By Mark Wachtler
October 3, 2014. Scottsdale, AZ. (ONN) There are 1.4 million non-profit organizations in the United States. Of those, roughly 1 million are what readers envision when they hear the word charity. Since there are few laws governing how a non-profit must spend its money, many unscrupulous people run charities that are nothing more than financial scams. One financial news outlet recently ranked the ten biggest scam charities in America.
Visit CharityNavigator.org to see how your favorite charity spends its donations. Image courtesy of ArkansasMatters.com.
The website Charity Navigator was created to monitor and rate America’s charities and non-profits so donors would know which organizations are truly helping people and which ones are simply pocketing their contributors’ money. Compiled and published by TheStreet.com, the below list is taken from a pool of 7,700 US charities representing half of all money given to non-profits in America each year. There are surely bigger charity scams out there, as many do not provide any data or details at all. The below is from those US non-profits that at least publicly disclose where their donations come from and how they’re spent.
Top 10 Charity Scams in America (from TheStreet.com):
10. Police Protective Fund – Founded in 1998 by the American Association of Police Officers, the charity spends 93.1% of its donations on its own employees and on fundraising.
9. United States Deputy Sheriffs Organization – Founded in 1995, the organization says it provides equipment to under-funded rural Sheriff’s departments. It spends 93.4% of all donations on its own employees and on fundraising.
8. Shiloh International Ministries – The California-based charity tells its donors that it provides funds to needy and homeless children and veterans. But 93.9% of its contributions go toward fundraising and into the pockets of its CEO and employees.
7. Children’s Charity Fund – Founded in 1991, the organization allegedly educates people about the needs of handicapped and disabled children. 93.9% of its donations go to fundraising and its own employees.
6. Heart Support of America – The Knoxville charity tells donors that it gives money to the victims of heart disease that can’t afford treatment, as well as certain hospice centers and heart clinics. However, the charity spends 94.4% of its contributions on its own employees and fundraising.
5. Faith’s Hope Foundation – The organization says it provides financial assistance to families with medical burdens and no means to pay for treatment. The charity spends 95.5% of its donations on its own employees and fundraising.
4. Walker Cancer Research Institute – The charity was founded in 1981 and claims to fund research for cancer cures. 96.4% of its donations however are spent on fundraising and staff salaries.
3. Texas Stampede – Founded in 2001, the non-profit says its programs improve the quality of life for patients at the Dallas Children’s Medical Center. The charity spends 97% of its contributions on fundraising and its own employees.
2. Efrat-CRIB – Located in New York, the charity was founded to stop Jews in Israel and New York from having abortions in order to increase the global Jewish population. The charity spends 98.2% of its donations on its own employees and on fundraising.
1. Scottsdale League for the Arts – Founded in 1978, the charity’s goal is to raise awareness of the arts and humanities throughout Arizona. It spends 98.5% of its donations on its employees and on fundraising.
The report’s authors and the charity watchdog include a disclaimer warning that it is sometimes misleading to judge a charity by the percent of its donations spent on more fundraising and staff and CEO salaries. But it’s safe to say that the above 10 non-profits are grossly negligent in fulfilling their stated purpose.
We at Whiteout Press typically use the 50 percent line as our gage. If a charity spends more than 50% of its donations on those it’s trying to help, it’s a legitimate non-profit. But if an organization spends less than 50% on those it’s supposed to be helping, it’s a red flag that the charity isn’t a charity, but a money-making enterprise.
Just for the sake of comparison, we pulled the Charity Navigator stats for two charities – one well known to readers and another well known to us here at Whiteout Press. Here’s how they compare to the above list:
To view the income and spending data for other charities and non-profits, visit CharityNavigator.org.
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