Holiday Scams: Research Charities Before Handing Over Your Cash

This is the time of year when scammers try to weasel nice people out of their cash by pretending to represent a charity. Don’t fall for it! When considering giving to a charity, take some time to do a little research. Here are few websites that will help you find a legit charity that will use your money for good — rather than evil. Or iPods.

  • Charity Navigator www.charitynavigator.org “Charity Navigator, America’s premier independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of over 5,300 of America’s largest charities.”

  • BBB Wise Giving Alliance www.BBB.org/charity “The BBB Wise Giving Alliance (the Alliance) helps donors make informed giving decisions and advances high standards of conduct among organizations that solicit contributions from the public.”

  • Guide Star www.guidestar.org “GuideStar’s mission is to revolutionize philanthropy and nonprofit practice by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving.”

…And just for good measure here are some tips from the Arizona Attorney General that will help you avoid scammers.

Here are our favorites:

  • Be wary of emotional appeals, especially those that insist that, due to an “emergency,” you must send money now.

  • Be careful of charities with names that sound impressive or resemble those of other organizations. Some scam artists use names similar to reputable organizations to confuse donors.
  • Call the charity directly; ask for financial accounting if you feel you need more information.
  • Remember to ask for a receipt and a statement that the contribution is tax-deductible.
  • Be extremely skeptical of anyone asking for a donation by requesting your credit-card number or bank account information over the phone.

Don’t be taken in by scams that target holiday giving [Arizona Daily Star]
(Photo: frankieleon )

Comments

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  1. Transuranic says:

    Instead of giving money to the Salvation Army bell-ringers, I’ll usually slip a piece of paper in there reading “when you stop discriminating against gays, you can have my spare change”.

    Give to your local AIDS charities instead. (But research them first, too.)

    • jaydez says:

      @Transuranic:

      I didn’t know they discriminate against gays. I guess I won’t be donating to them anymore and I’ll make sure my friends and family don’t either.

    • unobservant says:

      @Transuranic: That doesn’t surprise me. I would imagine that most Christian charities have a problem with “the gays.”

      I save my pennies for the Toronto Humane Society. Kitties and puppies FTW!

    • Nick1693 says:

      @Transuranic: Does anyone have a PDF with that printed on it?

    • vonvand says:

      @Transuranic: You misstate The Salvation Army’s position – it does not discriminate in the provision of services to gays.
      As a religious organization, it chooses not to endorse the ordination gays to the ministry.
      Salvation Army officers, if married, must both serve as officers. this is only a requirement for officers, who are ordained ministers, not for all “members.” The salary goes to the male officer as their are significant advantages at retirement due to the Social Security rules.
      The Salvation Army does a world of good in 117 countries.

  2. MercuryPDX says:

    Another good link? Snopes (Urban Legends):
    [www.snopes.com]

  3. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    @Transuranic: Oh wow, I was totally unaware of that. Well dang. Guess I’ll have to find a more open-minded Christian Organization to gift to my friends this year – any suggestions? (They’re christian and would probably appreciate me donating to a christian charity since I’m a heathen :P )

    • humphrmi says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: “open-minded Christian Organization”??? I’m not knocking Christians, this is probably true of other religious charities as well, but I thought that they were all pretty much of the same ilk as far as their level of tolerance.

      This page: [answers.yahoo.com] on Yahoo Answers includes a bunch of posts of non-religious charities; surely there must be one in there that your Christian friends would appreciate a donation on their behalf…

  4. TacoChuck says:

    I give to [kiva.org] which is a micro loan site for the developing world and [www.heifer.org] which buys animals for families. Both are designed to help people in ways that allow them to become more self sufficient.

    They both offer gift certificates which can make a neat gift.

    • picardia says:

      @TacoChuck: Heifer is the #1 charity I support. Great organization. I am planning on buying a water buffalo this year in the name of my entire family. We’ll see what they make of that Christmas morning. (They are getting other gifts too, though.)

    • Parting says:

      @TacoChuck: I don’t like the fact, that at Heifer, you cannot contribute money for some projects, unless you give at least XYZ amount. If I cannot afford minimum contribution, I cannot support the project at all. Not very charitable :(

  5. am84 says:

    Wait, so I shouldn’t have written that $10,000 check to The Human Fund?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ok, this is probably going to piss people off, but I’ll never understand why people get their panties in a wad over a groups beliefs. For the record, the salvation army is a church. If you don’t agree with that church’s beliefs, you aren’t required to support them, but please respect their right to their religious beliefs.

    The same thing really should apply to any organization, like the Boy Scouts. If you don’t agree with the Boy Scout’s beliefs then by all means, don’t join them. But this is the United States, and groups have the right to their beliefs (as do individuals). No person or group should be forced to do something that is contrary to their long-established beliefs or to change them because some other segment of the population disagrees, especially when they are based in their religion of choice.

    ::closes eyes and waits for the ad-hominem attacks::

    • MercuryPDX says:

      @CaptainCynic: I think the point is more that not many people KNOW that the Salvation Army is discriminatory in both their hiring practices and who they choose to give assistance to.

    • GuinevereRucker says:

      @CaptainCynic: Well said.

      Also, it’s important to differentiate between discrimination and the approval or condoning of actions. Being a Christian, I would give money to a gay person in need just like I would any poor or needy person. But that doesn’t mean I agree with the gay person about their choice of lifestyle.

      Although I haven’t done any research, I am relatively sure the Salvation Army would feel the same. I’m sure they would give money to anyone with a need. That doesn’t mean they have a moral obligation to let just anyone hold positions of authority or leadership in their organization.

    • oneandone says:

      @CaptainCynic: I didn’t notice any disrespect in the comments about the Salvation Army – just people saying pretty much what you’re saying: they disagree with what that group is doing, and would rather not support them. No one is forcing anyone to do anything.

    • kmw2 says:

      @CaptainCynic: They have the right to all the religious beliefs they like. What they don’t have the right to is any of my money.

  7. tande04 says:

    @Transuranic: Thanks for the info! Guess I’ll just save my spare change on the way out of the store now.

  8. oneandone says:

    I’m a fan of Charity Navigator. The interface is remarkably clear and I enjoy the pie charts.

    Personally, I’ve been completely turned off to Save the Children and CARE – I think their overhead is too bloated and couldn’t shake the icky feeling I got after learning about how they (and some other organizations) inflate refugee numbers and manipulate local poltical situtations, sometimes inadvertantly, but often with terrible consequences. Recommended: The Road To Hell, by Michael Maren. It’s about aid to Somalia in the 1990s. [www.fpa.org]

    • kimdog says:

      @oneandone: I think Doctors Without Borders is the best charity for international relief. They actually stopped taking money during after the tsunami because they knew they couldn’t use it all… and they won the Nobel Peace prize.

  9. kittenfoo says:

    I escape the holiday charity guilt altogether by spreading out my charitable contributions over the year. I’m living under the poverty line, actually, but sending a few dollars a month to my favorite charities (Humane Society of the U.S. and ASPCA) I can help out more than I could otherwise. Plus, I figure with myself and everyone else suffering in this economy, it’s more important than ever to share what you can.

    • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

      @kittenfoo: I too, spread my donations out over the year instead of giving just at Christmas. My “pet charity” is the local battered women’s shelter – not only do I donate money, but I LOVE going to garage sales/flea markets, and keep my eyes peeled for good quality children’s clothing for the shelter. This summer I scored four unopened boxes of newborn Pampers diapers for $20 (less than the cost of ONE in the store) and brought them to the shelter. They were so thankful! It warms the heart knowing they will be put to GOOD use instead of just a fraction going to help people while the rest goes for “administration fees” like so many other charities.

    • trk182 says:

      @kittenfoo: “I escape the holiday charity guilt altogether”

      Me too, I don’t give anything to charity and I sleep just fine at night.

  10. bologna_wallet says:

    @Nick1693:
    It’s on their website. Plus, I had a friend who worked as an external auditor for them. She had numerous stories about how messed up they are. For an example, a male Salvation Army member must marry a female member. And when they are married, both memebr’s pay go to the male!

  11. Nick1693 says:

    @bologna_wallet: That’s screwed up.

  12. bohemian says:

    The Salvation Army thing has been pretty well known for years. They don’t just discriminate in hiring, they discriminate in giving out charity based on sexual orientation. That puts them at the top of my blacklist.

    The SA bellringers used to be everywhere. All the grocery stores, Walmart, Target and the mall. The only ones I have seen this year is at Macy’s. I’m not sure if they are scaling back or if retailers realized they annoy people and might drive down sales. I purposely avoided the stores that had bell ringers in the past because I find the noise annoying.

    The best rule of thumb on giving is never give unless you initiated it. That solves most of the scam situations.

    • Parting says:

      @bohemian: I don’t remember ever seeing SA bell-ringer in Canada… We do have SA stores. And SA mostly works with homeless here.

      • Eilonwynn says:

        @Meltdown: Yeah, we do. They show up in the oddest places, though – One was in a Zehr’s in Kitchener, just beyond the checkout, for example – and I think there are a few scattered about the Eaton Centre in Toronto.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      The best rule of thumb on giving is never give unless you initiated it.

      @bohemian: Nowadays I’m one of those “I give at the office” types. My employer will match my donations so I like to give money in a way I can actually prove later. The only exceptions are Toys for Tots (though I should check if they’ll match those donations too) and if we’re helping out a co-worker.

    • magstheaxe says:

      @bohemian: “They don’t just discriminate in hiring, they discriminate in giving out charity based on sexual orientation. That puts them at the top of my blacklist.”

      Source for this claim about the SA discriminating in giving out charity based on sexual orientation?

  13. GeorgeVinton says:

    Those sites’ inclusion of charities is pretty meaningless, except for Guidestar, which (I’m pretty sure) lists every nonprofit in the U.S. I work for a small local nonprofit (budget under $1 million) and although we have been incorporated for 30 years, have low overhead, and are financially solvent, we don’t come up on those sites.

  14. flamincheney says:

    Another good avenue to pursue are local direct charities. My wife and I have sponsored various family dinners for needy locals, as well as contributed to community pantries. Speaking for myself, I feel better about being personalize what we are able to share, while knowing it is benefitting our local community.

    I also give to Toys for Tots every year.

  15. Parting says:

    I don’t find the fact that Salvation Army doesn’t want to hire gay people as strange. They are based on religion… Just don’t donate, if you disagree (same way, you shouldn’t shop at some stores, that displease you with their policies).

    I find strange that the USA’s army doesn’t hire gays. And all USA’s citizens contribute to this ”charity” with their taxes. Sad.

  16. MissPeacock says:

    @Transuranic: Thanks for the heads up. I’ll be sending my money to other organizations this year.

  17. Triterion says:

    One charity was just found guilty of supporting terrorists! [news.bbc.co.uk] wow, that’s even worse than being fake!

  18. nsv says:

    I can’t say that the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was very high on my charity list.

  19. aftercancer says:

    I’ve been trying to help with this by posting a charity per day on my blog which I’ve researched. A great site for research they didn’t mention is Justgive.org. They’ve got groups you may not have heard of broken into categories. Of course, local giving is great, I just can’t possibly list them all.

  20. chrisfromnl says:

    I work for the S.A. and I can comment and say that 100% of the money raised by these kettles goes to social services such as the food bank, shelter, street ministries to homeless, Christmas food hampers/toy bags for low income families, and other social projects. Kettle money does not go to the “church” part of the organization. The Army does other fundraisers throughout the year to fund it’s non social services side. Not contributing to the kettles will not prove a point against what you think of their stance on same sex partners, it will only serve to take away from services to those less fortunate than us.
    I believe in Canada now that a Salvation Army Officer can marry a non-officer.
    As for the Salary part, as vonvand said, it is at the advantage of the couple to have it work that way.

    • Pipes says:

      @chrisfromnl: I still can’t be sure your food banks don’t “suggest” that people get a Bible lesson before they’re allowed to eat. You would be surprised how many Christian food banks do this – hold people hostage for preaching before dinner. Also, I don’t consider “street ministries” to be anything worth giving money to.

    • womynist says:

      @chrisfromnl: Actually 20% of all donations to the Salvation Army go straight to their corporate headquarters, so the money you donate isn’t necessarily going to assist disadvantaged families in your own community. The S.A in my town has pretty much eliminated all of their Social Service assistance programs. Honestly I don’t know what they even do anymore.

      New Hampshire

    • oneandone says:

      @chrisfromnl: I understand your point, and it makes me wonder what you think of a similar distinction made for contributions to Planned Parenthood. To be eligible for certain state and federal funds, they have divided the organization into distinct internal entities – political lobbying branch, general women’s health services, and abortions (to simplify things). You can give a donation to any or all of the branches. They have a national reach and an enormous amount of clinics.

      If you are a person opposed to abortions, but interested in providing needy women with treatment or screenings for major gynecological health issues – or providing them with prenatal care – how comfortable would you feel giving your donation to Planned Parenthood?

      • oneandone says:

        @oneandone: Not implying that abortions simplify things – just that my delineation of their services was a simplification of what the org does. But abortions & lobbying are distinct from the rest of the services.

        • Eilonwynn says:

          @oneandone: @Transuranic: This one is tough for me. I don’t support all the ideals of the Salvation Army, and I am a strong believer in donating to causes which do.

          That being said, my grandfather, who was an avowed atheist and came from an atheist , once made the comment that there was no way his family would have gotten through after a fire without the help they got from the Salvation Army. It’s the idea that the $2, instead of going for some silly toy for myself, might help some kid, somewhere. It feels right to me to donate.

          • sockrockinbeats says:

            @Eilonwynn: Agreed. I’m gay and am fully aware of SA’s policies, but I still donate when I have the spare change. There’s a time and a place to debate gay rights/discrimination; I don’t feel that this one of them.

      • chrisfromnl says:

        @oneandone: Good point. It makes sense to me.
        I know in the Army’s case that someone can feel comfortable that the money they place in the kettle will go to a social assistance program.

  21. Jesse says:

    Guidestar in my opinion is the best resource. You are able to accurately verify the status of the organization and even view their tax return which are required to be published.

    Just FYI, in 2007 the IRS began requiring ALL charitable donations regardless of the amount to be backed up either by a receipt from the organization, canceled check or bank statement listing the organization. So, that $10 you drop in the Salvation Army bucket is non-deductible unless you have them write you a receipt (IRS Publication 526).

  22. Anonymous says:

    Another option, if you’re really interested in a charity but think its sketchy is to ask for their federal tax id number. Then call the IRS (877-829-5500 Extension 2 then 4) and ask them to verify the tax exempt status of the charity. Most shady charities aren’t stupid enough to register with the IRS and try to get 501(c)3 status.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Last year I ran into a collection of Toys-For-Tots scams where a pair will set up in front of a store. They would pressure you to buy $1 to $5 dollar store type gifts for $5 to $25 from them for the drive. They had no tax information, and their only association with the charity was through an old Toys-For-Tots box. Called the charity and found out that it was a scam.

  24. chrisfromnl says:

    I can speak for what we do locally:

    Food banks (giving out boxes of food to families) do not have any stipulations on them before receiving food other than having a valid ID as to make sure they are not abusing the system.

    The Shelter I believe has supper than a voluntary service/sermon/sing before sleep.

    I probably should of been more clear on Street ministries. This involves the passing out of blankets, warm clothes, hot chocolate, food etc to people who will be spending that night on the same street. They also assist women who are in human trafficking situations by getting them off the streets and into a program. For full disclosure, I believe they also pass out those small bibles, so take that as you see fit.

  25. Trencher93 says:

    Do some research, too, because I did that with one of these in-store deals where you buy a whatever (sneaker, pumpkin, stocking, etc) for $1 and have your name written on it charities — and the woman running it made HALF A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. Some charities may not be out-and-out scams, but they don’t necessarily use their money wisely.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Trencher93: Are you implying she was making too much money and that donations inevitably go to her? Does she make $500,000 from JUST her work at the charity? Because many directors and heads of organizations are paid plenty to speak at events, do consulting, etc. And just how much is a typical head of an organization supposed to make? I’m assuming this is a national or international charity, so there seems to be a ton of work to be done if you’re the boss for the entire thing.

      And just because you only see 500 paper socks tacked up on the wall doesn’t mean the charity only makes $500. Charities get millions of dollars in donations every year, from ordinary citizens to billionaires, and there are fundraisers and other ventures to support the charity. I guarantee this charity’s annual nest egg is in the tens of millions of dollars.

      My husband works for a nonprofit, significantly smaller than most organizations. Even a staff of 30 handles tens of millions of dollars each year in donations. And everyone there is underpaid.

      And $500,000 a year really isn’t a ton of money depending on where you live. In the D.C. metro area, most people go “eh” and in NYC most people go “meh” because the cost of living takes a good amount of that salary away.

      But then again, “half a million” dollars seems like a lot more than “$500,000: doesn’t it?

      • Hamtronix says:

        @IHaveAFreezeRay: And $500,000 a year really isn’t a ton of money depending on where you live. In the D.C. metro area, most people go “eh” and in NYC most people go “meh” because the cost of living takes a good amount of that salary away.

        Yes, 500k$ is a lot of money. No matter where you live… Amazing…

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @Hamtronix: I’m just saying, it could be fair compensation for that particular job. If a national charity could be run by one person with a computer, and get paid $17 an hour I think a lot of people would be really happy. But these organizations are also companies, and have overheads and have expenses and staff, and $500,000 a year for the head of a charitable organization might not be unfair, as Trencher93 is implying.

          Yes $500,000 is a lot of money. But in some areas of the country, it takes a lot to live, and it takes a lot to support a family. Until we know this woman is single, and runs a charity of 10 interns, I’m not going to NOT give based on the fact that I think (but can’t show evidence of) that her salary is too much. The implication that someone is overpaid without having substantial evidence to suggest that others doing a job similar to hers are not being overpaid.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            @IHaveAFreezeRay: Last sentence should have read “The implication that someone is overpaid without having substantial evidence to suggest that others doing a job similar to hers are not being overpaid is an excuse to deny charitable funds because personal prejudices on what a person should or should not make.”

            I had it all typed out and I did some kind of magic switcheroo and half of it was gone.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @Trencher93: Wow, glad I don’t buy those things anymore!

    • SugarMag says:

      @Trencher93:

      If the org. can afford to pay their CEO $500k/yr, they obviously don’t need my lousy few hundred bucks. Some actually are small charities – say less than $2M/yr revenue – yet they pay their founder/CEO $300k +. No thanks.

      Salary is one of the key things I look when choosing what org. to give to. I also look closely at the 4 star rated ones on charitynavigator.org.

  26. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Oh? And what else should they be willing to do in exchange for a free meal? Vote the way they’re told to? Sign themselves into indentured servitude? Give up their children? Provide “intimate services”? Because if they aren’t willing to do any silly thing that occurs to someone else, they must not be hungry “enough”?

    Are you a Christian? Because your tit-for-tat, “do what we say or else you can starve” kind of “charity” sucks.

    • monkeytown says:

      @speedwell:
      I completely understand where you’re coming from. However, I hardly think that listening to passages from the Bible is akin to selling your body or giving up your children.

      Also, keep in mind that the Salvation Army probably doesn’t snatch them from the street and force them to listen to a sermon. It’s their choice to listen or not – and I hardly think they’ll refuse a good meal if it means they listen to a preacher for a bit.

  27. Rhayader says:

    Anybody else reminded of George Costanza collecting donations for the “Human Fund”?

  28. Skybolt says:

    Here’s another useful site:

    [www.charitywatch.org]

    This is a listing of the most best charities, in various categories, in terms of how much of their money they spend on their actual mission. This can be useful if you don’t feel like doing research. The AIP will also send you a copy of their full ratings guide so you can see what the less and least efficient charities are.

  29. Mistrez_Mish says:

    The organization that I work for has received our 5th 4-star rating from Charity Navigator in a row! Less than 3% of organizations achieve a 4-star rating for that many consecutive years.

  30. Mistrez_Mish says:

    Thank you to everyone considering to donating to a charity this holiday season – or any other time of the year :)

    Many non-profits are hurting right now, badly, which goes DOUBLY for the people (animals/>) they provide assistance to. A lot of us are closing our doors, merging, cutting staff, or simply finding it more difficult to make ends meet this year.

  31. violettefay says:

    It is, I think, far more helpful to give to a local organization, since your money will go further. $1,000 to the org I work for is HUGE, but to a university or national org, it’s pennies. I like to know I’m making a difference with my $$.

    And for whatever reason, since the economy’s been tanking, I’ve been WAY more generous than I normally am. I think it’s because I realize there are so many people out there who are worse off than I am…and one bad hit could leave them homeless/hungry/etc….

  32. chrisfromnl says:

    @womynist:

    For Christmas Kettles:
    100% goes to assistance. I can verify that in my division as I am an accountant with them and part of my job this time of year is to ensure the the money from kettles is counted and get it in the bank.

    The other drives though out the year and the general donations cover administrative costs which, lets face it, have to happen. When an organization (Profit or Non-Profit) gets so big it has to have accountants, lawyers, architects, advisers, etc etc.

    I haven’t seen any figures from work, but the Wikipedia page said that 84% of money goes to assistance. I don’t think 16% is a significant figure to go to all the administrative costs an organization this size has to cover. There are no outlandishly paid exec’s or corporate jets or any of that sort. Most of the administrative costs are to support the front line assistance programs.

  33. chrisfromnl says:

    The original article was about charity scams, so just be careful of who you give your money to. Even if it appears to be a legitimate charity, or it is one you know of, ask for some ID or ask for a phone number to call and verify if something doesn’t look right to you.

  34. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    Note from your friendly moderator:

    Folks, let’s keep the comments on topic and relevant to the original article.

    Discussion of gay rights / discrimination is not appropriate for an article about charity scams.

    Any further comments need to be germane to the article posted here.

  35. AD8BC says:

    Last year we gave $500 to St. Judes.

    Not this year.

    It seems that they come-a-begging for money every month sending me large glossy brochures and beautiful letters from Marlo Thomas that must have cost a fortune to print and mail.

    We also gave to Leukemia & Lymphoma. Then they called and asked if I could stamp and mail some letters for them. I told them no, that I was busy and couldn’t guarantee that I could get the job done on time. The lady said that all I needed to do was buy stamps and mail some pre-printed letters. So I said OK, and they sent me a package. Not only did I need to stamp and mail letters, I needed to call the recipients, bug them, take their donations, and sent them back. There was no way that I was going to be held personally responsible for other people’s personal contributions so I sent the crap back because they lied to me.

    The USO didn’t bug us too much after our contribution last year so they will get more this year. And, by far, the most thankful and least bothersome charity we donated to was the American Radio Relay League, they will be getting more this year. And then, of course, the local ham radio clubs.

    • AD8BC says:

      @AD8BC: But I will never, ever give a dime to the Susan B. Komen foundation. Because of them, I can’t seem to buy anything that’s not in a silly little pink container. The latest: Philadelphia Cream Cheese. In a pink container. I thought it was strawberry cream cheese but it was plain. With a pink lid. Susan B. Komen also spends all year advertising for a fundraising race. I can’t imagine how many of their funds that they spend on that advertising.

      • Mistrez_Mish says:

        @AD8BC:
        You have it completely wrong.

        Let me clarify what is going on for you (since I work with things like this almost every day).

        These are corporate partners (the cream cheese that you bought is an example of such a partnership). NPOs (non-profits) often approach companies with proposals to establish a partnership and run a fundraising campaign. Sometimes the companies approach npos that they are fond of. The company DONATES it’s marketing/ advertising resources to the npo or the fundraising campaign. PRO BONO. FREE. The pays zip, nada.

        • Mistrez_Mish says:

          @Mistrez_Mish:
          Continued:

          Campaigns last for a pre-set amount of time determined by the company (ex. company-x donates 10% of the revenue of each item sold to x-organization)

          OR

          the fundraising campaign lasts until the company reaches a donation cap (say,$10,000 is reached and the campaign officially ends).

          NPOs don’t pay or these things, it’s ass expensive and legit organizations do not have the time and resources for stuff like this.

          FREE FREE REE – The end

          And, no – I don’t work for Susan B. Komen

          • AD8BC says:

            @Mistrez_Mish: Let me clarify my post…

            I’m just tired of pink stuff, and I’m blaming Komen. And I’m tired of 11 months of radio commercials for an annual race.

            Then again, I do have an inner gut feeling that most cancer foundation donations are wasted though.

    • Skybolt says:

      @AD8BC: A lot of non-profits for veterans seem to have spending issues also. I think that historically, Disabled American Veterans is known for spending too much on advertising. A few years ago I gave them a small donation. On the site, it asked if I wanted a notepad, or stickers, or some other thing, or if all the money should go to help veterans. I told the form to use all the money for veterans. A bit later, I received a package from them with all three of the items I said to not send, and then a constant stream of stuff with their logo over the next year.

      Of course, efficiency is only half of it. Efficacy is harder to measure. I don’t know how effective DAV is, but they sure spend a lot on address labels and stuff.