Just how charitable are charities?

14 May

I received an email the other day, which told me about different charities and how responsible they are with your money. Basically they said, American Red Cross, United Way, and UNICEF are somewhat wasteful of their donations. On the other hand, it said that the Salvation Army, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans Association, and Military Order of Purple Hearts are pretty responsible with their money.

I was kind of puzzled about what to do or make of that information, as I think it is kind of an important thing to make sure charities are actually giving the money to what they say. I have, after all, seen the movie, My Blue Heaven. So, I went to Snopes to determine the truthfulness. It seems that the numbers are all from about 2005, and maybe even then they are suspect.

But then when I tried to get a succinct view of the information, I found the info is difficult to come by. Largely, because the “stats” given on this page do not even agree internally. This means that even though the numbers are there, if you divide the numbers to get the ratios given, the math doesn’t always equal. So, I guess I am left as skeptical of every charity.

This is not a time where I am bashing Para-church charities. In fact, I run one. I think they can be incredibly helpful, as there are many specific issues that they can address more easily than a church. Of course, because I run one, I know some of the things that others may not. Let me assure you that my charity has nothing go to salaries, in fact, I usually find myself giving the charity lots of money to keep it afloat. On the other hand, I am appalled at how easy it is to not do so. A 501(c)(3) charity could very easily not do so without really risking its status.

So, while I think charities can be very helpful, I also know that no group is held as liable for what it does as the local church. These churches present budgets to their members every year. They are questioned over many specifics, and if the members dislike it, they have many ways to address it, including, but not limited to, leaving the church itself.

So, while there are many worthy people for your charitable dollars, the fact is that you should research it when you do. Knowing that the nature of humans, from even the earliest ages, is to get away with whatever they can, those of us who run charities need that accountability. Further, when in doubt, give to your local church. If you can’t trust them, the least of your worries is what they do with your money, as you should worry more that you have trusted them with your soul and can’t trust them!


2 Responses to “Just how charitable are charities?”

  1. Redspect August 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    "If you haven't any charity in your heart you have the worst kind of heart trouble" to cure it help people, let's unite for one good cause, be a volunteer"save lives"!mawaddainternationalaid

  2. Jenni May 12, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    My fave charities to give to: A Place for the Heart (my favorite retreat center), Lon Garber (my favorite Namibian pastor), and Key Life Network (my favorite teachers of grace). But I'm totally with you on giving to the church, and this list isn't exhaustive anyway. Also, I was disappointed that you merely put a link to imdb's page for My Blue Heaven and not to a hulu version of it. How is a poor soul to watch it?

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