Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Don't Give In to Charity Spam

Don't forget to Give but when you do, Give Wisely.

It’s the time of year when you’ll start to see some real and some illegitimate organizations asking for donations. While we’re all in the holiday spirit and the credit card is close at hand it’s a good time for fund raising. I knew it was time as soon as I started to receive bogus invitations for have letters from Santa sent to my kids. Yea, like I want to give anyone a kids Email address.

In general, I reject any requests that come via my phone or in my Email. I often give to those in need, both organized and personal but I don’t need to be reminded. I certainly don’t want unrequested Emails added to all my spam. Chances are high that charity Emails you get this month are not to be opened.

I hate to say but even some seeming reputable charities may not be spending your donation in a way you’d want. There are a number of web sites including “Charity Navigator” that will rate charities and provide details on how funds are utilized.

I was pleased to see that the “Marine Toys for Tots Foundation” received a 4 star rating. Only 2.5% is used for non-program expenses. Our local “Animal Protection Foundation” in Scotia, NY also received fours stars. Unfortunately, I noticed the Northeast Animal Shelter only received one star and only 52% of the funds go to programs. About 8% goes to administration and 40% is spent on fund raising expenses like advertising on Google.

Charity Navigator also includes compensation for CEO’s, historical data and my favorite is their privacy policy. Many well known charities will share your personal information unless you explicity Opt-Out. I found some real surprises but I’d rather not pick on anyone specific. Visit and see for yourself.


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Blogger Anon A. Mus said...

I wonder what the Federal Government rating would be. Depending upon the report you read, only 5 to 15 cents makes it to needy people for every dollar taken, er, taxed for social spending.

2:45 PM  

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