America's Worst Charities - Radiant

The Radiant Blog

America's Worst Charities

Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg

Money Changing Hands

In my online travels this morning, I hit on the CNN website just to see what the big news was coming out their offices in Atlanta today...

Turns out, it was very blog worthy.

CNN is highlighting a research report on the 50 Worst Charities in America. The report itself can be found by clicking here.

But for ease of access, I'll highlight the top 3 here:
  • Kids Wish Network - Out of $127.8 million raised by solicitors, it paid those solicitors $109.8 million.
  • Cancer Fund of America - Out of $98 million raised by solicitors, it paid those solicitors $80.4 million.
  • Children's Wish Foundation - Out of $96.8 million raised by solicitors, it paid those solicitors $63.6 million.
Those numbers are staggering. So staggering that it's quite frankly impossible to imagine any kind of spin that could make those numbers acceptable in any way. And it's at that point, that if you stop and think about it, you end up asking, how can people do this? How, in the name of charity and good will, can a group of people waste that amount of money?

As daunting as that question may seem, the answer is probably fairly simple. Either, they never established a good reason for why they do what they do, or they forgot to touch base with it and let it help them make decisions. There's simply no other explanation for an organization to do something like this in a culture that is as connected, and as demanding of financial accountability of the charities they donate to.

This is why I love organizations like charity: water. Their "100% Model" was, and remains, at the core of how they do what they do. It's also an example of a creative and effective solution to entirely remove the operational costs of their organization from the equation. Frankly, it doesn't matter how much it costs them to do what they do, as a donor, the dollars you donate are going to the people you want it to go to. That said, you can bet that they are accountable to their private investors. It's a better model.

And we need more of that kind of creative problem solving. We need more passion for people and relationship and less for money and gain. We need leaders who are willing to do the hard things to not only make their organization accountable, but just plain do what they say they do better and better every day.