If you want to make certain that any donations you make to an organization go for what you intend — eg. Research …then you must restrict your donation. This is not difficult. When you send in a donation you can write that the donation is restricted for ‘research only’.
Beyond this … you can even restrict this donation further. For instance, if you want your donation to be applied to a specific area of research funding you might write “donation is restricted for scholarships for research only” or “donation is restricted for awards and grants in scientific research only and may not be used for administrative costs of the organization including salaries, printing, travel, …”
And this not only applies to an individual, but also applies to companies and such. So if you are concerned that a particular $100,000 promised to be given to Komen from the sale of an item will end up in the education pot, then write letters to that manufacturer suggesting that they restrict that $100,000 for awards and grants for scientific research only.
My husband has worked in the field of not-for-profits for over 25 years. Believe me I have been educated by the best 🙂
I do want to emphasize, however, that there are costs to fundraising. It does take money to raise money. Reputable 501 c 3’s will spend money to bring in the funds because that money spent in overhead brings greater results and because there is competition for every fundraising dollar (to put it bluntly).
Stand Up 2 Cancer may put 100% into research .. but there is a cost in producing those programs, making those t-shirts, funding those phone banks, keeping its website functional, etc. It may be that the celebrities participating in those programs are funding the ‘behind the scenes’ costs in order for the donations to go to research only or patient grants only … but someone is paying someone for those other costs.
I write the above not to suggest that anyone is ignorant of this, but I have read a lot of “I’m only giving to such and such organization if they state that 100% goes to such and such”. You would be hardpressed to find a charity where 100% of the donations received go to a certain area – eg. ‘research’ (cancer), ‘housing’ (disaster relief), ‘tuition and scholarships’ (educational institutes), etc.
Even Stand Up 2 Cancer’s financial disclaimer states this:
“100% of public funds go directly into research grants. A portion of the funds that are raised from major donations and third-party fundraising go towards administrative expenses and overhead.” (emphasis mine)
What I find interesting is that one cannot read the actual financial statements of Stand Up 2 Cancer on its website. I cannot find a disclosure statement which actually shows detailed information on how the money is spent. Although they speak of financial transparency, it would be beneficial to actually read the real numbers. I’m not slamming SU2C, just pointing out that the actual numbers are not easily found. (Edited information below *) If you go to say the American Cancer Society website and type “financial statements” into the search engine, the first result is “Combined Financial Statements” and you can read an audit by Ernst and Young for 2010 and 2009. If you go to Komen’s website, there is a link to financial information with full disclosure of audited financial statements (Ernst and Young), annual reports, and IRS parent forms filed – all going back to 2003-04.
I’m not defending where the money goes for any particular 501 (c) 3 … but we should be able to read for ourselves where the money goes.
Hope this helps someone make informed decisions.
Posted on BCO September 18, 2012 by dltnhm
*Edited to add:
SU2C is actually a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. (Fine print at bottom of SU2C’s web page). You can go to EIF and read financial statements for the EIF.