We’d all love to think that when we donate our hard-earned cash to a charity that it is going to good use. In an ideal world, that 50 bucks really is going directly to those children with cleft palates, but the fact of the matter is that we don’t live in an ideal world. Many charities like to appear as though they’re doing good, when in reality, they are for-profit organizations that are misallocating funds. Let’s examine the best and worst charities so you can be sure to put your money where it is going to count.
1) THE KIDS WISH NETWORK: Modeled after the Make-a-Wish foundation, which raises money to help terminally ill kids make their dreams come true, the Kids Wish Network is a poor imitation. This is rated as one of the worst charities in the country because it has shown that it only puts 3 cents of every dollar towards actually helping kids do fun things, like going to Disneyland or Space Camp. In fact, this organization pumps a staggering $110 million of donated funds into their for-profit corporate fundraisers. Even the CEO of the Kids Wish Network managed to rake-in $4.8 million from their shady fundraising practices. Kids Wish also managed to get in trouble with the IRS in 2011 when they failed to properly disclose payouts, prompting them to hire a ‘crisis manager’ to release a shady public statement about the organization’s ‘focus on the future’.
2) THE SALVATION ARMY: You heard that right, the Salvation Army is a mecca for thrift store shoppers, but you want to think twice about donating goods to their stores or giving monetary donations. Don’t let the benign bell-ringers on the street fool you, the Salvation Army is incredibly homophobic, and openly so, preaching anti-gay messages on their website and giving money to lobbying efforts focused on undermining the LGBT community. In fact, this organization is so homophobic that in 2004 they threatened to close NYC soup kitchens that were serving same-sexed couples. According to the Salvation Army, supporting these couples is like supporting the spread of AIDS.
3) CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL: The aim of this amazing environmental organization is to protect human wellbeing by ensuring healthy oceans, a stable climate, and fresh water. Through their fieldwork in over 40 countries Conservation International has studied how human and economic development can affect natural habitats, and this includes grasslands, rainforests, watersheds and the ocean. From their findings they work to increase awareness in local, national, and global governing. Every $15 donated to Conservation International will help to protect an acre of tropical rainforest. Now, that’s you’re money really put to work.
4) GLOBALGIVING FOUNDATION: The aim of the GlobalGiving Foundation is to connect benefactors with people who seek to make substantial improvements in their communities, and across the globe. This tremendous organization provides an online marketplace where small groups can solicit funds for their causes. This can be anything from providing toys and clothing to orphanages in China to building neighborhood gyms in the U.S. The rapid growth of this nine-year-old group is a testament to its success, and in 2011, $55 million in grants were given to more than 4,800 grassroots projects.