Where exactly do charity donations go?

Before I go on, I want to stress that I am suggesting in the slightest that any charity here in St. Thomas is like this and it isn’t aimed at any particular charity. Hopefully that should stop some of the hate mail anyway!

SPCA International is a non profit organization that runs a global animal rescue. It has over 13,000 friends on Facebook, and on it’s website boasts about it’s Operation Baghdad Pups. There are stories, information, pictures and ways to donate all there for you to see. It looks like a very good charity to donate a few hard earned dollars to.

There is one slight problem though, according to CNN, $14 million was raised by SPCA in 2012 but only about $60,000 made it to animal shelters. Another $5450,000 was used to bring back animals from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The rest of the money went towards fund raising, including paying a large sum to a direct mail firm.

There is non profit and then there is really non profit!

So much money is raised for charity but once the cheque has been handed over, how do the fund raisers really know where their money is going? A lot of charities are run by mainly volunteers who are willing to spend their time contributing to a cause they believe in. There are other charities that are large organizations which require full time personnel to run it. It is understandable that these people must be paid for their work and any donors would agree with that but how many would agree if they found out that the CEO or President of the company had a salary of six figures?

World Vision is a good charity to support but between Oct 2009 and Sept 2010, their president made close to $500,000. Based upon the $1 that is suggested on their website, $500,000 could feed, educate and care for over 1300 children for a year. On the World Vision website, it does state that 85 percent of World Visions total operating expenses were used for programs that benefit children, families and communities in need. How operating expenses are different to donations is not made clear.

How does that affect those volunteers who work tirelessly for free only to discover that a large amount of money is paid to someone at the top of the organization? When does it become too much? While there is obviously a lot of work done to keep a charity running smoothly, being paid a six figure salary seems to be a sick joke. When you have tens, hundreds, even thousands of volunteers who give up their evenings, weekends, and nights to help with no thought of financial gain it is wrong to have someone who probably works a 9 to 5 job and takes home so much money.

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