Friday, June 5, 2015

Judging Worthy Causes

It was only last week that I warned about how unscientific thinking, especially about health issues, and other unwise spending on frivolous items leads to a waste of money that, if invested conservatively, could mean the difference between a relatively comfortable and a relatively stressful retirement.  Those decisions are usually matters of discipline, the ability to delay gratification, or perspective, the ability to distinguish the important from the trivial – necessities from luxuries.

Now comes the case of a few crooked cancer charities that prey on our critical thinking and a tendency to let emotional responses override or derail our better judgment.

“The Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general in all 50 states and the District of Columbia announced Tuesday they have filed a lawsuit against the Cancer Fund of America, Children's Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services and the Breast Cancer Society alleging they violated federal and state regulations. All four charities are run by members of the same family or their close business associates, as detailed in the 2013 "America's Worst Charities" joint report from the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting.”  These four are accused of cheating contributors to the tune of $187 million.

They paid 85% of the money raised to professional fundraisers, spent much of the rest on salaries and entertainment for the executives and employees, leaving only 3% to the causes they claimed to support.  There are also allegations of questionable, even deceptive, accounting practices.  As a result, they collected and frittered away almost $200 million that could have been used by other honest charities to fight for these important causes.

See how easily people can be swayed by the appeals that use breast cancer and children’s cancer to get us giving without investigating.  On one hand it shows how caring and generous many Americans are, on the other hand it reinforces the need to be so careful, to investigate, to use our critical thinking, before committing time and money to worthy-sounding causes designed to tug at our heartstrings as a path to our wallets.

Note:  Here is one or two charity evaluation websites.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Click again on the title to add a comment