Choose Another Charity Part 2: MADD

Why MADD Doesn't Deserve Your Money

Every holiday season, people open their hearts and wallets for family, friends, and charities alike. Unfortunately, some large organizations who regularly solicit for money are often using funds for political motives or ‘overhead’ costs. In a series of posts, we’ll be investigating three popular charities that don’t deserve your charity.

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It seems almost blasphemous to say there’s anything wrong with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Drunk driving is totally irresponsible and has caused many deaths and disfiguring injuries. At the same time, it’s hard to think of MADD and not imagine your own mother telling you to find a designated driver or take a taxi if you get too sauced. How could anyone fault MADD if its objectives are situated within a universal motherly concern?

Unfortunately, MADD has started to resemble a militant temperance organization than a union of caring moms. While the goal of reducing drunk driving is certainly a goal worth pursuing, MADD has gone too far with its draconian lobbying and bizarre tactics.

Consider what is now the centerpiece in MADD’s anti-drunk driving lobbying: ignition interlock devices (IIDs for short). A car fitted with an IID will not start until the driver blows into a breathalyzer. Some models require periodic blows into the breathalyzer after the car’s been started. At the current moment, these machines are usually installed in the vehicles of repeat DUI/DWI offenders—in other words, people with significant drinking problems.

This past November, MADD’s National President and Official Spokesperson, Laura Dean-Mooney, proposed that all new cars be fitted with IIDs. When you think about it, this is an absurd intrusion into the everyday liberties of American citizens.

First, there’s the unsettling notion that, if this policy were to ever be enacted, drivers would be guilty until proven innocent—every time they start their car. Then there’s the issue of just plain annoyance: most drivers are not in the position of needing a breathalyzer a few times a day. MADD’s trying to act like only drunks would be inconvenienced, but really, aren’t there better ways to curtail drunk driving?

Some have speculated that MADD’s excitement for nationwide IID implementation stems from a backroom deal with IID manufacturers. Although there’s no evidence to support those claims, it wouldn’t be surprising: MADD has acquired a real taste for avarice lately.

Consider MADD’s goal of increasing excise taxes on beer and wine—but not hard liquor. MADD’s reasoning seems to be that hard liquor is taxed enough, while beer and wine are given a pass. On the surface, that might make some sense; it makes even more sense, however, when you consider that the liquor industry has donated to MADD and partnered with MADD on several of their advertising campaigns.

Why would MADD partner with liquor companies when their other policies seem rather neo-prohibitionist? Because MADD is more interested in self-perpetuation than it is in serving its cause. For instance, take a look at MADD’s 990 Tax Form for 2008. MADD spends half its revenue on salaries. For a nonprofit, this is unacceptable. It’s even more egregious in light of MADD’s current 3.5 million dollar deficit.

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MADD's Virgin Drink Line

Once you consider other expenses such as MADD’s preposterous new line of non-alcoholic beverages, the likelihood of any donations actually preventing drunk driving is actually quite slim.

However, none of these are the most damning indication of how much MADD has strayed from their mission. The founder of MADD, Candace Lightner, left MADD in 1985 but is still speaking out against the organization. In 2002, Lightner was quoted in the Washington Post: “It has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned. I didn’t start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving.”

Between its irrational anti-alcohol motives and suspicious fundraising methods, MADD has shown itself to be undeserving of your money. Drunk driving is certainly a problem worth solving but MADD’s interests clearly lie elsewhere. With all of their faults, would your mother want you to donate to MADD?

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This is the second of the 3-part series, Choose Another Charity. The first part, Why The Salvation Army Doesn’t Deserve Your Money, was published earlier this week.

Mark Andre Clements is a fiction writer and a freelance journalist. His work has appeared in Seafarers Log, and in many anonymous SEO articles about cheap vacations.

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  1. BeckyMinx says:

    WTF? They use half of their budget for SALARIES ALONE? Can anyone say “corruption”?

  2. Gryndyl says:

    As far as I know, 40-50% is actually pretty normal for percentage of an NPO’s revenue dedicated to salaries.

  3. Rich HB says:

    In the past, they have tried to introduce truly insane measures such as weighing alcoholic beverage consumers at public establishments when they order their first drink. Then the server is to keep a written and timed log of the consumption. The patron was not to be allowed x amount of hourly consumption based on charts pertaining to their weight. I’ve lost friends to drunk drivers. I’ve lost friends to alcoholism. I’ve lost respect for the goals of this organization. Does not the news of the escalating violence along the Mexican border stir up the possibility that neo-prohibition breeds more problems than solutions??

  4. athensguy says:

    Getting in trouble for drinking and then driving is tantamount to punishment for thought crime. Even worse, the breathalyzers are terribly inaccurate. Regardless, it’s unfair to punish someone that has hurt no one.

    We have given up enough rights. MADD hates the fourth and fifth amendments, and everything they lobby for just makes both weaker.

    • Julie Smiley says:

      so it’s okay until someone gets hurt??? Seriously??? So kids should play in the freeway until someone gets hurt?? Lets shoot our guns off in town, until someone gets hurt……you are an idiot.

  5. Mark Goldsmith says:

    Good article once again, It sort of makes you really wonder about donating to any cause. I really hope you conclude your trifecta with an idea of where to put my money. But I really think the it comes down to doing actually hands on charity.

  6. […] first two segments were Why The Salvation Army Doesn’t Deserve Your Money and the second was Choose Another Charity Part 2: MADD.Mark Andre Clements is a fiction writer and a freelance journalist. His work has appeared in […]

  7. pleasant jaymz says:

    now do one on PETA………I am an animal lover and I want to shut them down because they are becoming so fanatical that they caused me serious problems when I got stuck with a bunch of small animals and was trying to get rid of them via craigslist. Some of them even sent me hate emails with filthy words in them and dripping with venom, just because I didn’t agree with them.

  8. […] post of the PBH series Choose Another Charity, comprised of 3 articles on the Salvation Army, MADD, and […]

  9. Maggie says:

    My Grandson got a DUI ticket after passing the sobriety tests. Before even going to court, his license is suspended. He’s in the process of trying to find a way to work in a very out of the way traveled office. He can’t attend college classes unless he finds public transportation that will take him there. He’s paid 3k to a lawyer so far. While I don’t want drunk drivers on the road as well as the next person, I fear my Grandson’s life as he knew it is pretty well over. He’s six months away from a teaching credential and now has to plead that this one instance on his record will not affect employment. So let me get this straight, where is MADD when people here illegally drive drunk and kill people. They don’t have a license to take away. Where are they in ensuring these repeat offenders that Obama has sympthay for and lets stay in the country get deported? As ususal, laws are just for citizens, not non-citizens. Sure my Grandson will and has learned a good lesson from this. You’re guilty until proven innocent if you are a citizen. MADD has gone too far. They are a militant group that would have the police come into your home and arrest you for having a beer on your deck. My previous funding allocation to them as a charity is over.

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