Giving to charity...

So on my way to my volunteer job (work full time as a butcher, do one day volunteering) today I actually stopped and talked to one of those street workers from Amnesty International and gave him my bank info. to the tune of €30 a month (roughly a euro a day). Now, my issue here is not the parting with my hard earned money but I'm now sitting with a pit in my gut if I made over whether or not it was the -right- group to give my money to.

The guy himself was nice enough, and I was fairly aware of what AI does, campaigning for human rights, political or unfairly imprisoned persons and against tyrannical regimes and all that, which is all great...but...doing a bit more reading, I think what's worrying me the most is with all the recent hoohah related to the pay packets of high up members of AI (and well, quite a lot of charities...), if my money is actually being used effectively and not just to pay for someone's salary.

That has bugged me in the past, as even in the charity that I work for while much smaller scale, focused on local kids suffering from cerebral palsy, I worry that most of the money the shop makes is going into the owner's pocket rather than toward the kid's themselves.

So:

Is AI a worthy charity to donate to regardless of my concern? Who would be a good alternative? Or should I just avoid donating to large NGO's/Non-Profits altogether and focus on my local organisations?

Captcha: roflcopter o_O

It's not worth it to donate to any charity period.

Seriously, charities are some of the most corrupt business practices out there. You have absolutely ZERO guarantee that your money will be spend where it should (ie, stuff for the actual people want to help) The CEO's can make anywhere between 100k and 300k per year.

Usually they will have different arrangements with those 'volunteers' you see on the street. And yes volunteers between quotations because they are anything but. Usually it works along the lines of X amount of cash per hour plus the cash from the first 20 people you get to donate.

I still remember this story that they gave some president in some third world country the cash that was collected from people, and instead of using it to aid his civilians, he bought a private jet.

You remember all that cash they collected for Haiti? Take a guess what happened fuck all with, largely due to political reasons.

Also, never, EVER, give them your bank account and tell them yea go ahead withdraw the cash for me. It's often impossible to get rid off.

They are not non-profit. Non-profit just means that they do not have profit as their end goal, or so they claim.

Every organisation will have bad practices, because after everything else they're still run by people. Regular, flawed people.

Some money donated to a large charity like AI will inevitably go towards paying somebody's salary - given their size and the amount of work they do it just wouldn't be possible to run it purely with volunteers. As for the people on the streets: supposing they get 100 per day, if they can bring in 300 in donations, then AI has a net increase in donations of 200, as the people in the street are unlikely to have donated if they hadn't bumped into somebody.

I try to get an idea of how much money will be going towards the people it is intended to help rather than absorbed by the charity.

Look at it like this: if 10% of your money gets swallowed up in administration and salaries, 90% of your money is going towards the cause you want to help. Which is 90% more than if you give them nothing.

Ultimately, I'd say that they're worth donating to regardless of your concern, but it might be worth asking them about the percentage of donations that go towards running the charity itself.

My objections with giving to charity are

1) How to decide which charity to donate to? Which cause is more worthy, cancer research, humanitarian aid, children's charities? Foreign or domestic? Addressing the cause, or the symptom?

2) Accountability in terms of where the money goes. I'd need to be pretty damn sure my money was actually making an impact, and not just getting subsumed into admin costs and wasteful "awareness raising" drives.

archiebawled:
Every organisation will have bad practices, because after everything else they're still run by people. Regular, flawed people.

Before we start condoning what these people do under the flag of "everyone makes mistakes", there's a big difference between "being flawed" and practically stealing money from starving children.

Just wanted to get that out there.

SimpleThunda':

archiebawled:
Every organisation will have bad practices, because after everything else they're still run by people. Regular, flawed people.

Before we start condoning what these people do under the flag of "everyone makes mistakes", there's a big difference between "being flawed" and practically stealing money from starving children.

I meant that every charity (or business) will have some organisational inefficiencies, so some of the money will be swallowed up by running the charity itself. I wasn't trying to excuse those who receive charitable donations and don't put them to their intended use.

Batou667:
1) How to decide which charity to donate to? Which cause is more worthy, cancer research, humanitarian aid, children's charities? Foreign or domestic? Addressing the cause, or the symptom?

My thinking on this is that whilst there are a dizzying number of issues I'd like to support, if I can only afford 10 euros per month then it's going to do more good if I donate it than if I don't. Like saying "yes" to one rather than "no" to all.

Batou667:
2) Accountability in terms of where the money goes. I'd need to be pretty damn sure my money was actually making an impact, and not just getting subsumed into admin costs and wasteful "awareness raising" drives.

I think most charities give a breakdown of their donations and expenditure, for instance, Amnesty International UK has this page: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/our-finances, which sets out where their money comes from and where it goes.

Here is my two penneth. Large scale charities tend to be run by members of the political class. The get positions as staffers in government and when there time in office is up they go on to senior positions in charities as well as columnist in papers and pundits on TV. Its a far to cosy relationship between government, charities and the press. They all know one another and tend engage in groupthink and careerism. The people at the top tend to drift in sea of conferences, reports and networking.

Small scale charities tend to be focused on specific issues locally and the people that run them tend to very committed to that issue. Which is why I give my money to small local charities.

archiebawled:

I think most charities give a breakdown of their donations and expenditure, for instance, Amnesty International UK has this page: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/our-finances, which sets out where their money comes from and where it goes.

Accountability is just about money. The head of Amnesty Uk is Kate Allen, she worked for 2 labour run councils and then became a councilor for a 3rd before going into the Home office as advisor during the Labour government. She was also the partner of Ken Livingstone for 18 years. I doubt very much, Amnesty UK is going to be criticising the labour party any time soon. It far to close and cosy relationship at the top between journalist, politicians and charities for them to be held to account.

 

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