Three Charities That Don’t Deserve Your Money

Three Charities That Don't Deserve Your Money

ChildFund

ChildFund’s commercials can almost be recited by rote: Alan Sader (or, conversely, Sally Struthers) toots around a third world hamlet, kneeling next to anemic skeleton-children, begging you to donate a few cents a day to sponsor these kids and save their lives. Melancholy piano music tinkles in the background while middle-class guilt is triggered nationwide.

Sally Struthers in Africa for ChildFund

These commercials are probably ChildFund at their most consistent, as otherwise ChildFund’s goals are murky and ill-defined. Beneath the surface, the charity is in a constant state of identity crisis, which has manifested itself in several ways.

ChildFund was known as Christian Children’s Fund from 1951 to 2009 (before that, it was China’s Children Fund). The name change, in this case, is seemingly due to the organization’s inconsistent attitude toward Christianity. ChildFund is baffling in this regard—many devout Christian donors dislike the organization’s secular leanings, while others are uncomfortable with ChildFund’s occasional religious gestures.

For instance, ChildFund has never done any proselytizing and Gospel-spreading when providing assistance to impoverished areas. The nonprofit has claimed that they’re more interested in the Christian virtue of caring for the less fortunate than they are with religious conversions. Conservative Christians have felt a little misled that ChildFund was not ministering to its sponsored children, while most found ChildFund’s position agreeable.

However, if they’re not concerned with issues of religious dogma, then why have they refused donations on religious grounds? Back in 2008, Gen Con, a convention for pen-and-paper and tabletop RPG games, offered the then-Christian Children’s Fund a donation of $17,398. Gen Con planned to donate this money with the best of intentions; they were honoring their recently-deceased founder, who had often given money to Christian Children’s Fund while he was alive.

Most nonprofits who claim not to be interested in spreading “religious messages” would have gladly taken this money. However, ChildFund did not. According to Gen Con officials, the charity didn’t feel comfortable with the donation because of Gen Con’s relationship with the popular pen-and-paper game, Dungeons & Dragons. Dungeons & Dragons is a popular target of fundamentalist Christians because of all the Satanic elements the game endorses… such as pretending to be a dwarf, rolling dice, and listening to a lot of bad progressive rock.

So, if ChildFund takes a fundamentalist Christian stance, but doesn’t have an evangelizing agenda, what do they support? Many donors have also noticed inconsistencies between ChildFund’s goals and their collection methods. Previously, ChildFund had charged donors a small handling fee if they wanted to give a cash gift to their sponsored child. However, ChildFund’s new policy is to assess a fee of 20% on every gift donation—regardless of size.

ChildFund claims these fees are to ensure that the money is safely and efficiently delivered, but a 20% fee seems excessive. If a donor sends a gift of $1,000, that’s $200 that goes right into ChildFund’s pocket. That’s considerably larger than a $2.50 handling fee.

The multiple name changes, religious flip-flopping and hefty fees depict ChildFund as a confused, mismanaged organization. This is corroborated by its financial information. As its excess income has increased decently for the last several years, its actual capacity has been decreasing. What is anyone supposed to make of that?

Although ChildFund has a good-natured vision, it simply isn’t a clear one. The organization has previously held high ratings with charity watchdog groups, and it might again. However, ChildFund must refine its ideologies and practices to prove to donors what it’s actually committed to.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Frank Barrett, Alec. Alec said: From ProseBeforeHos: Three Charities That Don’t Deserve Your Money http://goo.gl/fb/muLpY #featured […]

  2. Anton says:

    I thought in the end three things last but sadly it seems that some charities have forgotten what charity means.

  3. Anonymous says:

    who cares if salvation army doesn’t want gays as employees? Isn’t it proven that gay buttsex causes aids?? Fuck MADD lol. But, as for childfund, you forgot to mention the most important part… the president makes about a half a mil every year… its pretty damn clear in their stupid commercials that only 80 cents of every dollar goes to the kids… DERP

  4. Sean says:

    It is still my belief that The Salvation Army does not discriminate against people that consider themselves to be gay when offering them a helping hand by deploying their social work, fairtrade, homeless, people trafficking, community or emergency services. They are up-front about those who wish to be considered for membership and many life-style choices are incompatible with their stated membership criteria. As far as I know, their donation income gets to the people who are in need if it and that there is a minimal amount spent on administration costs.

  5. Tulipa says:

    This reminds me of Asimov’s anecdote:
    “Once I was stuck at a cocktail party and a woman approached me. She had a drink in one hand (obviously not her first one, either) and a cigarette in the other.
    I leaned away from her to try to avoid the cigarrette smoke and she said to me with a certain hostility, ‘What’s the matter with you? Don’t you smoke?’
    ‘No, maam, I don’t,’ I said civilly, in my fairly loud speaking voice.
    ‘I’ll bet you don’t drink, either.’
    ‘No, maam, I don’t.’
    ‘Then what the hell do you do?’
    And I said, my voice not dropping one decibel, ‘I fuck an awful lot.’
    You’d be surprised how immediately that destroyed the conversation.”

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