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CUTTHEMUSIC

Using your display to collect for charity

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Anybody use their display to collect for a charity? My wife and I are thinking about collecting canned goods for a food bank. Any suggestions, concerns, tips, etc???

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My justification for spending the money last year to build a display was that I would collect for a charity. I put a locking box at the end of the drive and collected cash for the local food pantry. I thought about collecting actual food products, but given the Wisconsin weather, that didn't seem like such a good idea. The cash collection worked out well because most people were willing to drop the change from their purse/pocket/ashtray into the box. 100% of what I collected helped out people in our own community. Thepeople who run the pantry were very happy as they need cash donations to purchase dairy and fresh meat products for those that they assist.

Other than the box that said "Donations for Oconomowoc Food Pantry" I had no other indication that we were taking collections. Many people, I think, didn't have any idea. Despite this, we were able to raise over $700.00. This year I will make a greater effort to let people know.

I received many hand written notes in the collection box, and a few mailed cards thanking us for our efforts. Most had comments about how the food pantry had helped them through tough times. A couple were from wives of soldiers serving in Iraq. It really made it worthwhile.

If you feel an urge to help out a charity, by all means do so. You may not change the world, but you can change your little corner of it.

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Before you give to any charities make sure you investigate them. I looked at a few and i will not name any names but many use most of the $$$ u give for administrative costs and not directly to the charity. So please do investigate..

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gsxr7500 wrote:

Before you give to any charities make sure you investigate them. I looked at a few and i will not name any names but many use most of the $$$ u give for administrative costs and not directly to the charity. So please do investigate..

I remembering hearing about this last year with all the Katrina donations that were taking place. I remember hearing that some companies were taking cuts thatwere sometimes more than half.

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gsxr7500 wrote:

Before you give to any charities make sure you investigate them. I looked at a few and i will not name any names but many use most of the $$$ u give for administrative costs and not directly to the charity. So please do investigate..

Yeah that is a good idea...call you BBB and they can give you a report on how much goes toward Admin. fees and how mauch goes toward that charity. You will be surprise how many are setup to just pay salaries. That is how I get them off of the phone...if they call...I tell them they have to send me a finance statement showing me how much goe to Admin and how much goes to the Charity.

I would collect money, because most people that come by are not going to know about bringing can goods. I guarantee you that any charity can do better things with cash. Can goods might be a heavy problem for you. Plus people like me get rid of stuff we buy by accident...lol

A friend of mine has raised about $3,400 each year for the past to years. He has a rolling safe that gets rolled out by the mail box and it has enough info to get people to throw it in there.

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i wasnt going to mention names but who cares. I had my wife do some investigative work cause she lost her mom to cancer so she wanted to do our donations to the american cancer society and there ratio was 74%admin and 26 %to the actual cause. The best we found was the St Judes Childrens Hosp. theres is 76% to the cause and 24% admin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Makes you wonder.....

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gsxr7500 wrote:

i wasnt going to mention names but who cares. I had my wife do some investigative work cause she lost her mom to cancer so she wanted to do our donations to the american cancer society and there ratio was 74%admin and 26 %to the actual cause. The best we found was the St Judes Childrens Hosp. theres is 76% to the cause and 24% admin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Makes you wonder.....

St Judes is what I would call normal for Charity...I don't wonder now-a-days...I think it is our duty to check out charities.

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I would agree about checking out where the money is going. This is a big part of why I picked my local food pantry. All of the people working there are volunteers, the space they work out of is donated by a local church who run a thrift shop next door and the only expenses they have are the utilities they use.

Other charities spend a great deal of the money to pay salaries and to raise more money. The research based charities then give the money to other people to do the research, which usually involves another layer of administration, overhead, salaries, etc.

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The following is from the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) website. The CFC is a once a year fundraising event for charities by the federal government from federal employees. The charity navigator listed below seems to have a good way to check on a charity on the internet.

Type the name of the charity in the Charity Search box that you are interested in, then click on the name and it gives you all the information you need to know about their expenses, program costs, etc.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm

http://www.opm.gov/cfc/html/qfd.asp

[*]


  1. Where else can I get information about the organizations in the CFC?

  2. A number of organizations make available information for donors about the charities they evaluate or rate. Known as charity ”watchdog“ organizations, these can help donors make responsible choices when donating. However, as suggested in a recent report about the organizations and publications that rate nonprofit organizations, because approaches and criteria to rating an organization may vary, it is important that donors fully understand the information they are receiving from such ratings and rankings so they can make well-informed judgments and not be misled and/misinformed.

    1. 2Rating the Raters: An Assessment of Organizations and Publications That Rate/Rank Charitable Nonprofit Organizations; report by a joint task force of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations and the National Human Services Assembly, 2005.
    2. upblue.jpg


    3. How can I evaluate an organization's use of funds?
      [/align]

      All of the above organizations evaluate financial measures although they differ on the allowable/desired percentage for fundraising costs. If you have questions about how an organization is using its funds, the most effective way of obtaining a response is by contacting the Chief Financial Officer or the bookkeeper for the organization and ask them to explain their use of funds for programs, administration, and fundraising. You may also wish to request historical information about the organization’s expenses and revenues so you can identify changes over time. Finally, you can review the organization's IRS Form 990

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Guest Jeff_Womack

gsxr7500 wrote:

i wasnt going to mention names but who cares. I had my wife do some investigative work cause she lost her mom to cancer so she wanted to do our donations to the american cancer society and there ratio was 74%admin and 26 %to the actual cause. The best we found was the St Judes Childrens Hosp. theres is 76% to the cause and 24% admin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Makes you wonder.....

Some quick searching finds the following Better Business Bureau report on ACS: http://charityreports.bbb.org/Public/Report.aspx?CharityID=186

Quote: Programs: 77% Fund Raising: 13% Administrative: 10% Other Expenses: Less than 1% (That is for 2005 through 2007 so it might have changed a little)

St Jude's: http://www.give.org/reports/report.aspx?ID=13&ReportType=1

But if you want to support Cancer research and don't like ACS, there is always the Lance Armstrong Foundation: http://www.give.org/reports/report.aspx?ID=1360&ReportType=1 (Only 5% goes to admin)

EDIT: I posted this before getting to Denny's post, however I think it is still useful.

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gsxr7500 wrote:

i wasnt going to mention names but who cares. I had my wife do some investigative work cause she lost her mom to cancer so she wanted to do our donations to the american cancer society and there ratio was 74%admin and 26 %to the actual cause. The best we found was the St Judes Childrens Hosp. theres is 76% to the cause and 24% admin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Makes you wonder.....

Its not unheard of for telephone solicitors to charge 50% for collecting for highway patrolman's causes or other things. The worst thing is to give to a telephone solicitor. However, think of this, organizations like Red Cross/Crescent, etc, well they HAVE to pay rent on buildings at the food kitchen, and its nice to think everyone can donate 100% of their time volunteering but real world is, they need full time people on staff to do what they do and these people cant make themselves homeless working for free, therefore all the charitable organizations to have to pay salaries to people.

Dont sweat administration costs too much, its a necessity. What you dont want to do is take the wrong avenue delivering the money to the organization since there are so many ways "for profit commissions" can be levied against your contribution before it even gets to the organization. One way a "for profit commission" can be charged are in some cases via web based donation.

Also use care, make sure YOU arent dipping into funds for your own "for profit or even cost recovery commission". If you donate for charity, 100% most go or you could be possibly risking a felony fraud, etc. If there is any cost recovery, it most be clearly disclosed.

I have been known to say, yes, displays should have the right to put a bucket out and collect for electric bill, expansion of display, etc and I also advocate donations for causes. We have collected for both at same timebut the big key is full open disclosure, signs posted at bucket saying exactly what is going to what and avoid anything that is misleading. If your visitors choose to donate to your electric bill, thats great, power to you. In our case, we had 2 clearly marked donation bins and even posted what the donation was for in 2 languages, the sad thing is, historically we've had 6 times the amount of money donated to our electric bill and technologicaly reinvestment fund then for the needy causes, but hey the visitors freely voted with their dollars. If they choose to donate to worthy causes, even better, just make sure they know what they are donating to.

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May I suggest that if you collect cash donations and want to give that to your local center who provides assistance (food, shelter, etc), take your money and go to the shelter and ask what they need. Then go and buy it all with your money collected and deliver the goods... that way you know 100% of what you collected goes to goods and food that is truly needed. I realize it's an extra step and takes a little more time, but I'm sure if you go (and maybe even take your kids with you), you and your kids willlearn a lot from the service you are providing.

It's July and I'm already pumped for Christmas....is my aniticpation"peeking" too soon?:laughing: Not sure if I can sustain this level of excitement for another 6 months.:] I took a couple of months off and feel fresh and ready to go.

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