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.

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.


4 thoughts on “Where Does the Money Go?

  1. Great Post!

    This is what I refer to as:


    I also want 100% of my donation (or as much as possible) to go towards research or whatever the charity claims is their intended focus & mission.

    How horribly frustrating to receive tchotchkes (even “useful” ones), magazines/newsletters, unwanted emails… yuk!

    I would immediately be on the phone to the top level executive of this organization, requesting my donation be returned.

    I would also inform them that their staff if not paying attention, not following instructions, and that unless these issues were resolved, I would be blogging about the situation and posting the organization’s name, phone number, website, and names of all executives and Board of Directors.

    Thanks for shining a light on this hideous breech.

    Warm Outraged Socks,

    • Thank you for commenting.
      I didn’t name names, but I’m blogging about a type of arthritis, which narrows things down considerably. Name recognition… magazine… Conspicuous absence from my list of RA resources… I don’t think anyone would have any trouble figuring out which organization I’m talking about.

  2. It is very hard to find an organization that uses your money for research. The one you mention above seems to use your money to make more money. When I was first diagnosed years ago, I looked into them and found that far too much of my donation was going to administrative costs. I stopped donating after the first year and was amazed at how relentlessly they pursued me for additional money. To this day I am hesitant to even give to someone participating in their walk because I know it will start a barrage of mail to my home.

    Since my experience with them I always check a charities rating and information on the charitable giving rating sites before sending a donation.

    As an aside, when JDRF kept hounding me for additional donations I wrote them an letter and said that if it didn’t stop I would no longer give my annual donation. To their credit the mailings did stop. You could give that a try.

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