Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

The 10 Worst Charities to Donate to if you actually want your money to go to charity....

Posted by on Jun. 13, 2013 at 7:12 PM
  • 26 Replies

This made me sad when I read it, because I've donated to one of these charities on the list. I quit donating a few years ago when they pressured me to donate $250 even though I told them my DH was out of work and I was unable. I got kinda peeved with them after that. Now I know that they aren't a good charity. Wish I had known that before. 

The 10 worst charities

An analysis by the Center for Investigative Reporting and a newspaper identifies organizations that fattened solicitors' wallets.

By Mitch Lipka 3 hours ago


Image: Business man with open hand out © Le Club Symphonie, Cultura, Getty ImagesWhen you give money to charity, it's reasonable to expect the money will go to, well, the charity. But there's an entire industry of "charities" that are masterful at raising money that overwhelmingly goes to the paid companies that do the fundraising.

The Center for Investigative Reporting and the St. Petersburg, Fla., Tampa Bay Times examined the tax records of 6,000 charities that used paid fundraisers and identified the 50 worst in America. None of the 50, which, combined, paid solicitors nearly $1 billion of $1.3 billion raised over the past decade, gave more than 11 cents on the dollar to those who were supposed to benefit, the investigation found.

In some cases, such as with the Cancer Fund of America, if you donated $20, less than 20 cents of your contribution actually went the organization's cause. Among the 50 worst charities, the average amount that went to the cause itself was about 4 cents of every dollar donated.

Some of these charities have been flagged before -- an indication that even after word has gotten out about how they do business, many consumers aren't aware that practically none of their donation is being used in a charitable way.

Typically, charity rating organizations want to see fundraising costs no higher than 35%, and many major charities are far below that. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Make-A-Wish Foundation of America spent 19% and 15%, respectively, on fundraising, according to data published by the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance.

Many of the charities that poured money from donors into the bank accounts of for-profit solicitation companies have names that sound similar to respected national charities and typically have easy-to-support causes as part of their names, including "breast cancer," "firefighters" and "children's cancer."

Here are the 10 worst charities in America from the list compiled by the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Tampa Bay Times, along with the percentage of money raised that went to the supposed cause:

  1. Kids Wish Network (2.5%)
  2. Cancer Fund of America (0.9%)
  3. Children's Wish Foundation International (10.8%)
  4. American Breast Cancer Foundation (5.3%)
  5. Firefighters Charitable Foundation (8.4%)
  6. Breast Cancer Relief Foundation (2.2%)
  7. International Union of Police Associations (0.5%)
  8. National Veterans Service Fund (7.8%)
  9. American Association of State Troopers (8.6%)
  10. Children's Cancer Fund of America (5.3%)
The charities were ranked based on how much money they spent on solicitors. Kids Wish Network paid about $110 million of $128 million raised to fundraisers, the report said.

Groups like these tend to rely on telephone solicitations to collect donations. Some are little more than fronts for the companies that raise the money. Every time a consumer makes a donation to the "charity," the bulk of it stays with the company that made the pitch.

Here are some tips to avoid donating to for-profit telephone solicitation operation when your intention was to support charity:
  • Don't make a donation on a call from a fundraiser. A legitimate charity will be more than happy to accept a donation on your time frame through a means you feel comfortable with, whether it's by mailing a check or using a credit card online.
  • If you're interested in a charity, take the time to find out how it plans to spend donated money.
  • Research the charity before you donate, using charity evaluation sites including GuideStar, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator.
  • Use the Internet to see what other people have said about the charity.
by on Jun. 13, 2013 at 7:12 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
by Ruby Member on Jun. 13, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Thankfully I have never given to any of these groups.  I would always get calls from the Firefighters Charitable Foundation.  I always told them we give to our local fire department's benevolent fund.

by Platinum Member on Jun. 13, 2013 at 7:22 PM
Why are 3 out of those 10 charities for kids? How sad!
by Ruby Member on Jun. 14, 2013 at 2:34 AM

I have never given to any of those groups, thank goodness.

by Platinum Member on Jun. 14, 2013 at 3:25 AM
3 moms liked this

 If you want your money to go to pediatric heart research, cystic fibrosis, cancer, find the childrens hospital that specializes in research, or new techniques. Google the address and send the check. Specify where you want your money to go and be done. Don't go through charities. 

by Bronze Member on Jun. 14, 2013 at 3:49 AM

 I've never given to any of these.  Thank you for passing this info on. 

by on Jun. 14, 2013 at 3:53 AM
I never donated to any of these but I have been the person who has to get donations it sucks
by Emerald Member on Jun. 14, 2013 at 6:07 AM

I keep getting a call from some state police scam that always asks "is Norman there?" Then when told they have the wrong number, they say "oh well we are calling for support...The second time I got it I went a bit off on them.  The third time I really went off on it for their poor attempt at a con.

by Platinum Member on Jun. 14, 2013 at 7:35 AM

That report is giving them low ratings because they aren't giving direct cash aid AND because of what they spent on fund raising. The fact that they aren't giving cash aid is irrelevant. I work in child abuse prevention at a multi million dollar agency and we don't give money out...we provide services.

The problem is that they are spending so much on fund raising. Your first big event shouldn't cost more than 60% of what you expect to earn but after that it should linger around 20%.

by Ruby Member on Jun. 14, 2013 at 7:54 AM
I check out that charity ranking website before donating it is a good resource. Also it is always good to give local!.
by Silver Member on Jun. 14, 2013 at 8:07 AM
5 moms liked this

 PLEASE don't confuse these:

                        Kids Wish Network (2.5%)

                 Children's Wish Foundation International (10.8%)

with the Make a Wish Foundation which is an awesome support for kids with life saving diseases. My parents donated to the Children's Wish Foundation International because they thought it was "Make a Wish". Make a Wish Foundation sent my family to Boston where we got to see a Boston Celtics game and my son got to meet his favorite player. They put us up in a 5 star hotel and gave us a check for $1500 for food and souvenirs.  Approximately 90% of donations go directly to granting the wishes. It makes me crazy to see groups who take a name that is close to the original charity and then abuse the trust placed in them, the end result is that people may not know which is the responsible charity and which is the rip off!

    Add your quick reply below:
    You must be a member to reply to this post.
    Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
    Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

    (minimum 6 characters)