Knowledge Feels Good - And Makes A Difference!

Charity, Scams, Wasted MoneyThe first principle of Eliminate The Muda is invest in yourself. Only by gaining knowledge and then using it can we learn to improve our lives, be more efficient, manage our money better and waste less.

Today I had another one of those calls from a fund raiser. The polite young man immediately and graciously thanked me for my previous contribution (which I never made) to his organization. He then began the spiel…

Before he got too far I interrupted him and asked, “Do you work for this charitable organization or are you a vendor that just collects money for them”

Following the law, he admitted that his company simply manages the “entire collection process” for said charity.

I then inquired, “out of every dollar, how much actually goes to the recipients?”

He was proud to claim that a “full .67 cents out of every dollar goes to helping build shelters, provide food…. “

I interrupted again to ask, out of the .67 cents how much actually goes to those that need it and how much actually goes to management of that charity?

This was a question that he could not answer. hmmm, don’t you think this would be a question they would be prepared for?

At this point, with a big grin on my face I pointed out that if I just sent a check directly to the charity in question at least 33% more money would be available to help the needy.

“Sorry boss but there is little chance I will ever give any of my money to charity organization/vendor that will waste so much of it.”

I wish I could recall what blog or post I learned that these telemarketers for charities were obligated to disclose their fee structure when asked. It would be nice to give credit where credit is due. Either way I know this year that a lot more of my monetary donation will be put to the use it is intended for as a result.

If you are going to donate money to an organization, please take the time to make sure that the money is being well spent. Look up the charity with one of the organizations that tracks and report their effectiveness. Here are few sources that may help you make better donation decisions:
Better Business Bureau
American Institute of Philanthropy

Who do you donate your money, merchandise or time to?

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photo by Daquella manera

8 comments to Knowledge Feels Good – And Makes A Difference!

  • Holy Cow! Wait…I mean good grief, I am not calling anyone a cow, sacred or otherwise, but good golly, I did not know about these organizations and I have been recommending a group on my blog for donations to Haiti and now I have to go check them out, thank you! This is timely because in my efforts to become a debt free, conscious consumer, I have recently set an actual budget for charity, which may seem normal for some, but I have been operating a bit behind the curve, I think.

    I just discovered your blog through a comment you made at Planting Dollars, and I have now added you to my list of daily visits. Thanks you for that, too. Lots of good stuff here.


  • The LeanLifeCoach

    What really got me excited about a “Lean” approach towards life is that it maximizes the value of your money and your time. Why waste any of it if we can help it. That goes for charity as well!

    Thanks for stopping in!

  • This is a timely post with the earthquake crisis and charity organisations are asking for donation. 33% to the management is just greedy and/or inefficient. Most of the legitimate charities I know would send at least 80% to their projects. Obviously people who work for non-profit organisations need to be compensated properly, but let’s not go overboard here. I read their annual reports too to see whether my donation has been used as claimed.
    .-= Bytta @151 Days Off´s last blog ..Day 7: Eight Random Things About Me (And Some Homework) =-.

  • LeanLifeCoach

    Unfortunately, learning about all the waste in the world of charities and donations has made me much more skeptical. I’d be much more open to giving and giving more if I had more confidence that all the money was being well managed!
    .-= LeanLifeCoach´s last blog ..Get Control with Plan – Do – Check – Act =-.

  • Wasn’t aware their fees were so steep. I’m too poor to make their call list, so I’ll remember this in the future.

    I wouldn’t be able to do that guys job. I wonder how he motivates himself to do it everyday.
    .-= Ryan @ Planting Dollars´s last blog ..Home Mortgage Calculators, 5 Ways to Workout Your Abode’ =-.

  • The LeanLifeCoach

    Ryan… No body is too poor to contribute… they just haven’t found you… yet!

  • LLC –
    I’ve seen you around other blogs (I was under my name Jesse) and am finally getting around to commenting on your own site. It seems like the themes I am focusing on: optimization & education parlay nicely into your own beliefs.

    I actually did a similar article on this very same topic. With the onslaught of donations going to Haiti, I cautioned readers on some things to watch out for before contributing.

    Without delving into too much detail, its amazing how profitable “non-profits” actually are. To be clear, charities do require some overhead to perform their functions, but the MAJORITY of the money should be going to the source. This is why donating your time (when plausible) is better than donating money.

  • The LeanLifeCoach

    FinEngr – Good point, we should remember that these companies are technically called not-for-profit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t or shouldn’t have profits. The bigger question potential donors should ask is what is being done with those profits.