Where Does the Money Go?

Research costs money.  Finding a cure for autoimmune diseases is near and dear to my heart, so last year’s Christmas bonus was used to make a small donation toward research (this is not a big deal; many people donate much larger amounts, but I figure that even small donations add up).  Since making that donation, I’ve discovered that I should have done my homework first and found a different organization.  Name recognition isn’t everything.  How is the money used?

The donation form for this organization had a few extra questions:

  • Do you want a thank-you gift acknowledging your donation?  No.  Just send me the tax receipt.
  • Do you want to receive our print magazine?  No.  I’d rather hear about research projects, but that’s not what you publish.
  • Do you want to receive e-mail updates?  No.  Your website is the least helpful of all the websites I’ve used for information.  I’d rather get more in-depth information elsewhere.

Obviously I didn’t add any commentary, just indicated my preferences.  The results were interesting, though.

  • A gift arrived.  I like it, and use it, and even posted a review.  But I said I didn’t want it.  Gift, postage, and paying for someone’s time to send the thing all took money that could have gone toward research.
  • Magazines started arriving in my post office box, despite the fact that I’d declined the magazine option.  On my tax receipt, the price of a subscription had been deducted from my donation amount.
  • I keep getting e-mail updates.  Even though I have jumped through the hoops to unsubscribe (many times), I still  keep getting e-newsletters.  What’s worse, I get a second copy of some of them with some strange name attached.  No idea where they came up with the name, and the unsubscribe feature doesn’t work.

Before I make another donation, I will investigate the organization a little more carefully to see how funds are used.  What type of research is being done?  How much of the money goes toward autoimmune research?  Are they looking for a cause-of/cure-for autoimmunity, or something else?  How efficiently is overhead kept to a minimum?  How much progress has been made in research funded by the organization?

Because I’m more interested in results than PR.

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Edit to add links to rating sites for charities.  If you know of other good ones with free internet information, please add them in the comments.