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Monday, December 2, 2013

Don't Believe Everything You Read Online - Do Your Own Research

The following image is once again circulating on social media applications including facebook.

Much of the information is inaccurate and we encourage potential donors to double check our free charity ratings before making a decision to support or not to support one of these groups. Here's the real scoop on these groups:

  • Marsha Evans hasn't been the CEO of the American Red Cross since 2003. As shown on our site, the current CEO is Gail McGovern and her compensation for the Fiscal Year Ending 2012 was $591,122. Check our our CEO Compensation study for tips on determining if that is a reasonable level of pay for a CEO of a $3.3 billion charity.
  • During the March of Dimes' FYE 2011, it spent 65.9% of its budget on the programs and services it exists to provide (with 10.9% spent on administrative costs and 23.1% on fundraising costs). That's considerably more than the 10 cents the image above claims, but not especially efficient compared to the thousands of charities we rate - - - most of them spend at least 75% on programs/ services with the remaining 25% spent on admin and fundraising expenses.
  • The President & CEO of the United Way, Brian Gallagher, received a compensation of $763,394 in 2011 (the most recent year for which we have data). That year the chairty's total expenses were $90 million. As per our CEO Compensation Study, we found a median CEO salary of $285,753 for charities of that size ($50 - $100 million).
  • Caryl Stern, President & CEO, of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF received a compensation of $467,463 during 2011. During the charity's FYE 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, it spent 90.3% of its $491 million budget on programs/ services.
  • Goodwill Industries International's President & CEO is James Gibbons. His compensation for 2011 was $508,171. (We do not offer a rating for this nonprofit as it doesn't fit our criteria for evaluation. Specifically, the bulk of its contributions are government grants and not donations from the general public.)
  • We can't offer an evaluation of the Salvation Army because it is recognized as a church by the IRS and thus exempt from filing the Form 990. Without that document, we lack the necessary data to rate it.
  • We evaluate many chapters of Make-A-Wish and they've received a range of ratings from 1-star to 4-stars (our highest rating). None of them spend 100% on programs and services. That's simply not possible. Charities must reserve some money to fundraise and just like everybody else, they have to pay for mundane things like the electric bill.
  • For its FYE 2012, ALSAC - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital devoted 70% of its budget towards its programs/ services.
  • We rate 46 Ronald McDonald House chapters. Their ratings range from 2-star to 4-stars. Again, none of them spend 100% on programs / services.
  • Lions Clubs International Foundation spent 86.8% of its budget in FYE 2012 on its programs/ services.
  • For various reasons the following charities do not meet our criteria for evaluation so we can not providing a rating for them at this time: American Legion, Veterans of Foreign WarsDisabled American Veterans and Military Order of Purple Hearts. If you are interested in charities that Support the Troops, then see our list of such charities in theHot Topics section of our site.
Rather than pick charities based on something you've found in your social media stream, consider becoming a more proactive giver and take the time to find great charities doing the charitable work that is most important to you. Our advanced search tool will help you search our 7,000+ charity ratings to find the charity that best fits your philanthropic goals.

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