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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Received from an email:
Donating - Interesting, ever wonder where that donation money goes?

Keep these facts in mind when "donating". As you open your pockets for yet another natural disaster, keep the following facts in mind; we have listed them from the highest (worse paid offender) to the lowest (least paid offender).

The worst offender was yet again for the 11th year in a row is, UNICEF - CEO, receives $1,200,000 per year, (plus use of a Royal Royce for his exclusive use where ever he goes, and an expense account that is rumored to be well over $150,000.) Only pennies from the actual donations goes to the UNICEF cause (less than $0.14 per dollar of income).

The second worst offender this year is Marsha J. Evans, president and CEO of the American Red Cross...for her salary for the year ending in 2009 was $651,957 plus expenses. Enjoys 6 weeks - fully paid holidays including all related expenses during the holiday trip for her and her husband and kids. including 100% fully paid health & dental plan for her and her family, for life. This means out of every dollar they bring in, about $0.39 goes to related charity causes.

The third worst offender was again for the 7th time was, Brian Gallagher, President of the United Way receives a 375,000 base salary (U.S. funds), plus so many numerous expense benefits it's hard to keep track as to what it is all worth, including a fully paid lifetime membership for 2 golf courses (1 in Canada, and 1 in the U.S.A.), 2 luxury vehicles, a yacht club membership, 3 major company gold credit cards for his personal expenses...and so on. This equates to about $0.51 per dollar of income goes to charity causes.

Of the sixty some odd "charities" we looked at, the lowest paid (President/C.E.O/Commissioner) was heading up a charity group right here in Canada. We found, believe it or not, it was......
none other than...

The Salvation Army's Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a salary of only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 Billion dollar organization. Which means about $0.93 per dollar earned, is readily available and goes back out to local charity causes...truly amazing...and well done "Sally Anne".
However here is what Urban Legends says about it:
http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_charities_salaries.htm
so it appears to be inaccurate.

Beware anyone who says they will give you a receipt for more than you donate! And always check emails before posting/propagating them! My apologies.
 

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This is what drives me more toward things like Kiva. It seems like a very efficient charity in terms of how much good it can do per dollar of donation.
 

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I am pretty sure the salaries of UNICEF employees, including the executive director, are paid for by UN dues from member countries, not from individual donations. It's also possible that the leaders of these other charities listed have their salaries paid through endowments.

I really don't think the salary of a charity's leader has any bearing on the charity's effectiveness or the proportion of your donation that goes to overhead versus direct aid. I remember seeing an independent rating of various charities that was developed through a much more rigorous process and criteria; I'll see if I can find it and post a link here.

Edited to add link:

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4617

This is for the US -- but note that when you donate money to UNICEF you're actually giving money to one of UNICEF's national committees. UNICEF in this case comes out with a 4-star rating in terms of donation effectiveness, with only 2.5% of the budget going for administration and 91.8% going directly to programs.
 

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Thanks for that, Brad; UNICEF is one of my regular charity recipients and when I last checked on the effectiveness of my donations, it was very high.
 

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It is indeed high, although it's also worth noting that the 91.8% of your donation that goes to "programs" also includes their fundraising efforts in addition to direct assistance in developing countries, but to be honest I don't mind supporting their fundraising -- after all, they can't simply sit on their hands and hope that people will donate money to them. In the charity business you have to spend money to make money, and I'm okay with that.

Charity Navigator gives UNICEF its top rating for donation effectiveness, so you can probably feel comfortable donating to them. When I was a journalist I spent a lot of time covering international negotations at the United Nations in New York and Geneva, and while I certainly saw evidence of a bloated UN bureaucracy, I also saw plenty of evidence of effectiveness, commitment, and sacrifice on the part of UN employees and programs.
 

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OP appear to be quoting from this blog posting[1], which in turn is commenting on a study on CEO compensation for charitable organizations.[2]

[1] http://lockdoc1.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/charities-that-thank-you-for-your-donation/

[2] http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=studies.ceo
The blog post isn't citing salaries from the Charity Navigator report, however, as those are much lower. For example, for international aid organizations, the highest reported CEO salary is for the Foreign Policy Association, at $683K. UNICEF's CEO in the US makes about $430K. Not sure where they got the $1,200,000 per year figure, unless that's the CEO of UNICEF HQ, whose salary is paid from member country dues, not personal donations.
 

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Royal Royce for his exclusive use where ever he goes

two things that set off the b/s detector for me:

no such car (The company is, or was called Rolls-Royce)
"exclusive use"? as opposed to the driver picking up random hitchhikers?
 

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This is what drives me more toward things like Kiva. It seems like a very efficient charity in terms of how much good it can do per dollar of donation.
@andrewf: I've been looking into Kiva.org as well. But it bothers me that some of kiva's partners (aka Microfinance Institutions) are profit seeking entities that charge upwards of 80% interest rates. I'll do more research.

EDIT: I also just found out that Paypal will charge their usual foreign currency exchange from CAD to USD. I think it's 2.5% currently.
 

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You can always look up the charity's financial information from the CRA site.
Charities Listing

Here's one for UNICEF Canada
Financial 2009
Compensation
Based on this, it looks like the CEO of UNICEF Canada makes less than $200K per year. They show one person making between 160,000 - $199,999 and nobody higher than that.

If I'm reading the return correctly, it looks like they spent $54.8 million on charitable programs, and $3.2 million on management/administration. They did spend $10.4 million on fundraising.
 

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I don't like most organised charities , and I do not donate , screw em.

That said , I would do anything to help a friend , neighbor , or relative , (even a little iffy on the relatives:D)

Being a business owner , I often hire people who I know need work , whether I need help or not , and I pay well , that's my form of giving.
 

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The poorest Canadians are rich beyond the wildest dreams of millions of people in developing countries, so while I do contribute to local and Canada-wide charities I usually give more to organizations that work in the developing world. And it's really hard to do direct giving in the third world when you live in the first. I've done it, and it took an incredible amount of my time and energy. I just don't have time to do that on a regular basis, so it's easier for me to support organizations that work in those countries. I know that some of my donation goes to administration and overhead, but having worked for nonprofits most of my life, I understand that this is unavoidable. But by doing a little research you can identify the charities that are efficient with their overhead and devote a greater share of their budget to direct aid.
 

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I really don't think the salary of a charity's leader has any bearing on the charity's effectiveness or the proportion of your donation that goes to overhead versus direct aid.
This is where questions have to be asked. I know of several where the leader's salary and the entire paid staff, are coming directly out of donations. Others are out of endowments, investments or any combination there of.

I've also seen where the donation I send is 87% effective but if I respond to the fundraising company, the fine print indicates that using this channel is giving the fundraising company 40% of my donation.


Like so many other things - it's buyer beware!
 

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..., but to be honest I don't mind supporting their fundraising -- after all, they can't simply sit on their hands and hope that people will donate money to them. In the charity business you have to spend money to make money, and I'm okay with that.
They have to get their message out where promotion may not be their forte. The key question is at what cost? Most people I know aren't too happy if the fine print is saying "we keep 75% and the charity gets 25%".
 

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I have become very leery of giving to charities in developing countries after reading several articles over the last few years saying that large amounts of money donated to charitable groups in those countries end up in the Swiss bank accounts of their government officials. I continue to contribute to Doctors Without Borders because I believe that they spend their donations directly on their programmes, but I'm very hesitant to give to many others, even including the Red Cross. I sent a donation to the Red Cross at the time of the huge tsunami in Asia a few years ago, and I read in the newspaper recently that most of that money is still sitting in the Red Cross's bank accounts.

At the time of the Haiti earthquake, I sent my donation to Doctors Without Borders, and I feel reasonably good about that choice. But the newspapers here ran a story during that crisis saying that the Haitian president was demanding that donations be send directly to the government of Haiti rather than individual charities, and I thought, "Oh yes, certainly ... people are supposed to send charitable dollars directly to a government with one of the worst reputations for corruption anywhere in the world - not likely!" And, in spite of the almost unprecented donations sent to various charitable organizations in Haiti at that time, there seems to have been very little progress made in housing the homeless.

I tend to make more of my donations closer to home these days, often to friends who are going through difficult times. For example, I recently wrote a cheque for $2000 to an 80-year-old friend whose very old car had given up the ghost. Another friend had given her an old car of hers, but my friend's long-time trusted mechanic told her that, although it was worth fixing, it needed $2000 worth of work on it. She was upset because she didn't have $2000 and had no way of getting it, so I wrote her a cheque for that amount. I realize that many people would consider that her need wasn't as great as many people in developing countries, but at least I knew where my money went, and I truly don't know who felt better about it - my friend or me. There are many ways of helping other people; we don't all have to do it the same way, and I'm comfortable with my way.
 

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Many corporate charities have their operations funded entirely by their sponsoring company, so that 100% of donations are used for the stated cause.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
This is where questions have to be asked. I know of several where the leader's salary and the entire paid staff, are coming directly out of donations. Others are out of endowments, investments or any combination there of.

I've also seen where the donation I send is 87% effective but if I respond to the fundraising company, the fine print indicates that using this channel is giving the fundraising company 40% of my donation.


Like so many other things - it's buyer beware!
Many corporate charities have their operations funded entirely by their sponsoring company, so that 100% of donations are used for the stated cause.
I think there are so many ways of accounting for overhead that the only valid comparison is the salaries they draw. After all, an endowment is meant to give money to charity not to administration. Same with corporate sponsorships. It is indeed murky because the charities don't like reporting contributions spent on marketing and administration. We all know that those are real costs but cannot get straight answers.

I have also looked at kiva.org and the MicroFinance institutions do claim a big chunk because it costs a lot to administer small loans. And there were some bad situations where they were soliciting money for a given cause but that cause was already funded.
 
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