POSTED: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 5:15pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 5:29pm
The holidays generally tend to bring out the best in some folks, and quite often, inspire a donation to charity.
But which charity is the best steward of your money?
Because just like anything else you invest your money in, you want to know it’s going to the cause you care about.
And when it comes to charitable giving, there’s a lot of bad advice out there.
This story began with an email.
It has been floating around since 2005 and warns the reader against giving to some well known charities because their CEO’s make too much money.
On the list to be wary of…the Red Cross, March of Dimes, United Way, UNICEF, even Goodwill.
The problem is, the salary data is wrong or out of date, and that’s not how you rank a charity anyway.
“Most non-profits do not have volunteers as CEO’s. They do command higher salaries. The typical CEO earns about $130-150,000,” says Sandra Miniutti is with Charity Navigator.
Experts in the field rank them on the basis of percentage of donations that actually go to the purpose intended.
“Of course you want to see the bulk of the charity’s spending on its charitable mission and not on fund raising and administration costs,” she told us.
And in that regard, all of the above charities give 75% or usually more of the money they collect to the cause.
The email for example, says the March of Dimes only gives 10%. That’s off by a factor of 65%.
The email also recommends charities to help like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and St. Jude’s research Hospital.
The problem there is that all of these are among the least efficient charities according to Forbes magazine’s annual list of best and worst charities.
The email isn’t totally wrong as the Salvation Army and Make-A-Wish foundation are very efficient.
And one more tip.
Never give over the phone, becaus many times they are using for-profit telemarketing firms who can keep as much as 95 cents of every dollar you donate.