based on info from Charitynavigator.org), stated that if a non-profit is “spending more than 33.3 percent of their total budget on overhead, the organization is simply not meeting its mission.”
Personally, I’d like to see a greater percentage of a dollar donated going directly to the charity’s cause and/or mission. But that’s just me.
According to Lovetoknow.com, the American Red Cross keeps its administrative expenses under 5 percent of their total overhead and spends 92 percent of their income on programs that benefit the community. A few other charities that spend 90 percent or more of the money donated that actually gets spent on their mission include the Greater Chicago Food Depository; Oregon Food Bank; The Conservation Fund; Give Kids the World; Save the Children; and UNICEF.
Additionally, 86 to 89 cents of every dollar given to Doctors Without Borders goes to supporting their mission.
Donating time and money to grass roots local charities can also be hugely rewarding. Lake Worth-based Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, forgottensoldiers.org, is one worth learning more about.
In the end, whether you’re donating $1 or $1,000,000, their is a joy to giving that’s both seen and unseen for all involved.
To learn more about charitable giving organizations, established watchdog groups include CharityNavigator.org; CharityWatch.org, this site provides a brief overview of the charity but requires a membership fee for more in depth info; GuideStar.org; and GiveWell.org.