Stop Kony 2012; good cause but I'm not sold on the charity

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Today I started noticing a campaign that seemed to be being promoted on facebook; "Stop Kony 2012." I did the usual thing of skimming over the propaganda and seeing what it was about, basically Kony is a bad guy, raise awareness and get some intervention. When I see a lot of friends sharing some cause online I admit I may try to look for some negatives in it, mainly due to cynicism and maybe a slight need to feel superior to a "holier-than-thou" friend. Regardless of motives I found a couple of things.
http://www.invisiblechildren.com/about

I did some digging into the organisation behind this, "Invisible Children," and I found it all to be rather dubious. First off they aren't all too forthcoming about the donation process and how the money will actually go to things, but I then found that each of the founders take an $88k wage and various expenses on top of that. I'm by no means an accountant and have only taken my friend's word on this that their expenses seem a little odd for a charity, saying that their assets include hundreds of thousands of dollars of computer equipment. I found their audit and was able to get the gist of it but that was more or less it, the part I wanted to confirm was that they did effectively take a very high wage from the donations, which I think they do if I read the report right.
http://c2052482.r82.cf0.rackcdn.com/images/737/original/FY11-Audited%20Financial%20Statements.pdf?1320205055

Further from that the Better Business Bureau tried to conduct an assessment on them to make sure they are keeping to standards for charities and accountability but IC have refused to produce evidence and declined to be evaluated. I know some people on here have firm beliefs on privacy, and the BBB review is voluntary, but when you're a registered non-profit charity then not being very transparent seems suspicious to me.
http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/children-and-youth/invisible-children-in-san-diego-ca-4469

So is my cynicism well founded and I'm not jumping on a band wagon? Or am I just trying to pick holes in a good cause? Personally I feel that the ideology behind everything is good but the organisation sort of taints it for me.

Also as an aside I wanted to know what everyone's opinion on international intervention is. There have been warrants for arrests issued by the ICC and Interpol but thus far they didn't amount to much. There are some people I've seen basically saying that the US should just go in and take him out which seems like a good idea but I'm not a fan of them acting as a world police.

UPDATE OF SORTS:

I found a tumblr site that I feel should be spread around as much as possible, it says everything that I found and thought but so much better:
http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/

One thing I have noticed is that with this sort of topic, new accounts join and rush to defend it which is mighty odd to me really.

Again, I support the idea behind it but I can't bring myself to support the organisation behind it, if even half of the dubious things about it are true.

RETURN OF THE UPDATE:

http://ilto.wordpress.com/2006/11/02/the-visible-problem-with-invisible-children/

More information about Uganda and Kony. He's likely not even in the country anymore and not a threat, I'm not really sure what sparked all of this facebook campaign lark, but it did really take off at one point. How I stand on it is pretty mixed right now, if the sources are right then Kony isn't even in the picture and even if he was then IC are supporting military action from basically other bad guys. Doesn't seem like anyone really wins in this. Ah well.

Also the view count is mental. I call shenanigans on it.

A lot of charities are dodgy when you look into them, many well known ones included.

Take the American Bible Society, a charity that is really just a front for preaching. They received $42.4 million in donations and made $12 million through other means. Outside of their actual programs they spent $24.1 million, most of it on administration and fund raising. That is 44% of their income.

They actually spent more than their income, the reason they can do that is because they hold over $500 million in assets and that is after a loss of $100 million for that year.

Suave Charlie:
snip.

Considering the charity posts revenue at around $13,000,000 annually (based on their 2011 numbers), assets of about $1,000,000 dollars and executive salaries totalling $300,000 doesn't really seem that out of line.

Also, the tech equipment makes sense, given their awareness campaigns being almost totally based in digital media and film.

Running a charity at an overhead of around 10% of revenue isn't really that unreasonable. Rates of 10-30% are actually pretty typical.

-m

Hmm, so the charity itself might be corrupt? Interesting.

And yeah, corruption aside, I'm not sure what these social media types are trying to accomplish. Military intervention is pretty much the only thing that will stop him, and it's not the US' responsibility to get involved in that (not that we'd get involved anyway, since we don't have much of a strategic or economic interest there).

I only wanted to point out that the main idea isn't to acquire donations. Although they do get support for their project by selling the actions kits and other propaganda etc. their MAIN purpose is TO SPREAD THE MESSAGE!! They want the government see the people's interest in this and continue to take action. If you saw the video you would recall an older gentleman stating the government agreed to take action (after originally declining the request)--for the moment. They only took that decision because they saw the people's interest in it. They have to keep the awareness and interest level high because without it they will cancel the mission. that is the main purpose- to keep the government active....

That is why they are using social media to continue to spread the word and accomplish the big goal: stopping Joseph Kony once and for all. (:

Sorry for th caps by the way- no offense intended...

pyrate:
A lot of charities are dodgy when you look into them, many well known ones included.

Yes indeed. Many funny things can be going on in charities. Some appear to hand out some pretty suspicious remuneration (salary and expenses) to their boards or seem to spend suspicious amounts on asset-building. Some are just damn sloppy with their financial controls.

people like this should be getting paid the highest salary because they are trying to change the F'ing world, people like you on the other hand make thousands blogging but for no good cause, the stop kony 2012 campaign is run by a lot of computer supplies and they get the word out which is why so many people have responded and are acting, i don't care if this guy takes home a few extra dollars each month, he earned it and because of him kony will be stopped in 2012 :)

It isnt hard to just post the link to the video in facebook, the point is to spread awareness of him the least people can do is try.

I wonder if Uganda has any oil?

I also agree:

Sure its a well made film on Kony 2012...you know Hitler had a great propoganda campaign by using media to get the masses to unite to support him. Well before you click LIKE and support KONY 2012 please think and research a little. Its a FACT UGANDA has massive amounts of OIL. George SOROS wants this OIL. THE USA wants this OIL. OBAMA came in power with the funding of SOROS. USA TROOPS are in UGANDA NOW! KONY is not in UGANDA NOW!

SO...remember this: LIBYA was attacked and otherthrown...why? A: OIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
IRAQ: OIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SYRIA: OIL!!!!!!!!!!
IRAN: OIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AFGANISTAN: OIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OIL is more important than any kids in UGANDA thats what this propoganda is all about nothing else. Not to free kids from KONY but to get the OIL!!!!!!!!!!

Check these article on Uganda and oil, SOROS and USA involvement. Do a GOOGLE SEARCH on UGANDA, OIL, SOROS.

http://kleinonline.wnd.com/2011/10/15/212-4/

http://moonbattery.com/?p=3434

http://quitenormal.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/oil-and-soros-interests-in-obamas-dispatching-of-troops-to-uganda/

Daniel Moulding:
he earned it and because of him kony will be stopped in 2012 :)

Because a fanatically religious warlord is going to get stopped by links posted on facebook. And if people spam forumtopics, his militias magically get crushed.

..right.

If Kony needs to be stopped, send a few divisions of the army, or alternatively, finance the army of that country to do the dirty work for you. All else is bollocks since the guy's army of christianity isn't going to get broken by peacefull means. They already mostly recruit by forcibly gangpressing children, so the only thing that'll stop them is preventing them from doing such things by military means.


So, anyway, what does that charity even do? It looks like they didn't bother to write their site for Firefox.

Charity is a touchy issue, and right now with the economy, giving away your money without knowing what it is used for is kinda scary. However, if you watch the video, they want support. They ask the people to spread the word, so that people, will know what is going on. Social media, can't stop a war but it can help convince the right people to go in and stop it. A black out stopped PIPA didn't it? The american government isn't worried about Uganda, they have no interest in Uganda. However, if the public steps up, asking for help to stop this guy,making him a star, well then, the government can't have egg on its face.The government wants to look like the hero, not the villain. You can either be apart of it or not. As a human being, when this guy gets caught, I'd like to be able to tell myself I had a small part in it, in saving a child's life. Maybe I'm just too much of a Canadian.

Blablahb:
Because a fanatically religious warlord is going to get stopped by links posted on facebook. And if people spam forumtopics, his militias magically get crushed.

..right.

If Kony needs to be stopped, send a few divisions of the army, or alternatively, finance the army of that country to do the dirty work for you. All else is bollocks since the guy's army of christianity isn't going to get broken by peacefull means. They already mostly recruit by forcibly gangpressing children, so the only thing that'll stop them is preventing them from doing such things by military means.


So, anyway, what does that charity even do? It looks like they didn't bother to write their site for Firefox.

Invisible Children is not trying to stop them through peaceful means- they have been petitioning the federal government for years to sent troops in to take Kony down. Initially, the response they received was that the U.S. would never get involved in a conflict of this kind where we didn't have a stake because it was not important enough to the people. The campaign gained enough support over the years to get troops over there, but like any other warlord it has not been easy to take Kony down or find him in the vast jungle.

The purpose of the Kony 2012 campaign is to rally and maintain support for this cause so that Washington does not pull funding or troops before the mission is complete. IC has done the work up to this point to get the U.S. involved, and it is asking for sharing on social media in order to create a demand Congress cannot ignore.

As far as the oil argument goes- you can believe what you want to about the conspiracies of our government, but they are not the ones pushing this campaign right now. I first heard Invisible Children's message in 2007, and their mission has not changed since then.

As far as what IC have done and where their donations go, I don't know if you'll find an exact road map but if you watch their YouTube video you'll see that they have rebuilt schools in Uganda and established the technology for an emergency alert system on the new front lines of Kony's territory. The system allows those first aware of any attacks or abductions to warn other villages and prepare the for the approaching danger.

While I respect all of you for trying to educate yourselves, doing your research, and maintaining a healthy level of skepticism, I hope that you reserve that for other antics in Washington. It will help, and it certainly can't hurt, so go ahead and click that 'Like' button.

Stagnant:

Huh. That's... Very odd.

One thing I've noticed from googling about is that whenever this is brought up, a load of brand new accounts spring up to defend it. Kind of suspicious..

Also, my first topic has 15k views over night. What the balls.

Just a thought in regards to new accounts springing up-

I am a college student, unaffiliated with Invisible Children other than my occasional donations or attempts to raise awareness. After reading this post, I created an account in order to present another side to the discussion. Because this topic is so new, there are relatively few discussion posts on it, and I think people are just jumping in to comment on the ones that are up.

Daniel Moulding:
people like this should be getting paid the highest salary because they are trying to change the F'ing world, people like you on the other hand make thousands blogging but for no good cause, the stop kony 2012 campaign is run by a lot of computer supplies and they get the word out which is why so many people have responded and are acting, i don't care if this guy takes home a few extra dollars each month, he earned it and because of him kony will be stopped in 2012 :)

I would Love to be making thousands blogging, but no I'm just a student who was cynical about a facebook campaign and looked into it. As I've found some things which I think are a bit dodgy and then when I found the tumblr which consolidated everything I've heard and found into one lovely easy to read post then that sort of reaffirmed it in my mind.

I have no doubt that Kony is a dick and does need to be removed but doing it through invisible children just seems wrong to me if what I've found is true.

Also I do charity work each week at Oxfam, I would be appalled if someone was taking a "few extra dollars each month." That's a theme I've found in many posts, that "at least some money is getting there," that really does not fit with my morals about charity work. It just seems wrong..

Karely Corona:
I only wanted to point out that the main idea isn't to acquire donations. Although they do get support for their project by selling the actions kits and other propaganda etc. their MAIN purpose is TO SPREAD THE MESSAGE!! They want the government see the people's interest in this and continue to take action. If you saw the video you would recall an older gentleman stating the government agreed to take action (after originally declining the request)--for the moment. They only took that decision because they saw the people's interest in it. They have to keep the awareness and interest level high because without it they will cancel the mission. that is the main purpose- to keep the government active....

That is why they are using social media to continue to spread the word and accomplish the big goal: stopping Joseph Kony once and for all. (:

But bear in mind that there have already been issues for his arrest, 6 years ago. And the US sent a failed mission to remove him, this isn't a new thing and a million people posting on facebook won't really influence that any more. As it stands there are troops in Uganda but stationed as trainers and advisers who cannot directly intervene unless provoked.

And if you'd like to read the tumblr I added to the OP the method of which this charity is doing things seems off at best, supporting the Ugandan troops who aren't spotless themselves.
I will admit I don't know how to solve the problems but I do know that I wouldn't trust IC to do it.

Suave Charlie:

Stagnant:

Huh. That's... Very odd.

One thing I've noticed from googling about is that whenever this is brought up, a load of brand new accounts spring up to defend it. Kind of suspicious..

Also, my first topic has 15k views over night. What the balls.

Yeah, I heard similar, it's just that my source was more notoriously unreliable than Ken Ham was; in other words, I got it from 4chan. Apparently there's something very fishy about that.

I went to the Kony2012.com website earlier today and could not gain access and was directed to the Invisible Children website. I don't know who they are either. However, I am not going to click and send money to the Invisible Children because the movie said Kony2012.com and if not Kony2012.com then why not? THEN, I started to ask a few questions and I found some information that unsettled me. Ergo, no clickity click of my Visa card. Thanks for the ongoing posts, yay or nay. What we are doing is processing information and that is what it is all about so that we may make informed decisions.

I'm skeptical of any organization that wants US intervention and policing

Karely Corona:
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Monet28:
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laurnicole:
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Xavier Oraculum:
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Daniel Moulding:
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Amy Cleary:
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Welcome to the escapist everybody : D

It's awesome to see so many new members posting on the same topic in one day!

And then there is this very well written article:

http://ilto.wordpress.com/2006/11/02/the-visible-problem-with-invisible-children/

For review and consideration ...

I work in accounting for a non-profit organization and am familiar with the payroll of non-profits in general. $88k is a drop in the bucket compared to execs in non-profit. In fact, that is grossly under the average. Candidly, but anonymously speaking, $88k is just a little higher than the annual bonus of one of our execs, not including her salary.

It's naive to think people who work for non-profits work for free or for next to nothing, especially their execs. It doesn't make the organization corrupt just because they'd like to be materially rewarded for their efforts in their cause.

Did somebody link to their movie already?

laurnicole:

While I respect all of you for trying to educate yourselves, doing your research, and maintaining a healthy level of skepticism, I hope that you reserve that for other antics in Washington. It will help, and it certainly can't hurt, so go ahead and click that 'Like' button.

So cut in paste from facebook? Not only that, but a failure to read what was quoted?

Very suspicious

laurnicole:
Invisible Children is not trying to stop them through peaceful means- they have been petitioning the federal government for years to sent troops in to take Kony down.

So if they're not doing that, what do they do? They don't need a ton of money to petition or spam on Escapist forums using four different accounts.

I mean, most charities are corrupt, with only a few percent of the money actually reaching where it's supposed to go. The cards are stacked against you.

The financial statement says that over twothirds of their money went to wages and 'direct services', meaning pocketed by the people who work there.

Considering that's over four million US dollars, and I don't see a payroll with thousands of employees, one can only assume a few people are getting rich off that foundation.

Well, there'S definitely SOMETHING fishy going on here. -.-

Utterly no idea what's going on with the view count, must be a bot involved.
And someone earlier posted the wordpress site but in case people missed it I've added it to the OP.

So now everything's starting to go the other way on facebook, people are reposting the visible children tumblr and various other links to anyone that's shared the Kony video.

Blab if you'd read the tumblr and the wordpress it gives a very odd view of what's going on.. Kony is likely no longer a threat and the charity org supported troops who do the same thing as Kony's.

I must say this entire day has been interesting.

Daniel Moulding:
people like this should be getting paid the highest salary because they are trying to change the F'ing world, people like you on the other hand make thousands blogging but for no good cause, the stop kony 2012 campaign is run by a lot of computer supplies and they get the word out which is why so many people have responded and are acting, i don't care if this guy takes home a few extra dollars each month, he earned it and because of him kony will be stopped in 2012 :)

The LRA has been around for a good thirty years. It has existed since 1987, and NOW people finally realize they exist?

This comes off as very suspicious, more so for a charity. Its like people came out the wood work and tried to spread the message about Hitler in 1945. The OP encapsulates this argument very well.

Daniel Moulding:
i don't care if this guy takes home a few extra dollars each month, he earned it and because of him kony will be stopped in 2012 :)

Kony has been leading the LRA for almost 30 years and has had an indictment from the ICC since 2005, but a bunch of people sharing a youtube video will ensure he's caught inside 9 months...

Do i need to point out how stupid that sounds? It took the entire might of the US military and intelligence agencies to find Bin Laden and they still took 10 years. No matter how much of a dick Kony is, he just does not warrant that level of effort.

Wow, fishy indeed. I've heard that these guys may have an ulterior motive about fuinding a film company, I don't know. I'm going to look into it more, but the new accounts and stuff springing up, the views, this is weird, especially for the Escapist. How did these people find us?

chronobreak:
Wow, fishy indeed. I've heard that these guys may have an ulterior motive about fuinding a film company, I don't know. I'm going to look into it more, but the new accounts and stuff springing up, the views, this is weird, especially for the Escapist. How did these people find us?

Final link I'll do: http://seet.weebly.com/1/post/2012/03/concerning-kony-2012.html

Basically a consolidation of what everyone's found out about it all.

I am going to tell you how I found the Escapist. After I receved an email from a family member with the link to Kony2012 I looked into it. Out of respect and courtesy to the sender I watched it to the end. Alarm bells went off immediately and continue to ring at a growing distance. What I found was disconcerting for any number of reasons which I won't go into here. Suffice it to say Kony2012 did not pass the sniff test. But I digress -

In my search I found Suave Charlie's topic de jeur and you. Yes, all of you. Now, where am I? Gaming? Avatars? And other stuff. Badges? Now this is worth taking a look at.

Thank you for your invaluable input.

Best regards to all.

Now, where am I?

08Mar12. I am here. I got a badge. Cool.

What I am seeing is a process of reasonable response to a highly orchestrated and manipulated campaign on an issue that has gone "viral", that is to say - some people are asking questions, doing research and making decisions about this campaign. It would appear that hundreds of thousands are not doing the simple research. And that's scary.

The family member who brought this to my attention on 07Mar12 and I shared our NOMINAL research and agreed, "oh, oh, not this puppy" and we admitted, frankly, that the bracelets had been a definite attraction along with our preparedness to stand up for a cause and talk with our money. At $30 the package is a deal. Jointly we agreed that we are "material girls" after all and that we are driven by our need to consume. Trendy branding - based on the misery of several generations and at least hundreds of thousands of dead and/or injured people is simply not acceptable to us. And considering the easy enough to retrieve and review facts of this "viral" event, it is very very scary that people are not conducting due diligence not only to save their money for other uses, but to protect the integrity of the issue itself, if any.

Truth is at risk when questions are not asked and followed up on. Shows how shallow we can be and yes, I speak for myself. I liked the bracelets and everyday heroics. BUT - I (should) know better.

I also like badges, so I am going to set up a profile. Are there simple games for old war dogs? yes?

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