“Would you like to round out your purchase and donate the change to a good cause?” How many times have you been asked that question at supermarket or department store? Or better yet, how many times have you said “yes”? Paying it forward in any shape or form always makes us feel good, morally, and monetary donations are the most popular, yet they’re the most lazy/meaningless way to do so. Nevertheless, most of us would like to believe that, when we donate, the bulk of our money is actually going to the people it is meant to go to and really helping them in a significant way. But, sadly, that doesn’t quite happen.
In fact, in some instances, less than 1 percent of every dollar donated to these charities ends up in the hands of those in need. “What’s up with that?” you may ask. Well, it’s quite simple; the majority of the charities and nonprofit organizations employ for-profit companies to raise money for them, and as employees, they must get a piece of the pie. As a matter of fact, they receive the biggest slice of the pie, in some cases collecting more than 50 percent of donations. Moreover, various charities end up disbursing their employees enormous “salaries” that are superior to the total amount of money that theoretically had to be delivered to the needy. In other words, these so called “good Samaritans” are spending the means donated by us, the American citizens who work really hard to make the money that is being used to fund their lavish lifestyle.
Back in May, an outburst of alleged accusations against four charity shams made by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) exposed their real “mission”, which did not involve giving back in any way. The charities accused of swindling donators for more than $187 million and using the money for everything but assisting the ones in need are Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society. All four are linked to James Reynolds Sr. and family members.
According to The New York Times, Mark Hammond, secretary of state for South Carolina, said:
“Some charities use donations to send children with cancer to Disney World,” Hammond said. “In this case, the Children’s Cancer Fund of America used donations to send themselves to Disney World.”
It is a shame that people have the audacity to take advantage of other people’s misfortune, mislead contributors by naming the charities after illnesses or use children -only to make us feel empathy for them- and turn it into a lucrative business that would only benefit them.
Although these types of scams have been around for a while, they weren’t talked about as much as they are now. People kept donating without questioning where the final destination of the money was. Nobody seemed to be going after them or questioning their actions; in other words, it was easy to get away with murder. But now that the subject has blown out of proportion and we know the truth, we must take action.
So, next time you want to donate, think about the million other ways you, your family, and your friends can get together to lend a hand to the less fortunate. Donate something valuable, like your time. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to interact with others, learn about their issues, and get a closer look into the matter. However, if you are a busy gal/guy pal and can’t find some spare time to donate, make sure you carefully examine your options. After all, not all charities run the same way. Look for one that gives 75 percent of donations for direct aid. Feeding America, The Salvation Army, and The Red Cross are among the charities that Charity Watch recommends.
If you are looking into doing a good deed this Christmas and want to make sure that 100 percent of your contribution will go directly to the fundraiser, you can check out gofundme.com. Gofundme is a crowd-funding website that allows people to raise funds for life events ranging from happy situations such as celebrations and graduations to challenging circumstances like accidents and illnesses. There, you will have a vast variety of scenarios to choose from.
By Cynthia Paola Bautista