I’m not going to dispute that a lot of charities are total scams, but some of the charity callout posts I’ve seen circulating on Tumblr lately have revealed some pretty bizarre expectations about how charities operate.
Like, I just ran across one banging on about how a particular cancer research charity was obviously a scam because its public filings revealed that only 65% of the money it took in was ultimately spent on cancer research. I mean, that’s not great, and certainly, some charitable foundations manage to break 90% some years, but research-oriented charities always have higher administrative overhead than those that focus on providing services or performing community outreach – 65% is actually fairly reasonable for a research foundation.
In particular, folks seem to routinely get up in arms about the fact that this or that charity is paying its officers a salary – like, not the amount of the salary, but the fact that there’s a salary at all. I mean, what did you expect? Only the smallest charities can rely entirely on volunteer administrators; any foundation of any significant size has gotta have at least a few full-time organisers onboard, and, well, they’ve gotta eat. If you see a charity whose full-time organisers aren’t drawing salaries, I guarantee you you’re looking at a bunch of trust fund kids – which is not necessarily who you want in charge for some causes, y’know?
I mean, I totally get wanting to make sure your donations are well-spent, but a lot of folks simply don’t have a realistic picture of what’s involved.
Trying to run an organization of any size with volunteers is generally a disaster. You know who needs a LOT of organizing? VOLUNTEERS. If you want any stability, which is directly related to longevity as an organization which is directly related to how efficient you can be with your money, you need paid staff. Those people shouldn’t be setting the new record for annual salary, but they should be fairly compensated for the work they do.
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