Why ChildFund Doesn’t Deserve Your Money

Why ChildFund Doesn't Deserve Your Money

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.


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  1. Richard Stinchcomb says:


  2. bethy says:

    totally agree just called child fund after their expensively aired commercial showing the same problems from 30 years ago they don’t fund one dime towards contraception!

  3. Pmama29 says:

    You obviously have fans that are ignorant and illiterate, so I will digress.. If you don’t choose to give to ChildFund; fine! I am, and feel good about it. Don’t use the lame excuse that all charities are out to get your money. Give charitably or volunteer to help somebody or some worthy cause, or just shut the fuck up.

  4. Guy says:

    First of all, let me say for the record… the author of this article not only wrote false claims against CCF (and fails to put their name to the authorship of the article), but also based the false claims on a statement made “according to Gen Con officials” which clearly contradicts the author’s false claim. In the statement from the Gen Con official, it clearly says: “To be clear, Gen Con made the decision not to donate to CCF; at no time did CCF refuse to take charity money from Gen Con.” Therefore, the article above is totally without merit. Secondly, I have made a thorough search for the charities which give the highest percentage of donations directly to the intended recipients.

    In my search, I also took into consideration the compensation paid to the CEO of each charity organization (see: http://www.charitynavigator.org/docs/2014_CEO_Compensation_Study.pdf ). Though the 2014 charity navigator only provide data from 2012, it gives a good idea of just how scandalous the whole charity ceo compensation is and if recent hikes in CEO compensation over the past two years in the business is any indication, the salaries you see in the “Charity Navigator” are low compared to what the have been during 2013, 2014, and 2015. From this data is the following: (Note that of the 2,582 charities surveyed, the data obtained was only for those charities that had the same CEO in place for the last two years (2011 & 2012).

    The highest paid CEO Compensation for Large Charities was $3,733,930.

    The highest paid CEO Compensation for Medium Charities was $840,000.

    The highest paid CEO Compensation for Small Charities was $435,000.

    Of all the charities surveyed, the lowest paid CEO Compensation was for one Small
    Charity’s CEO… $85,387.

    One that has always shocks me throughout my years of research, is one charity that my own former employer pushed every year….the United Way, who’s CEO received $1,220,305.
    Do you have any idea just how people could be helped with $1,220,305?
    And that is just the CEO’s compensation. Add to that the compensation of all the other high-level administrator’s and those members on the Board of Directors? The same goes for all the other Charities that pay outrageous CEO Compensation. Always remember, there is the additional compensation for all the other high-ranking administrators and Board of Directors.

    So, to which charity should we give our hard-earned money?
    Well, my research found few that actually have very low administration costs. At the top of the list are two

    Catholic Charities, USA, and Catholic Relief Services. Catholic Charities, USA is the National

    Office of 160 local Catholic Charity offices. It provides services to over 9 Million People every year regardless of their religion, social or economic background. The charity’s President is Sister Donna
    Markham, OP, Ph.D. Her compensation is negligible (far below the poverty level). Catholic Charities, USA has provided services for over 105 years.

    Catholic Relief Services is an international humanitarian service which provides assistance to 130 Million people in more than 90 countries and territories in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle
    East and Eastern Europe. The agency is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 12 clergy (most of them bishops) and 7 lay people.

    In conclusion, these two charities are the ones I found where the the administration costs are extremely
    low and we can trust that the largest portion of every dollar received is put towards the direct assistance of the people in need.

    $3,733,930, of Mid-sized charities was $840,000

  5. bbnnmm says:

    Only problem I’ve had with them in over 8 yrs is they “nickle/dime” ya for minor stuff like postage. At first, before they changed names awhile back, my child got 100% of my gift $$. Then they said they were gonna take 20% off the top for postage. I sent them a scathing letter and they backed off of that dumb move, with me anyway. Ya mean postage to send $100 IS MORE THAN TO SEND $20???? 20% x $100= $20 20% x $20= $4, give me a break. I think they are ligit and a good organization, so far. But you always have to stay on top of them. Like Susan Koman org. supporting those Planned Parenthood butchers. Not with my $$$$$ they aren’t. (Joe)
    However that being said——————From “Give. org” BBB —so what the hell are you talkin’ ’bout?
    Accredited Charity—They meet all the below categories for Accreditation by the BBB. (Joe)

    Meets Standards

    2821 Emerywood Parkway
    Richmond, VA 23294
    http://www.childfund.org Accredited Charity

    Accredited Charity
    Full Report
    BBB Charity Standards

    Standards For Charity Accountability


    Board Oversight


    Board Size


    Board Meetings


    Board Compensation


    Conflict of Interest

    Measuring Effectiveness

    Effectiveness Policy


    Effectiveness Report


    Program Expenses


    Fund Raising Expenses


    Accumulating Funds


    Audit Report


    Detailed Expense Breakdown


    Accurate Expense Reporting


    Budget Plan

    Fund Raising & Info

    Truthful Materials


    Annual Report


    Website Disclosures


    Donor Privacy


    Cause Marketing Disclosures



    – See more at: http://www.give.org/…/childfund-international-in…

  6. Hugh Allen says:

    I have worked for ChildFund as a microfinance consultant in Senegal, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Uganda and Kenya and what you say would apply to just about any development organisation. They do good work and their 25% overhead fee (admin and programme support, including sub-office costs, national office costs and international office costs. You know, just like Cocal Cola. The 25% rate is pretty standard across the industry. They are serious about what they do and focus considerable time and attention on economic activities that are sustainable.

  7. Mark says:

    They do sponsor educational programs where these kids are. your sponsor dollar goes to more than just your kid sometimes; like when it can be used to build a water well in a village the whole village benefits. There are other examples I’m sure. I don’t get the Christian question however, they are clear about their stance on Christian values and only focusing on the giving aspect of it as the article said: that sounds clear cut to me.

  8. myra says:

    This article is asinine and ridiculous. I can tell a republican wrote it.

  9. Lena Nielsen-Mackley says:

    For those who say the charities aren’t helping, I encourage you to look into why change hasn’t happened, and myths about charity. In a nutshell, in order for long lasting change to be implemented, the political systems that allow for oppression of the poor must be superceded. However, by giving to individual programs, you help ensure money is not sent to corrupt politicians and is used to help provide security for the poor in the meantime. It’s a question of, even if this won’t directly change their country, do they deserve to starve and be sick? Actually, reducing child mortality rates through providing proper nutrition and vaccines automatically makes a culture less likely to have more kids, which helps overpopulation issues.

    Childs Fund doesn’t seem bad. The inconsistency listed above can make sense. They may not want to force religion, loose reach, or alienate anyone, but have personal qualms still about how they fund their charity. Is it stupid? Yes. But a lot of things that have to do with mainstream religion can be to me, and it becomes a delicate matter or balancing human rights with an individual’s right to their belief. We can say they still have money coming in to help those they want to help.

    Also, overhead costs are necessary. Operational costs, and actually trying to get employees with quality that will move their cause forward. People with the skills tend to want a good paycheck to compensate. It’s how our world works.

    I also think it’s great how they pool the money into local programs so that programs are implemented by locals who understand and sympathize more readily with the area, and are more capable of understanding its needs.

    For those who are still uncomfortable giving money but want to help, I behoove you to look into petitions, volunteering, and the like that stress for EFFECTIVE resolution of corrupt governments.


  10. Bobbie Hailey says:

    The handling fee is for overhead costs I think. Building maintenance, insurance, advertising, salaries. #2.50 per donation won’t pay the bills,

    D & D is also considered to be a Satanic game.

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