Where Did The Money Go? Thoughts On Charitable Giving

After reading a blog post about charitable giving and how the money gets spent, I’m spending more time considering which organization is the best with regards to administration costs and overhead. There are so many charities that spend more on the company and executives than they do on the people they supposedly want to help.


Image Credit: This is a cropped image clip from the Mint.com blog post Mint.com

Check out Charity Navigator for more information on organizations and how they are going to spend your hard earned money. You’ll want to look for organizations that have very high Program Expense numbers. To see just how bad it can get, look at the Top 10 Charities Drowning in Administrative Costs. Another good site to help you check out an organization is the Better Business Bureau and their Charity Review page. All of this detective work may cause analysis paralysis for some people and they might not donate anything. I would hope not - I’m just saying to be careful where you donate.

Program Expenses: This reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver. Dividing a charity’s program expenses by its total functional expenses yields this percentage.

Over the years most of our charitable donations have gone to the local church and the donated clothes to a couple of the local organizations. But in the last couple of years I decided to spread our giving around some. PowerFM, a local Christian radio station, received a large gift from us last year and I thought it was for a good cause. My thought was several thousand people listen to the radio everyday and it’s a great way to reach them on their commute or reaching students in other locations since the station streams its broadcast online. So here are some of the other organizations I’m considering giving to this year based on what they do and how they spend the money they are given.

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