Forums

OT. Charity Ratings

Started by Dean Hoffman November 27, 2021
   This is definitely off topic but might be of general interest.
<https://www.charitynavigator.org/>
  
On 11/27/2021 9:50 AM, Dean Hoffman wrote:
> This is definitely off topic but might be of general interest. > <https://www.charitynavigator.org/>
In general, their "ratings" are pretty useless. Sort of like calling the BBB to check up on a vendor before doing business with them -- *everyone* has an 'A' rating! And, when you dig into how they generate those ratings, it has nothing to do with the number or types of complaints that they've received. Just whether or not the business *addressed* the complaint (even if they said "Screw off!") The problem with most charities is their mission statements *sound* good. But, rarely represent what they actually do or how well they do it. No one audits their reports of their success in achieving their *stated* goals (audits just make sure all the monies are accounted for -- even if *how* they were actually used is unspecified). And, until you've been "under the hood", you don't really understand where the monies go, in practice. E.g., I can call someone a "program manager" and treat their salary/compensation as part of "program expenses". Regardless of what those day-to-day duties actually entail. On a 990, it looks like those monies are going to The Program (mission). If I call them a Marketing Director, then their same salary is considered "overhead" -- even if they are performing the same duties! When many donors look at the "percent overhead" figure, you can see which way of titling employees makes most sense! What charities are good at is perpetuating themselves. They provide jobs for some number of employees -- who typically aren't targeted as part of the mission being addressed by the organization! A local group essentially just accepts (cash) donations and redistributes them to their "clients". I.e., they are, basically, a "payroll department" in terms of functionality. But, it takes 20+ people to do this?? (I've never worked at a place that had 20 folks in HR, let alone "payroll"!) Local charities tend to be more efficient in terms of getting "donations" into the "mission". But, their quality varies greatly, over time. National organizations tend to have more consistency but higher overheads. Give in ignorance and tell yourself you're doing something worthwhile. Or, actually spend some time looking at the organization to decide if your donation would be more effective somewhere else. [I met a couple at a dinner party and got into a discussion of charities. They told me which local ones they regularly underwrote. I naively asked them what the charities *did* with their donations. After stumbling for a bit, they rattled off some things -- that they THOUGHT the charities would be doing. They were chagrined when I told them what actually happened *inside* those organizations as I'd first-hand experience with them (and could name their staff, titles, etc. from memory). Forget what I've just told you if you want to maintain your ignorance. Look, first-hand, if you disbelieve me. But, don't be naive enough to ASK them what they're doing because they'll just continue to "make you feel good" with whatever half-truths they think will appease you]