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The 20 Worst Charities in America/

Business  (tags: charities, high cost, abuse, money, Salaries, corruption )

- 2899 days ago -
Charitable Organizations have to spend money to make money, however some seem to have trouble getting the money to the people its supposed to go to. Most of these charities have unusally high administrative costs, sometimes over 60 percent.

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Bev B (1)
Friday June 11, 2010, 2:33 pm
I`ve been to Charity Navigator and was pleased to find 2 groups that I have supported were given the highest ranking of 4 stars. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Dian Fosseys Gorilla Fund.
Thanks for the post.

Carol H (40)
Friday June 11, 2010, 6:38 pm

Cheree M (46)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 2:07 am
I've never heard of the 20 posted......Thank You though for the heads up.. Great post. TY Meg for sharing.

Terry B (649)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 7:05 am
A valuable list. Thank you. Two comments.

1.) It is striking how many of these greedies purport to have a religious purpose.

2. I think that New Hampshire Audubon should be cut a little slack and removed from the list. Their "administrative expenses" include "visitor centres" (which I have visited), and while it can be debated whether the society was wise in locking into excessive fixed expesnes, these are not "administrative expenses" like the exhorbitant executive salaries mentioned in some of the other cases, they are "educational expenses" well in keeping with NH Audubon's mission.

vivian lombardozzi (0)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 7:07 am
I am happy that I have not donated to these charities. They should be stoped.

Kathleen M. (0)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 7:23 am
Left off the list is the HSUS and ASPCA-
The 2008 tax records for the Humane Society show that they had banked 101 million in stocks and another 50+ in compensation and salaries. They've spent less than 1% actually helping animals. When Michael Vicks dogs were rescued, HSUS's campaign brought in tons of money for their care BUT they spent NOTHING, ZERO on the dogs. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary rehabbed the dogs and got not one red cent from the Humane Society of the US. Apparently, ASPCA is just as bad, folks think these two help shelters across our country-they do not, they help themselves. How HSUS does their bookkeeping is suspect since they're been able to get a 4 star rating from the reputable CharityNavigator is a mystery.

Sunday June 13, 2010, 7:37 am

James Sessions (7)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 7:44 am
And the list goes on... these are simply the 20 worst. Unfortunately, a compiled list of charities based on what they actually give to their cause would probably be very frustrating. I hate to say it because I typically do not resort to government regulation, but maybe this is a scenario that requires some. Charities should have parameters that are free from loop holes. This whole story also brings cause marketing to mind - KFC/Komen - something to think about. Thanks!

Mariliis M (1)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 7:52 am
Interesting, thank you.

Susan A (2)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 7:55 am
Kathleen M's comment concerning the HSUS and ASPCA peaked my interest. I would be interested in a response from these charities.

Kevin Miller (26)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 7:58 am
just put the word "church" around the building and call it a charity, when we all really know that it is a scam. How do you give a tithe away, while your preacher drives in luxury, and poor stay hunger. Just look at 99% of church (any religion or denomination) they dont do much for charity, and the only reason they call themelves a church is for TAX purposes. (megachurches by Joel Osteen and others are some of the worst offenders)

Georgeanne W (6)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 8:16 am
I donate locally where I can go see what my dollars do. A lot of county human societies are not affiliated with the HSUS or ASPCA, they just share a similar name. Donate close and go see first hand what is being done.

Claudia Parker (8)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 8:32 am
I agree with Terry B, there are a lot of religious groups on the list. And yes the NH Audubon Society needs to be cut slack because they are doing a lot for the community and are essentially spread thin. In fact they could probably use your donations. While I don't think al the executive salaries are automatically exorbitant considering their responsibility and the fact they would be making two or three times that in the private sector. I would be wary of doubled administrative expenses and would question the ability of all executives making a higher salaries. Are they really making money for the charity and worth the salt? And are they really making an outrageous amount of money for the place they live, etc. Yes. there are people that would take less, but how much less? Most of the people that would take a lot less are probably already retired and have made their money or just already have it. I know I don't want every charity run by a rich person who doesn't need the money. There's a balance to everything.

. (0)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 8:41 am
volunteer locally and you can see where your dollars go

Andreza C (34)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 9:08 am
That's sad to see, but it's actually more common than we think.

Kelly H (22)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 9:14 am
great articlcle, but it's sad

Michael O (176)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 9:18 am
People need to stick with reputable organizations and check the facts before donating their hard-earned dollars to charity. This site helps to educate. Thanks for the post!

Monica K (3)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 9:21 am
I see a lot of faulty logic in this article. Calling an organization who's operating costs have skyrocketed and who's donations have fallen, such as the two Audubon Societies, the "worst charities" is ignorant and counter productive! It's like saying that if your landlord raises your rent just when you get laid off from your job, it's your fault. I think it would be far more helpful to see what the actual "administrative costs" are used for. For instance, an animal shelter that spends a large proportion of it's budget on microchip scanners, vet bills, staff to care for the animals, staff to rescue animals, transportation for animals, heating and cooling for it's buildings, food for the animals, advertising to draw attention to the plight of animals and fundraising efforts might be seen to have huge "administrative costs" while donations are hard to come by. This does not make them a bad charity and calling them one just lowers their income even more. Use your heads people.

Past Member (0)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 10:15 am
I once donated money to the ASPCA. For several years afterwards they inundated me with "free gifts" like address labels etc. The cost of these mailings and "fee gifts" were higher than my $25 donation.

Like others here, I donate locally. There is enough need in our community.

Kathy B (106)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 10:51 am
I kind expected to see the American Cancer Society & the Susan G. Koman Center on the list...?

Sue L (63)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 10:56 am
I respect Charity Navigator and think it is important to know about the charities you give to. However, their ratings can be misleading. Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron Ohio is a beautiful place and a well respected part of the community. I think administrative costs include more than what you usually think of here. The gardens and conservatory have been extensively restored and rebuilt during the time period sited. That is part of what is making their "administrative costs" appear so high. The reason most large homes are donated and become museums is because of the prohibitive costs of maintaining them. So check out the charities you want to donate to thoroughly and investigate if you have questions about how the money is spent.

John H (2)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 1:16 pm
This article is written from an objective point of view and does not contain subjective opinions, but rather truthfully discusses the factors which have lead to these organizations being ranked so low. I am not willing to let any of these charities "off the hook", even if they have epenses "beyond their control" Families have had to make some drastic, often very uncomfortable cuts due to recession. In my view, charities must do the same. Excuses about "fixed expenses" not withstanding. Charities that fail to live within their means are an insult to those who donate to their cause (in spite of having made serious cuts in their own family spending). I give so that my dollars will have maximum effect on the chosen cause. A charity that doesn't think the same (and do what is necessary to cut administrative costs) is not one that I will donate to.

Sylvia W (46)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 1:52 pm
Charity Navigator is a useful resource that saved me from poor choices several times. Noted with thanks!

I confess to a rather uncharitable giggle at one of the entries;
American Friends of the Open University of Israel (AFOUI) - A Fooie indeed ;-)

Lyn C (70)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 2:34 pm
The ASPCA does a lot more good, and has a lot of expenses, especially when they confiscate then have to find a good rescue, for the rescued animals. This organization just places a whole host of animals, mainly dogs from someone who was overwhelmed with them. I know first hand that the ASPCA has to work hard after a large scale confiscation like this. The folks at Second Chance Wildlife Rescue here on Long Island are taking care of these animals can find new homes when they are ready. The Rescue Group is local and doesn't solicit donations although can certainly use them, and also old linens, food, etc. The online address is www.Second Chance Wildlife These wonderful people have been there whenever they could, and right now voluteering would be a great help. If anyone is interested, post here and I give any details I can, or check with the rescue people.

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to listen to an avid animal lover, and recent Wildlife Rehabber myself. I'm going down to the rescue league with my grandaughter this week to walk and in general give love and affection to some pretty scared dogs.

Sunday June 13, 2010, 5:09 pm
They shouldn't be permitted to be a charity unless they donate at least 70%.
We never donate to anyone but our local Humane Society shelter...and we know that's where the money stays, and it's for the animals. We deliver it personally into the hands of the director and it goes toward their spay-neuter program.
We also donate kitty litter, and cat and dog food....because they can't be used to pay administrators!

Teresa K (33)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 5:19 pm
Good information, thank you!

Mary Donnelly (47)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 5:32 pm
Thanks for post.

Kathlene Lentz (30)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 6:43 pm
I am very happy to say that I don't give money to any of these "charities". And I am pretty darned careful about the ones I do give to.

Cheryl B (64)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 7:05 pm
Thanks for telling the world

Matloob ul Hasan (81)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 7:19 pm
Noted, thanks.

Past Member (0)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 7:34 pm
Thanks, Meg.

Carmen S (69)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 7:35 pm
Most of them I never heard of .

Mike H (252)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 7:59 pm
Any organization that spends 66% on expenses is not a charity, it is a scam.

Nuraini A (41)
Sunday June 13, 2010, 10:58 pm
with all due respect, the truly religious have a sincere fear of hell about these things - it is in fact a handy way of telling between fake religious people and real ones in this materialistic age when few would give up material wealth of their own. the truly pious consider themselves as conduits to channel aid to the needy, whether the resources are given by others or earned by their own work, it is all from God and simply entrusted to them temporarily.

in my country the baitulmal in charge of collecting zakat funds for re-distribution to the needy disclose their expense breakdown by category of recipient including administrators, many if not all are audited, and the proportion spent on the administrators is comparable to the best charities. it would be a scandal for the religious to skim money off of holy funds. indeed the baitulmal is preferred by the majority for zakat payments (the faithful can also pay directly to the people eligible for zakat aid and bypass the baitulmal) not just because of convenience but also the assurance of accountability. i don't know what it's like elsewhere, but just because religious bodies in your place skim money, and/or you're atheistic yourself, you cannot assume all religions everywhere are rife with this attitude.

i myself only give to charities or state baitulmal that are independently audited (for state baitulmals, i prefer my birth state whose breakdowns are displayed on their website and are annually updated), can show that the overwhelming proportion of the funds goes to the intended recipients, and preferably any reduction is explained in annual reports, which should also report on the effectiveness of the money given out/spent on the programs.

Bon L (0)
Monday June 14, 2010, 1:03 am
Thanks for the info.

Past Member (0)
Monday June 14, 2010, 1:26 am
Charity should be about helping those in need, not going to some rich man's wallet or whatever they call "admin costs".

Ada P (25)
Monday June 14, 2010, 2:44 am
thanks, that's really usefull thing

Mike M (40)
Monday June 14, 2010, 4:09 am
Religion, money and thievery. How they play on the needy and downtrodden.

Gary Heck (0)
Monday June 14, 2010, 9:11 am
Let's see, overall, 30% of these are Christian based. 83% of these are in the top 10 comprising 50% of the top 10. This doesn't surprise me, nor should it surprise anyone else. These "ministries" are little more than scams and should be avoided at all costs. If you feel compelled to give away your hard earned money to religion, give it to some local cause that you can observe and measure the results. Better yet, donate to the preservation of animals or the environment, at least they're real. But the best idea if you really feel a need to give your money to someone is to give it to me. I'll use it to insure you a place in heaven. No, really I will, I promise. Just give me your money and I'll promise you a place in heaven. You don't want to burn in Hell for all eternity do you? Of course not! So hurry up and send me your cash and checks. There's limited space so the quicker you send it to me the better chance you have of reserving a your place.

Dan S (9)
Monday June 14, 2010, 9:26 am
Sad, but true... There are people out there who make a nice living off of innocent people in the World.

Dan(iel) M (25)
Monday June 14, 2010, 10:17 am
Interesting article !! Also i will use Charity Navigator in the future to investigate charties.

suzanne s (10)
Monday June 14, 2010, 8:33 pm
always, always see the charity navigator. does it surprise anyone at all how many fundamentalist/evangelical christian groups are on this list? i'm a devout christian, and i just want to go up to these folks and ask "could we have our church back please"?

KS Goh (0)
Tuesday June 15, 2010, 12:24 am
Thanks for the article.

Hillary T. (0)
Tuesday June 15, 2010, 12:35 pm
@Susan A - The HSUS currently has a three-star rating (out of four) from Charity Navigator. Our organization has received a four-star rating for four of the past five years. Our annual reports and financial statements are available on our website, Since the HSUS is not affiliated with local shelters, our budget funds programs and campaigns on big picture issues like puppy mills, factory farming, and wildlife protection. Regarding the care of the Michael Vick dogs, the federal court ordered Vick to pay nearly one million dollars for the care of his dogs. The HSUS paid for the housing of some of the confiscated dogs before the guilty pleas were entered, and our organization put the funds we raised toward upgrading laws against animal fighting, training law enforcement, and setting up a national tip line and reward program for reporting animal fighting. The shelters and rescue groups like Best Friends that have rehabbed and adopted out the Vick dogs have obviously played a critical role too.

Cindy B (61)
Friday June 25, 2010, 2:05 am
Glad they're rather obscure; they haven'd rec'd any of MY money (nor will they.)

Sheri J (16)
Thursday January 3, 2013, 9:41 pm
knowledge is power.

Freya H (357)
Tuesday August 2, 2016, 6:40 pm
This is why I always check Charity Navigator before writing a check. It has saved me a lot of grief. Indeed, it is shameful to see so many religious organizations on this list. Also, this article does not touch on phony charities, which exist solely as criminal enterprises. Put some religious-sounding words or phrases in your organization's name, and the sheep will open their wallets.

Patrice Z (16)
Wednesday August 3, 2016, 8:24 am
Very important information. Thanks for sharing.
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