Friday, December 2, 2011

Holiday Giving

In a previous post, I mentioned my family's Christmas tradition of donating to charity instead of buying gifts. An email is making the rounds this season that makes false claims about the proportion of donations going to services vs CEO pay for charities like Unicef. It suggests that you donate money instead to various charities that serve veterans.

Now, I think donating to veterans' charities is a great idea- especially at a time when the veteran suicide rate outstrips the number of combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. But bashing other charities, lying about them, is not very consistent with the Christmas spirit.

So if you get this email, ignore it. Better yet, reply to the person who sent the email and let them know that it's bunk. And before choosing a charity to donate to this year, check out its reputation here:


  1. Well, it would be interesting to know what the proportions are. While I personally don't condone this practice nor feel inclined to give to veteran's charities (that's the government's job and if the government is not willing to support the very people it sends to war, the people need to elect a different government), I have to admit that it does make a difference to me how a charity remunerates their CEO. I used to give to the Ocean Conservancy, but when I learned that their director is making 700k a year, I stopped. I have adopted the concept of donating in lieu of gifts, but I tend to support local, small NGO's that don't pay their CEOs big bucks.

  2. i agree. you can find those proportions on that website. just plug in your charity and it'll tell you what the ceo makes, what percent of donations go to advertising vs administration vs program fees, etc.