If a charity is advertized on national television, it's a scam

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Christian Children's Fund

You've seen an advertisement. One of the few times you see the disenfranchised, the very poor, of the world on television. I guess that's a service in itself.

But what must the expenses be like to advertise on the CBS morning show?

They bring in more than $200 million a year, mostly in direct public support, indirect public support, and lastly from the government.

Right off the top they say they spend more than $30 million for advertising and management.

Officers and directors get more than a million and a half dollars according to their 2006 Form 990, attached.

Only $99 million – well less than half their $220 million spent in 2006 – is listed as going to direct grants to individuals. [Clarification: another $40 million was listed as grants and allocations.] I would love a lot more detail than they provided.

In a lot of ways this isn't Christian Children Fund's fault, or the fault of any establishment charity. I think there's a lot of overpaid people in the organization (not grossly, by U.S. standards, they seem to top off at a quarter-million dollars a year– but really, that's sick). You need a much closer connection to people and a huge network of volunteers to get money to people who need it with less overhead and more transparency. This is something I hope PWGD will help make possible.

Aside: Guidestar needs a knock here too. Guidestar has fashioned something of a monopoly for itself in taking 501c3 annual filings (form 990s) from the U.S. Government, and requires a membership to see a quick view numbers (and not the detail I just provided from the filing itself in any case).

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2006-540536100-02caf641-9.pdf1.18 MB