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Which Charity should I donate to?

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bigfreddielbigfreddiel
4.3K posts
Which charities cream off the least of your donation toward running costs and paying their staff?

In particular I wish to donate to children and/or animals - I already donate to the smile train - they fix kids with facial problems.

Any advice welcom

cheers
fj
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Replies

  • COOLTRIKERCHICKCOOLTRIKERCHICK Forumite
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    If you wanted to donate to an animal charity, i would say go for a local one, and donate food etc rather than money..

    It is really hard, as the majority of well known charities pay VERY high wages to their managers etc...

    sorry i cant help you with the % of your donation goes on admin etc...

    I suport a local charity, i dont give money, i give them what they need/use
    Work to live= not live to work
  • edited 26 September 2010 at 8:26PM
    longforgottenlongforgotten Forumite
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    edited 26 September 2010 at 8:26PM
    It's very unfortunate but although I give to various charities I cannot say I trust them to spend the money as I would wish.

    My husband worked in the admin dept of a charity, part of his work was dealing with the purchase of company cars for employees. You would not believe what the employees were expecting the charity to buy for them, high spec. cars with all the extras, would get the hump if they didn't get what they wanted. I had foolishly thought that the employees would be happy to just have a vehicle that got them from A to B, they're working for a charity after all. What's worse the charity agreed to buy them the vehicles :eek:. Why would they ever need to have such expensive cars. If someone turned up from a charity in a flash car it would end up a charity I would definitely not give to.

    It has coloured my view on charities but if we don't give what happens then ?

    I give to animal rescue charity by spotting bargains for food etc and dropping it off at the centre.
  • xrjtgxrjtg Forumite
    600 posts
    It's American, and might not be quite what you're looking for for other reasons, but you might still be interested in GiveWell.

    Practically, I'd agree with the advice to help small organisations in specific ways if you can.
  • C_MababejiveC_Mababejive Forumite
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    Dont donate.
    Feudal Britain needs land reform. 70% of the land is "owned" by 1 % of the population and at least 50% is unregistered (inherited by landed gentry). Thats why your slave box costs so much..
  • If you contact the fundraising department of the charity you wish to donate to, tell them that you would like to make a restricted donation, and ask them what projects they are currently raising money for. This way the donation will be spent 100% on that cause and not be sucked up in general overheads.

    Charities do often need unrestricted (i.e. general donations) to operate however, as otherwise they might not be able to afford the staff to do the fundraising, for example. That's how it's supposed to work in theory - although i completely understand where you're coming from... I find a good place to enquire about how a charity uses it's money is to look at the annual reports/accounts on the charity commission website first...
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Which charities cream off the least of your donation toward running costs and paying their staff?

    In particular I wish to donate to children and/or animals - I already donate to the smile train - they fix kids with facial problems.

    Any advice welcom
    Given the large number of charities working with children and / or animals, that's a rather open question.

    I'm not going to defend any particular charity, but I will say (again) that a charity with very low running costs and a low salary bill is not necessarily a well run charity. Looking at it in percentage terms may be more useful: we now have 3 admin staff (and a number of volunteers) whereas when I started 10 years ago there was just me and one regular volunteer, but then our budget has increased 10 fold in that time so it doesn't seem excessive to me.

    We don't 'do' staff cars, but to use perhaps a parallel example, should we keep struggling with exceedingly slow computers which mean people can't work efficiently, or should I put in a bid for some replacements next financial year?
    If you contact the fundraising department of the charity you wish to donate to, tell them that you would like to make a restricted donation, and ask them what projects they are currently raising money for. This way the donation will be spent 100% on that cause and not be sucked up in general overheads.
    That is good advice: there are often things we'd like to do, or do more of, but we have to stick to budget.
    Charities do often need unrestricted (i.e. general donations) to operate however, as otherwise they might not be able to afford the staff to do the fundraising, for example. That's how it's supposed to work in theory - although i completely understand where you're coming from... I find a good place to enquire about how a charity uses it's money is to look at the annual reports/accounts on the charity commission website first...
    More good advice.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: TWO adult cardigans, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees, 2 sets of handwarmers, 1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 3 balaclavas, multiple hats and poppies, 3 peony flowers, 4 butterflies ...
    Current projects: pink balaclava (for myself), seaman's hat, about to start another cardigan!
  • I agree with what Savvy Sue says - you need to work in the charity sector to uinderstand all the issues. Charity isnt about well-meaning people 'doing good' for free or as cheap labour.
    Smile Train gives the money it raises to an American charity so its really hard to say how much of what you donate actually goes to what you expect.
    Tim is also right - if you are really concerned over your donations, make them restricted to a certain project. But at the end of the day, I would rather see my donation go to pay someone who can manage the finances properly than to an amateurish outfit where the treasurer runs off to Spain with the cash (and there are many real examples of this).
  • I don't have any problem whatsoever with charity employees getting paid a going rate for the job, as long as it's justifiable. Would you expect, for example, a charity cancer research scientist to get paid any less than someone working for a commercial pharmaceutical concern?
    Debbie
  • redpeteredpete Forumite
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    ...My husband worked in the admin dept of a charity, part of his work was dealing with the purchase of company cars for employees. You would not believe what the employees were expecting the charity to buy for them, ...

    Did your husband insist that they paid him a lower wage than he might have got in an equivalent job in a commercial organisation?
    loose does not rhyme with choose but lose does and is the word you meant to write.
  • edited 27 September 2010 at 12:37PM
    barbarawrightbarbarawright Forumite
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    edited 27 September 2010 at 12:37PM
    IntelligentGiving is very useful for looking at issues relating to admin and staff costs. Without wishing to defend expensive staff cars, I'm always amazed at how many people think you can run a multi-million pound organisation like Oxfam just on volunteer labour. As for donating to a certain project - well that's a faff for the charities to organise and may not lead to the best use of your money. For example, I remember outrage a couple of years ago as people discovered that their Christmas goat money didn't always go to yer actual goat. No, there was basic vet training for locals, food donations to ensure people didn't end up eating the goat immediately, local admin to ensure that the goats went to the neediest families, not just to the local 'community leaders' and so on.
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