Opinion

EDITORIAL: Contribute to charities wisely

It’s the season for fundraising.

Every weekend it seems there is some sort of walk, run, bicycle ride, or obstacle course event to raise money for worthy causes like cancer research, sending kids to summer camp, diabetes.

The list goes on.

Often participants have to raise a certain amount of pledges to enter the event.

They spend countless hours soliciting family and friends to help out, organize their own fundraisers such as pub crawls, garage sales, car washes, and hot dog sales.

It’s a symbiotic relationship that seems to leave everyone smiling, and satisfied that they’ve done some good and had a little fun along the way.

But is it worth it?

Since 2009 MoneySense magazine has graded the performance of Canada’s 100 biggest charities to determine whether money raised to support their causes actually reaches its intended benefactor.

Last year those charities raised $4.5 billion.

Of that, $3.4 billion went to programs the charities supported.

The rest, presumably, was the cost of doing business, paying salaries, promotion, and staging events.

Many performed admirably. Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Charities, for instance, funnelled 88 per cent of its spending to programs that support children’s participation in minor sports.

The Terry Fox Foundation ploughed 82.4 per cent of its money into cancer programs.

Others didn’t fare as well, spending half or more of donated funds just to raise those funds.

(A great website to visit is www.charityintelligence.ca)

So before signing that pledge form or lacing up those sneakers, it pays to enquire where exactly your money is going.

 

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