On that note, do take the time to investigate the charity you plan to give to. Some of the web sites to do this are Charity Navigator, and Give.org to name a couple. I was surprised by some information I found on the former site:
- Habitat For Humanity gets a one-star rating, spending only about 75% of its money on program expenses (i.e. actual charity work)! It spends 22 cents on fundraising for every dollar it gets!
- The American Red Cross does get 4 stars, but still spends 18 cents on the dollar on fundraising, and has a CEO making a salary in excess of $450,000!
- By and large, the smaller charities do a better job, in my opinion. For example, among charities that do work in India (where I'm from), one of the standout groups, Asha for Education, spends just a cent on a dollar on fundraising, spends almost 98% of its budget on program expenses, and does not pay its CEO!
That's not to condemn any of the larger charities, just to say do your homework. And remember, as my friend's dad used to tell him,
Make all you can,
Save all you can,
Give all you can.