Saturday, May 31, 2014

Greedy Nonprofits? The Campaign to get "Big Charity"

Of course, big is always bad in Rainbow Unicorn Land where the folk who fancy themselves the non-one percenters dwell. The chart above is circulating the Internet and it's absolutely full of crap. It targets charity powerhouses like the Red Cross, Goodwill and March of Dimes.

It seems there is a concerted effort going on to take down some of the bigger charities like the Red Cross and United Way and especially Goodwill. Notice they don't mention the Sierra Club, World Wildlife Federation, Greenpeace or Harvard University - notable lefty favorites whose directors aren't exactly struggling to make ends meet. It's all a huge scam designed to distort the record and "take down" what the people who go around spouting about Big Oil and Big Pharma and Big Ag think is another "Big" conspiracy against the little guys. And it's another load of BS. Truth is that these guys they are attacking are essential help for the little guys and without them a lot of little guys would be in a very bad way.

Take MARCH of Dimes, which they claim doesn't give the money to "the needy". March of Dimes has never given money to the needy. They never pretended to. March of Dimes donations go to research to prevent birth defects and premature births. And yes, Virginia, the physicians and scientist who are paid to do this research do get paid more than $13,0000.

These clowns that are trying to take down "Big Charity" are largely progressive socialists and, of course, they would rather you abort the "fetus" and simply try again later. They certainly would object to wasting money on trying to actually save babies and prevent birth defects and stillbirths. 

United Way helps primarily small local charities which address local issues. United Way provides valuable fund-raising support for charities who can't afford a big development department and would rather do the work than spend half their time throwing golf tournaments and garage sales. I've worked with United Way and they really do provide essential support for small charities. Without UW, many smaller targeted charities simply couldn't exist. AND They can do this BECAUSE THEY ARE SO DAMNED BIG. 

Goodwill helps people with developmental disabilities to have a job and earn their own money so they are not totally dependent on an allowance from their moms or from state programs. The do VERY good work. It's true their "employees" don't make a living wage. That's because most are on disability and can't afford to make even a tiny bit too much or they lose their government support. Most have serious developmental problems and could hold no other job in a competitive business. If they work hard they make better pay depending on their ability in many Goodwill run workshops and industries. This allows them to pay for recreation, personal things and other "extras" beyond the subsistence level income and support they get from Uncle Sam and the state. And their so-called "facts" about Goodwill are very badly distorted.

The fact that a nonprofit CEO doesn't take a salary or that 100% of your donations go to this or that "program doesn't mean some donor isn't paying someone a salary to manage the program. Even six figure CEOs of nonprofits are very likely to receive a salary rather lower than what a CEO in the private sector would get to manage a company of the same side. And most receive WAY below what a government bureaucrat gets paid by taxpayers for the same job or one with far less responsibility - that is if anyone in government civil service ever is held responsible for anything they do.

Scripture says, "The laborer is worthy of his hire." Not every nonprofit CEO is a trust fund baby and can write off a salary or take some ridiculously low paycheck. The Red Cross president is managing a company with an annual budget in the hundreds of millions. She makes that happen year after year and the Red Cross gets a lot more bang for the buck out of her salary than some of the "good charities" listed below do, though all of them might be quite good charities themselves and do lots of good..

And some of the ones with ridiculously low CEO salaries or guarantees that 100% of your donation goes to programs simply set up the books so that admin costs are covered by an endowment or a generous donor. Their people get paid.

St. Jude's staff, for instance, do get paid, don't kid yourself and paid well. They live off an endowment for admin costs that Danny Thomas raised for them years ago.  AND the docs' and nurses' paychecks are actually, part of what your donations go toward. So they can say with all honest that 100% of YOUR donations go to "fight childhood cancer". They don't say 100% of everyone's donation does. There's nothing wrong with that. They are simply creating a donation path where you can pay what you want to and screw those nasty old administrators.

Many CEOs that receive $0 paychecks are figureheads only (so they can say they don't get paid and the real work gets done by underlings). Some CEOs are paid by other entities and serve as head of a charity as well. Many have relatively little to do, but it looks good that they don't get paid. Some CEOs are retired rich guys (one percenters - the kind the president wants to take all their money from to make things "equitable").

This list is really deceptive and should not be trusted. The only way to find out if a charity is a good one is to get involved with it and find out if they do good work or not.

Just sayin' (and I have 4 decades' experience in the nonprofit sector).

© 2014 by Tom King

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