How can Organizations be trusted to do what they are promising?

“Much to the horror of many human rights activists, Invisible Children is not known for spreading accurate information as much as it’s known for spreading information widely.”

This is a quote I pulled out of an Article in the Huffington Post. It critiques the Invisible Children Organization and shows the way it has spread its message through manipulation of its audiences and by using a youth front to hide their true intentions as an organization.

Here is a link if you wanna read it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danah-boyd/post_3126_b_1345782.htmli

Something that this article made me think about that is related is how do you know when you can trust a particular organization or charity to do what it claims to and not be a scam. Think of all of those commercials we see with the guilt-tripping guy showing all the starving kids.

I always get sad and want to help and can’t help but wonder if we can trust them and which ones you can trust. How do you really truly know that your money is saving a the kid for a dollar a day. I hate to think the world is that corrupt but when you think that alot of those kinds or organizations in particular are likely out of the country.

Think about those sad Sarah Mclachlan commercials with the dogs that are abused.

Are they taking  advantage or sympathetic people that want to help to a small part in saving dogs or children. or to donate a certain charity/organization?

How can we ever know for certain where our money is going exactly? Do companies  actually do the things they say and what ways can we track our donations to certain organizations?

Are you guys optimistic or cynical when it comes to organizations and charities that claim to help people, animals etc. ? Or do you believe that most are legit programs that help people?

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18 thoughts on “How can Organizations be trusted to do what they are promising?

  1. I believe it is the responsibility of charitable contributors to ensue they are giving their money to legitimate organizations. Just as we would hold people accountable to who they give or don’t give money to while walking down the street, at church or to the person knocking at their door, we should hold themselves accountable to who they give money to over the phone or online. If they are concerned about who they are giving to there are a myriad of ways to ascertain the legitimacy of a charitable organization. If a giver doesn’t have time or doesn’t think it important enough to validate the organization, then it is their fault if they were victim to a scam. If an organization hasn’t sought to become certified and as a result realizes fewer gifts, that too is their fault. Except for cases were vulnerable classes of people are targeted for fraud (elderly or young) then I think it should be buyer beware.

  2. These organizations are taking advantage of human sympathy in order to receive donations, but I do not think it is wrong to play on those emotions, considering their main goal is to acquire as much money as they possibly can.

    It can be difficult to track where the money used for donations is going, but any decent organization will show those who donate what their money is being used for.

    I am slightly cynical when it comes to the use of charities. Only because there have been so many that have misused the funds of those who donate o a global scale. Some are legit some ar enot, the individual must do the research.

  3. I wouldnt say these organizations are taking advantage of sympathetic people, but it is a mood changer when your watching tv and then these commercials come on. I mean I’m sure everyone wants to help, but in their own way. I think the only way to know exactly where your money is going is to demand proof that your money really is helping these children or animals from harm. I mean if you never see it how are you supposed to believe it? I think it all depends on the program itself. Some i believe are truly made to help people, while others I don’t think help people at all. I mean if one of these huge organizations was to scam people though, I’m sure someone would have already found out.

  4. I don’t think we really can know for certain where our money is going, we may think we know but unless we create our own organization we really won’t know. I’m honestly not sure if companies actually do the things they say. A good way to track your donation would be to hand deliver it, this way you know where your money is going.

    I am optimistic when it comes to organizations and charities that claim to help people. Whenever a disaster happens like a hurricane, I think it’s good to donate to the Red Cross because we know that they are really helping. I do believe that most of the organizations out there help people, but I’m sure there are a few that claim to help and they really don’t.

  5. Honestly, I never gave it too much thought. I always change the channel when those commercials come on, because I can’t bear to watch them. I do sort of believe that they are scamming us. I don’t have the money to donate either way right now, but if I did, I would definitely do tons of research on the charity to which I am donating, beforehand. Better yet, I would volunteer with them — because there’s no getting duped there.

    I’m sure you’ve heard of the charity “Purple Heart.” I heard that they ask you to donate your old cars, so that they can give them to the underprivileged, but in reality they just sell them! What’s worse is not knowing the legitimacy of these rumors, I think. Because one rumor could ruin a wholesome charity’s reputation, regardless of it’s legitimacy.

  6. I think a lot of you make good points. I do think it is the responsibility of the person donating to do their homework and find out these kinds of details. I agree that they do prey on human sympathy and also agree that it is not a terrible thing because if it gets more people to donate to charity then I guess it works out in the end. My main question is do you think the people that actually donate do this research?

  7. I tend to do my homework before I donate to any charitable institutions. Some well known organizations give little of the funds collected to the actual charities they represent using the majority of funds collected on CEO salaries or on managing costs. But not all charities are equal there are some really good ones out there, but one must be diligent about which ones the want to donate to. The best bet is to pick of couple that you are passionate about and do a little research on them.

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/charities.asp

  8. Of course these organizations are playing on the sympathy of emotional people. They would not be doing their jobs very well if they weren’t. The goal is to raise money to help achieve their goals, if that means playing on your emotions then play away. If you cannot control your emotions enough to not donate then shame on you not them.

    The problem with these organizations is that the money is hard to track. The most upright of them will post the information about the money they receive, and how they are spending it, but it is not hard to manipulate that kind of data through shell corporations. I am vary cynical when it comes to trusting a nonprofit to spend the money in the ways that they say they will. By law only a tiny amount of donations have to be spent to achieve their goals. The rest of the money pays salaries and is spent to raise more money. I think the most upstanding charity is the Red Cross, don’t get me wrong I am sure they are dirty but they seem to do the most good with the money that they spend.

  9. Great post. I am poor so I don’t do much giving but, when I do I always dig deep to find out about the organization’s administrative fees. I’ve heard that most charities exist to make philanthropists look good. This assertion seems entirely plausible to me. We should lobby for legislation to require all charitable organizations to display their administrative fees up front and center. Oh wait, I can’t be a lobbyist I have a conscience.

  10. I think it’s hard for people to track exactly where there money is going once they donate it, but they can be sure on what charity they donate it too. There are plenty of websites and articles that rate charities, so be sure to always check up on them before you donate. Not every charity donates all of the money they receive to the cause, so generally I think the higher that percentage is, the better. I’m sure that some people feel bad when they see those animal commercials and they immediately want to donate, but there are better ways to help animals like adopting them from a shelter. Just like other charities, people can volunteer instead of just donating money.

  11. I think that these commercials are not taking advantage of anyone; they are simply attempting to hit a soft spot in the hearts of people. It’s a form of marketing and if they were to be criticized for their method then who’s to say others shouldn’t be. The only way for us to know for certain where our charity money is going is by us asking and doing our research. Sure we are all naturally naive and like to think that we can just donate and that’s good enough, but the reality is that most of the money we give to these charities doesn’t go where we would like it to go. Personally I am skeptical of these organizations.

  12. I am quite neutral. Although I would love to feel that organizations are truly helping people with funds I’m not fit certain this is accurate. The people whom call your home asking for donations are obvious trying to have you give money but who pays the csr? Where does their salary come from? Is it deducted from donations. I often feel they are scams. I know that some charities do donate and hope that illegitimate services close down, so many people are truly in need of assistance and should be assisted with donated funds

  13. I do think that sometimes these organizations have good advertising skills in which they know how to get people to give. They are pretty convincing. Well your second question is interesting. Unless we ourselves are a part of the charity and running it, we never know exactly where our money is going. It is sort of a hopeful thing. One wishes the charity has the best intentions and donates the largest possible percentage of proceeds. I think for a person who wants to donate, they should really do some research into the charity. Luckily, in our modern world, it is easy to search and find out the truth on a company. Though, sometimes it might take a little digging. I am generally an optimistic person and I do like to think that these charities are doing a good deed in helping. I am not naïve to the fact that not 100% of proceeds will always make it to those in need, but I do believe in the good of people in creating these. I do believe most of these are legit, but one should always do their research first.

  14. You are spot on with the abused animal commercials. As a huge animal lover, I find that I cannot watch the commercials and must either turn away or change the channel when they come on. I feel like they are nothing but a guilt trip to make us donate to their organization, especially when they use celebrity endorsements and horribly sad songs to attract our attention.
    I always feel that the organizations that use celebrity endorsement are saying to us, “Hey look at us! We have the money to pay this actor to make you feel guilty and donate to us. We’re better than the rest!” Personally, I’d rather donate to a local organization that I can see helping animals or doing whatever their cause is. These big name organizations are always reeling us in with cheap gimmicks and telling us how little it costs to donate. However, we never really see what they do with the money? Does it go to the animals, or the children, or the rescue places? We don’t know because we never see it.
    My thing is, if you have enough money to pay an actor to appear in commercials for your organization, why not use that money to actually help the cause you’re fighting for? I feel like they can use their money better elsewhere, instead of suckering all of us into donating our money for some unknown cause with sad songs and depressing pictures of hurting animals.

  15. The money you donate passes through a lot of hands before it reaches the goal you intend it too, that is certain. Not everyone can be an activist but people want to help, and it’s easy to exploit that desire. All the organizations have to do is flash a couple of heart wrenching photos to grab your attention and suddenly you’re grabbing you checkbook. When you donate money to feed kids in Africa, what is your money doing? Can’t the food companies themselves just donate the food, and take a loss? They ask you to take the loss. It’s not like they’re throwing the supplies into a boat and rowing across the ocean. They put it in a plane. Planes can be expensive, which is why they ask for the money. But with so much money just floating around it can seem tempting to maybe use something for a little extra, first class maybe? I hate to use the “if you want something done right…” line, but I think it’s true when helping charities. Build a house. Adopt a child. Take care of an animal. They say money can’t buy happiness, it really can’t buy away unhappiness either.

  16. Knowledge and research is key in trusting any company or organization. Invisible Children takes advantage of the likelihood of youth to give credibility without much thought or research. They assume that if it is online and well put together, it must be true. As long as the message falls into their latitude of acceptance, any semi-ambitious youth will be all in. If we want to be sure our money is going to a good cause, look up supporting information online, and maybe even visit a local branch of that charity if it exists (or speak on the phone with a representative).

    I lean towards optimism in that many organizations do exist to help others or support a cause. While I believe very few to be entirely altruistic, I would feel secure that my money was being used for what they claimed to use it for, as long as I have done research on the organization.

  17. When it comes to donating to a certain cause I always rely on how reputable and well known the organization is. It’s true that there are a number of organizations that have preyed on the kindness of others to garner a profit, and that is why this discussion is important. Doing your research is fundamentally important because it will determine whether or not your money will actually reach the person you intend it to help. For example I always feel secure when donating to fundraisers that are sponsored or run the Red Cross or United Nations, simply based on their reputation and history.

    As for the commercials, they are made to evoke a certain emotion that leads us to act. I don’t necessarily find it to be wrong unless the marketing is portraying a false view on the situation or cause.

  18. I always research a charity as much as possible before giving them my money. I think it’s sad that people need to be cynical when it comes to donating money. I hate how these “bandwagon” organizations like the Invisible Children Organization exploit people into donating.

    I think the best thing you can do is to donate in person! That way you know where the money is going. For example, if you’re into helping animals, donate pet food and supplies or your time to the humane society, rather than giving money to an organization you know nothing about. I think that’s the best way. 🙂

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