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KOBTV 4 - Albuquerque, NM
http://www.kobtv.com/index.cfm?viewer=storyviewer&id=15927&cat=CONSUMER

World’s worst charities

12/27/2004

By: Stacy Johnson

There’s no question that without charitable works, the world would be a worse place to live. And that’s all the more reason that when we give money to a non-profit group, we need to make sure it’s the right one.

The American Institute of Philanthropy is one of several national charity watchdog organizations. It recently published its report card on 100 “failing” charities… charities that the AIP would not recommend you donate money to.

And you might be surprised at some of the results. Top failing charities in AIP’s estimation?

1. Research to Prevent Blindness
2. Shriners Hospitals for Children
3. Seeing Eye
4. Guide Dogs for the Blind
5. Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch
6. Diabetes Trust Fund
7. Give Kids the World
8. Southern Poverty Law Center
9. Omaha Home for Boys
10. YWCA of the USA-NO

It should be noted that most of those 10 charities were given A-grades, until of course, AIP reviewed the generous cash reserves of those non-profits, and then they sunk quickly to F-grades.

How does a charity earn an F grade? Well, one of two ways. First, as in the case of the 10 listed above, the charity has five or more years worth of money in reserve to cover their program. In other words, they really don’t need more money right now, and probably not for several years to come, despite continued fundraising efforts.

In the second case, illustrated by the other 90 failing charities on AIP’s list, the charity spends too much on fundraising and not enough on program services.

For example, the American Institute for Marine Studies. According to our charity watchdog, this non-profit spent $19 million last year, but 95% of it wasn’t for services, it was for more fundraising. How do they justify that? We couldn’t find out. They refused to speak to us either on or off camera.

But that’s another story.

The final message here is, before you give to any charity, use your phone or computer to see what the experts say about it. The sources start with the Better Business Bureau, the American Institute of Philanthropy, Guidestar, Charity Navigator.

Bottom line? It’s not hard to make sure your donation dough is being wisely spent. So always check before you write one


Further Reading:

The Royal Order of Jesters - The Shriners Secret Society Secret Society - 'Mirth is King'

The Shriners - The 'Krafty' Klowns