It seems like every day that I go to the mailbox and I receive another letter filled with items that have my name on. For example, a letter from a boy’s home that had 40 preaddresses tabs with my name and address on them. On the same day I got a letter from a cancer center with a calendar in it. I did not ask for these items but it is a common practice for agencies to send something to anyone on the list of names that they have received in hopes that the person will send them money for their program.
It seems like that every day, whether through the mail or on the television or in an e-mail, there is some good cause program requesting me to send them money. It irritates me that these programs try to guilt me into sending the money. They send me a calendar that looks nice and then they asked for money. There are literally hundreds of programs that use this kind of marketing to get funding. In my younger days I would send the money to the programs thinking that all the money that I sent actually went to the program’s core reason for existing. For example, if I sent money to a breast cancer program I expected all the money to go to the researcher of fighting cancer. If I sent money to a boy’s home I expected all the money to be spent on providing a home for the boys.
As I got older and was invited to sit on the board of directors for some programs, I found that a lot of the funding went to cover the operational cost of the program. The operational costs of the program included the salaries for the executives and personnel who ran the program. I was somewhat surprised by the amount of money that the top executives were getting for these programs. I was somewhat confused because I took the term of “nonprofit organization” to mean that the people running the program were volunteers or work for a very minimal price. But like the Coleman cancer organization, I came to find out that the top executives make a huge salary. I took myself off the Board of Directors of two organizations because I could not justify it paying the executive of the program such a huge salary.
Since that time, if I send money to a program, I research that program and its formula for were the funding goes. There are programs like Doctors Without Borders where most of the personnel are volunteers and large portion of the funds received go to the care of the people that the organization sees.
I even found that the United Way program would demand that all other programs that wish to receive their funding had to stop raising funds for themselves during the fundraising time for the United Way. I talked to the head of a small medical clinic in one of the poorer parts of the Houston area who felt like United Way was bullying him. His clinic was severely handicap by the United Way’s demand of am not raising funds during their campaign. If his clinic was to be on the list of programs at the United Way would fund, he had to suspend fundraising during their fundraising time.
The more I look into the world the fundraising I found that a nonprofit organization can be a great place to work and make a great salary if you join the right organization. I know that all agencies claim to be working on important causes. And I know that some of the funding that goes those organizations goes to those who need it. But I think there should be better oversight of how those nonprofits are run.
I do not want to be the Grinch who stole Christmas nor do I want to be Scrooge. But like many middle-class citizens I want to make sure that if I give money to a program that it goes to the goals of the program not to the program CEO or executive staff.
Because the world is a smaller place and every day there are some pleas from some organization or program for money. The Red Cross is a first-class organization that I believe deserves funding.
It is my thought that if you are going to send some funds to a program it should be for human beings not animals. If you are unfortunate enough to be off on any afternoon and you’re watching the television you will see many commercials for organizations requesting funds from you. These messages try to pull on your heartstrings by showing the photo of a small child who looks like they have any for days. Then there’s the commercials were there is a photo of an anemic looking dog or cat requesting funds from you. There are organizations dedicated to fighting cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and hunger; all fighting the good fight for a good cause and requesting you to send the money. While I feel if you have the money and the cause touches your heart, you should send that organization your money. But it would be my hope that you help the programs that touch human beings lives.
I wish I could tell the organizations that keep asking me for money why I cannot support their cause. Not because the cause is not worthy or that I do not feel some compassion for their cause. I like many middle-class Americans have very limited funds. I believe that my first charge should be to support my immediate family. I’ve tried to contact one these organizations and asked him to quit sending me fund request in the mail. I was told that that practice would stop for that organization. But it appears to me that my name went back on another mailing list and once again I’m receiving funding request. I know that there are companies out there who work hard to get a long list of names so they can sell those names to an organization or company and hope it they will raise funds from contacting the people on the list.
I’ve come to believe that many of these organizations or programs are more interested in funding the salaries of their staff and their CEOs than they are actually providing funding for their stated cause. The term not-for-profit business does not equal that business being an honest or good program.
So my thought for this blog is to ask you to investigate the programs that you decide to send funds to. Look at where the money goes. Does 90% of the funding go to the stated program or does 60% of the funds raised go to the operation of the program? Are the executive Directors and CEOs making six figures incomes with bonuses? Make sure that the title of the organization or program actually represents what the money goes to. With Christmas coming up I expect a landslide of request for funds. I imagine you’ll receive the same large amount request. Investigate what you’re sending your money. Send the money to the programs that will use the money for their stated cause, like fighting cancer.