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.