- You get a post card in the mail saying a local charity is doing pick ups in your area on a certain date...
- You get a phone call asking for donations from someone who has all the right answers and sounds legit....
- You have boxes of clothing and household goods you want to donate but you want to make sure it's going to actually help someone and not be sold by the ton by a company as 'scraps' to a 3rd world country...
- You have a vehicle you'd like to donate but don't know which charities are true and honest....
If you're like me you've been in one, more or all of the above situations and now, more than EVER before in history, it's difficult to know which charities are honest and actually give to those who need it instead of lining the pockets of the people who started it.
About 1 1/2 years ago we moved across country to a new city and state. Our previous home was near a really great, clean, well run and large GoodWill store so that made donations quick and easy! If I had larger items to donate, like furniture, I had 2 trustworthy companies (one was a woman's shelter) that would come and pick up the items. I knew who I was dealing with and knew I wasn't helping the scammer businessmen and women to buy another house, another boat or another luxury car.
Over the past year I've wanted to donate 3 or 4 times but each time, after a couple hours doing research, I've been disappointed with the information I found and put it on the 'back burner' to deal with later. The nearest GoodWill is about 30 miles away and they are small in size, accept donations out of a trailer parked next to the building and they don't accept furniture because they are too small to handle. The Salvation Army has a donation site about 20 minutes from me but it's a trailer parked in a parking lot and is only 'sometimes' manned by a human. Not only do I want to leave my things with a human, but I want the receipt for tax purposes. Plus, I have a large living room chair in perfect condition to donate and I don't have the space to bring it there myself... nor would I want it left out in the rain nor access to insects and rodents before someone comes to 'man' the trailer.
Another fly in the ointment; we have an older model, working car that we would love to donate to a charity but my gracious! Finding an honest charity has me pulling my hair out in frustrations!
These days unscrupulous people have discovered the art of starting up their own charity (EASY to do) and then using it as their own 'business' to finance themselves and their family and friends while spending mere pennies on the dollar to actually help anyone but themselves.
One of the worst? Kids Wish Network. Sounds kind of like the Make a Wish charity doesn't it? Yep. They planned it that way.
The worst charity in America operates from a metal warehouse behind a gas station in Holiday, Florida.
Every year, Kids Wish Network raises millions of dollars in donations in the name of dying children and their families.Every year, it spends less than 3 cents on the dollar helping kids.Most of the rest gets diverted to enrich the charity's operators and the for-profit companies Kids Wish hires to drum up donations.In the past decade alone, Kids Wish has channeled nearly $110 million donated for sick children to its corporate solicitors. An additional $4.8 million has gone to pay the charity's founder and his own consulting firms. No charity in the nation has siphoned more money away from the needy over a longer period of time.
Even as they plead for financial support, operators at many of the 50 worst charities have lied to donors about where their money goes, taken multiple salaries, secretly paid themselves consulting fees or arranged fund-raising contracts with friends. One cancer charity paid a company owned by the president's son nearly $18 million over eight years to solicit funds. A medical charity paid its biggest research grant to its president's own for-profit company.
To disguise the meager amount of money that reaches those in need,
charities use accounting tricks and inflate the value
of donated dollar-store cast-offs - snack cakes and air fresheners -
that they give to dying cancer patients and homeless veterans.
Think a 'well known' charity HAS to be on the up and up? Think again.
For eight years, American Breast Cancer Foundation paid Joseph Wolf's telemarketing company to generate donations.
His mother, Phyllis Wolf, had founded the Baltimore-based charity and was its president until she was forced to resign in 2010.
While she ran the charity, her son's company, Non Profit Promotions, collected $18 million in telemarketing fees.
Phyllis Wolf left the charity after the payments to her son attracted media attention in 2010. The charity has since stopped using telemarketers, including Joseph Wolf's.
America's 50 Worst CharitiesAs investigated by Center for Investigative Reporting and Tampa Bay Times
The 50 worst, ranked by money blown on soliciting costsTotals from the latest 10 years of available federal tax filings
|Rank||Charity name||Total raised by solicitors||Paid to solicitors||% spent on direct cash aid|
|1||Kids Wish Network||$127.8 million||$109.8 million||2.5%|
|2||Cancer Fund of America||$98.0 million||$80.4 million||0.9%|
|3||Children's Wish Foundation International||$96.8 million||$63.6 million||10.8%|
|4||American Breast Cancer Foundation||$80.8 million||$59.8 million||5.3%|
|5||Firefighters Charitable Foundation||$63.8 million||$54.7 million||8.4%|
|6||Breast Cancer Relief Foundation||$63.9 million||$44.8 million||2.2%|
|7||International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO||$57.2 million||$41.4 million||0.5%|
|8||National Veterans Service Fund||$70.2 million||$36.9 million||7.8%|
|9||American Association of State Troopers||$45.0 million||$36.0 million||8.6%|
|10||Children's Cancer Fund of America||$37.5 million||$29.2 million||5.3%|
|11||Children's Cancer Recovery Foundation||$34.7 million||$27.6 million||0.6%|
|12||Youth Development Fund||$29.7 million||$24.5 million||0.8%|
|13||Committee For Missing Children||$26.9 million||$23.8 million||0.8%|
|14||Association for Firefighters and Paramedics||$23.2 million||$20.8 million||3.1%|
|15||Project Cure (Bradenton, FL)||$51.5 million||$20.4 million||0.0%|
|16||National Caregiving Foundation||$22.3 million||$18.1 million||3.5%|
|17||Operation Lookout National Center for Missing Youth||$19.6 million||$16.1 million||0.0%|
|18||United States Deputy Sheriffs' Association||$23.1 million||$15.9 million||0.6%|
|19||Vietnow National Headquarters||$18.1 million||$15.9 million||2.9%|
|20||Police Protective Fund||$34.9 million||$14.8 million||0.8%|
|21||National Cancer Coalition||$41.5 million||$14.0 million||1.1%|
|22||Woman To Woman Breast Cancer Foundation||$14.5 million||$13.7 million||0.4%|
|23||American Foundation For Disabled Children||$16.4 million||$13.4 million||0.8%|
|24||The Veterans Fund||$15.7 million||$12.9 million||2.3%|
|25||Heart Support of America||$33.0 million||$11.0 million||3.4%|
|26||Veterans Assistance Foundation||$12.2 million||$11.0 million||10.5%|
|27||Children's Charity Fund||$14.3 million||$10.5 million||2.3%|
|28||Wishing Well Foundation USA||$12.4 million||$9.8 million||4.6%|
|29||Defeat Diabetes Foundation||$13.8 million||$8.3 million||0.1%|
|30||Disabled Police Officers of America Inc.||$10.3 million||$8.1 million||2.5%|
|31||National Police Defense Foundation||$9.9 million||$7.8 million||5.8%|
|32||American Association of the Deaf & Blind||$10.3 million||$7.8 million||0.1%|
|33||Reserve Police Officers Association||$8.7 million||$7.7 million||1.1%|
|34||Optimal Medical Foundation||$7.9 million||$7.6 million||1.0%|
|35||Disabled Police and Sheriffs Foundation||$9.0 million||$7.6 million||1.0%|
|36||Disabled Police Officers Counseling Center||$8.2 million||$6.9 million||0.1%|
|37||Children's Leukemia Research Association||$9.8 million||$6.8 million||11.1%|
|38||United Breast Cancer Foundation||$11.6 million||$6.6 million||6.3%|
|39||Shiloh International Ministries||$8.0 million||$6.2 million||1.3%|
|40||Circle of Friends For American Veterans||$7.8 million||$5.7 million||6.5%|
|41||Find the Children||$7.6 million||$5.0 million||5.7%|
|42||Survivors and Victims Empowered||$7.7 million||$4.8 million||0.0%|
|43||Firefighters Assistance Fund||$5.6 million||$4.6 million||3.2%|
|44||Caring for Our Children Foundation||$4.7 million||$4.1 million||1.6%|
|45||National Narcotic Officers Associations Coalition||$4.8 million||$4.0 million||0.0%|
|46||American Foundation for Children With AIDS||$5.2 million||$3.0 million||0.0%|
|47||Our American Veterans||$2.6 million||$2.3 million||2.3%|
|48||Roger Wyburn-Mason & Jack M Blount Foundation For Eradication of Rheumatoid Disease||$8.4 million||$1.8 million||0.0%|
|49||Firefighters Burn Fund||$2.0 million||$1.7 million||1.5%|
|50||Hope Cancer Fund||$1.9 million||$1.6 million||0.5%|
In the end, I still don't have a plan. Part of me is saying "I just want to call someone, anyone, who is willing to come pick up my donations so I can be rid of them, know that someone, somewhere, somehow might possibly be helped by my donations and be done with it" but the other part of me is a bit feisty and frustrated and is willing to spend a few more hours doing my homework to find a GOOD, REPUTABLE, HONEST company that will accept my clothing, furniture, household items and yes, even our older model car... and make sure it gets to people who are truly in need of these useful items.
Excuse me while I go tear my hair out a bit more!