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A Season of Giving: Where Does Your Donation Go?

The end of the year is full of holidays that focus on giving. It’s no wonder that so many charities see a spike in donations this time of year. You may have even considered donating yourself! It’s always good to give back. Right?

Well, it may not be so simple. As easy as it could be to write a check and call that a good deed, it is important to know where your money goes after you donate. How much of your money actually goes to the people that the organization claims to help? How much of it is spent on advertising? Executive salaries? Is the organization using my money to support their political agenda? 

The Salvation Army is an international charity known for collecting donations near Christmas. Yet, this very popular charity has a history of discrimination against the LGBT community. They have attempted to change their image but their support of anti-gay legislation speaks for itself. If you are a member of the LGBT community or an ally, this might not be the place you want to give your money. 

So, that’s one charity. It could be because it has religious ties or is too political. Maybe an organization with a more specific goal would be better. How about cancer treatment? What could be bad about treating cancer? Nothing... if that’s what your money is doing. Susan G. Komen is a breast cancer charity that does work in over 60 countries and has been under fire for how they spend their money. Some estimates claim that they spend as little as 15% of donations on research or treatment. All while the CEO makes over half a million USD annually. Your donation could go to marketing costs before a person with cancer sees a dime.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t donate. If you are privileged enough to be able to donate to a charity, you should. Many charities and nonprofits (secular and religious) do amazing work that helps people all around the world. However, you should make sure that your money is going places where it will do the most value. Just a little bit of research can be the line between good intentions and good deeds.



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