The other day I was reading an article about the drought in the Horn of Africa. The news was sobering. This is the worst drought in 60 years; 10 million people are in need of food, there are overcrowded refugee camps and dying children. One mother relayed how two of her children died en-route to a camp. She saw at least 20 other children dead or unconscious along the side of the road. My heart crumpled as I empathized with this woman. Then I did something really stupid. I scrolled down to the comments.
If the article saddened me and spurned me to help, the comments only left me disgusted and wondering where our compassion has gone.
“Are you REALLY asking us to donate to charity to help feed the Ethopians after just yesterday advising us of the earnings of top level charity organization staff?? Perhaps some of those employees would be willing to take a paycut and donate some of those excessive earnings to charity?”
“I'd love to help, but recent news of 6 figure salaries from charities makes it hard for me to know whether my donation is actually going there.”
“I feel very sorry for these people. But having said that, perhaps some of the top paid charity organizers could pool their resources and assist these people. There are people in Canada who have lost their homes, due to floods and fires, who probably will also have to do without. In addition, sometimes people in Canada cannot even get health assistance without putting them in the poor house. So, if you are so inclined donate to your favourite charity so the executives can either get richer or make their substantial donation!“
There are some other really truly contemptible comments, but I don’t want to encourage them. If you are so inclined you can go read the article here. What struck me about these comments above though, was the very obvious distrust and scepticism towards charities. The whole “let’s throw the baby out with the bath water” attitude.
Let’s just take a second and make something perfectly clear. PEOPLE ARE DYING! THEY ARE DYING FROM A LACK OF WATER, SOMETHING WE VERY CLEARLY TAKE FOR GRANTED HERE. THEY ARE DYING FROM STARVATION WHILE WE BATTLE AN OBESITY EPIDEMIC. WAKE UP! YOUR HIGH HORSE IS WOBBLY.
There are roughly 80,000 charities in Canada. What are the odds they are all doing a good job? There are countless charities that do not manage their funds effectively. There are even charities that are nothing more than a clever ruse to take money from your wallet. In today’s age, very few people are fooled by email spam, yet many of us hand over our hard earned dollars without asking a single question because we are offered a ‘charitable receipt’. This is like buying a car sight unseen. It is up to you to research the charities you support and find out if they are creating change or just taking it. The really great thing is that finding out who runs an effective charity is as easy as entering it in your search bar.
I for one have no problem with people making what they are worth to run an effective charity. These are not easy jobs and if you want to attract the best, you need to pay accordingly. What you need to look at is the administration costs of charities to know if the pay is appropriate and if they are really earning their keep. Good charities are transparent with their financial statements. They are accountable to you.
For me personally, I’ve always been comfortable with the 80/20 rule. For every dollar I donate, 20 cents goes toward running the charity effectively. It’s cliché, but you need to spend money to make money. I get that. I can waver a little bit either way, but for the most part it’s what I look at. I’m not a big fan of charities that run anything under 70/30.
Obviously we can’t donate to every single cause out there. You need to find what you are passionate about and research which charities will help make the change you want to see. Google is your friend. Check the charity’s website, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t let cynicism keep you from helping some very worthwhile charities. Keep your head about you and your heart open.
Is this child not worthy of your compassion?
To view a report card on some of the better known charities in Canada go check out Moneysense’s Charity 100.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away in Eastern Ontario lived a beautiful, worldly, ever so gracious Queen who was terribly misunderstood. Her subjects thought she was mean and spiteful, as to never allow that most fun food, known as hot dogs, into the royal land. The Queen stood firm though, proclaiming that “Nitrates, and things I cannot pronounce need not touch thy offsprings lips” and banished them from her Queendom for eternity. Her ruling was met with pouts and an occasional underground hot dog when her subjects left the land without her.
One day, when out on a regal quest, the Queen came upon Country Naturals Hot Dogs. “What’s this?”, she wondered. “Pork, lemon, spices....... I can pronounce these things.” Knowing what she knew about Schneiders other Country Naturals products the Queen decided to surprise her subjects.
“Is this for real?”, the royal minions cried. “But mother, we’re not worthy.”
“Yes, ‘tis true. For I remember well the clothes that never make the hamper, the avoidance of homework and chores and how the toilet never gets flushed. But I am a benign dictator, I mean, er, Queen and I must look at the greater good.” By serving these hot dogs I can feel good about, there may be less discord in the land thought the Queen. And so it was, that on a Thursday night in May the royal family lit the bonfire and pulled out the weinie roasters.
The lord of the land declared “Mmmmm, these are, mmmmm, yum, mmmm, good.”
And there were smiles:
And even a happy dance:
The royal canine, dismayed that the family did not include her in the festivities made her displeasure known from outside the royal gates:
And the Queen declared, “From this day forth, Long Live the Weinie Roast”
What's for breakfast?
What's for lunch?
What's for supper?
Can I have a snack?
Can I have treat?
What was the hottest day in Canada?
Is today the hottest day in Canada?
Can cars catch on fire?
What would you do if our car caught on fire?
What if you were cleaning the car and the steering wheel exploded into flames?
Can I have a sleepover tonight?
Can I have a sleepover tomorrow?
What are we doing Thursday?
Who is Louis Riel?
Why was Louis Riel hanged?
What is treason?
Can a friend come over?
What time is your meeting over?
Can I play on the computer?
What are we doing Wednesday?
Why do people litter?
Can I watch TV?
Can we sleep in the tent tonight?
What time are we going to bed?
Can we go in the pool?
How many more days until my birthday?
Can we take a break?
Can we go down here?
Can we call a babysitter?
What happens if you swallow toothpaste?
Can I have a treat?
Are you making dessert tonight?
Can you come in the pool?
What are we doing tomorrow?
Good grief. Only 71 more sleeps to go until school is back in session, but who's counting."