The charity scam



The Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting spent a year investigating bad charities in the USA.  And it is shameful

The worst charity in America operates from a metal warehouse behind a gas station in Holiday.

Every year, Kids Wish Network raises millions of dollars in donations in the name of dying children and their families.

Every year, it spends less than 3 cents on the dollar helping kids.

Most of the rest gets diverted to enrich the charity’s operators and the for-profit companies Kids Wish hires to drum up donations.

In the past decade alone, Kids Wish has channeled nearly $110 million donated for sick children to its corporate solicitors. An additional $4.8 million has gone to pay the charity’s founder and his own consulting firms.

No charity in the nation has siphoned more money away from the needy over a longer period of time.

But Kids Wish is not an isolated case, a yearlong investigation by the Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

Using state and federal records, the Times and CIR identified nearly 6,000 charities that have chosen to pay for-profit companies to raise their donations.

Then reporters took an unprecedented look back to zero in on the 50 worst — based on the money they diverted to boiler room operators and other solicitors over a decade.

These nonprofits adopt popular causes or mimic well-known charity names that fool donors. Then they rake in cash, year after year.

The nation’s 50 worst charities have paid their solicitors nearly $1 billion over the past 10 years that could have gone to charitable works.

A very thin veneer of charitability masks a cynical business taking money off people’s best intentions.

Can we identify some in New Zealand that would be contenders to go on this list?


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  • I don’t think there is a Journalist with enough courage to report on the bottle water charity, by the certain members of the All Blacks.

    The Bottle water company “water for everyone” has Carter, Richie and Ali ,involved it (It made the news a few years back, because other members were setting up a rival company)

    Water for everyone, says a % of sales goes to charity, for what I understand only five cents for every $3.00 bottle sold goes to charity.

    So then Mr Slater are you going to have courage to dig further?

    Five cents for every 3.00, is not very charitable.

    • Not looked into it, but there is a big difference between a company stating “$ per sale goes to charity” and a charity. If you have more solid info, don’t be shy.

    • I know you left a reply, but that was eaten by the comment system that seems to be having problems today. This was my reply to your reply (ahem)

      “About Us

      What is the For Everyone Foundation?

      The For Everyone Foundation is a registered charity and independently audited. It has only one part time employee ensuring that 99% of all money goes directly to the communities we help not administration costs.”

      They claim 99% goes to the communities on their web site.

      So really, the 5 cents in $3 claim needs more work.

      Perhaps they pay out 99% of the 5 cents per bottle?

      EDIT: They have the 5 cents per “unit sold” claim on the web site also. It certainly seems like some questions need to be asked.

  • Patrick

    This is why I enjoy asking charity collectors what percentage of my donation will be used to better the lives of those you purport to be collecting for? In all cases (so far) I have not received an answer that convinces me to give money. To my mind by far most charities are businesses, they use the free labour & naivety of fuffy eyed do gooders to collect their incomes. Most of which is then spent building empires for the charity’s executive. Big high rise glass tower offices, flights & spend ups on hotels & conferences, all the while the folk that the charity is supposed to be helping continue to suffer.

  • BJ

    How about charities having to pay tax and keep financial records just like a business but also having to have the end of year financial statements publicly available and only if it all stacks up does the charity then get back (for charity purposes only), the tax amount the “charity’ had paid throughout the year?

    • Callum

      Charities do have to keep financial records just like a business and also make their financial statements public via the Charities Commission website. You can go and check on ANY registered charity asking for your money. This is a massive improvement on prior years, charities are regularly investigated and struck off for not filing their accounts.

      All the bigger charities (and many smaller ones) are GST registered and keep exactly the same records as any business, accounting for PAYE on any wages paid etc.

  • Bad__Cat

    Biggest con must be the UN. Ask Our resident expert Sheep how much he has in his US bank account for “helping” the starving in Africa

  • Bunswalla

    I get one or two calls a week from all sorts of dodgy outfits such as the Police Inspector’s Guild fund-raising for a calendar or guide on how to keep your kids safe, or some such bollocks. I always ask them whether they (the person trying to con me out of cash) is actually a Police Inspector on their day off, or are they a paid employee of a fund-raising outfit.

    I’ve never once been told anything other than “paid fund-raiser” and I tell them – politely most times – that we choose which charities to support ourselves, and we ensure all money is used for the direct benefit of the charity.

  • SJ00

    I’m going to sound very mean spirited here, but this is exactly why I don’t give money to charities. I’ll drop a can of pet food into the SPCA bins but thats about it. I just don’t believe the target audience of the charity gets much or anything out of it. More often than not the staff drive nice fancy cars, have nice offices and nice pay. I’m not against people doing well out of jobs, but most people give money to a charity expecting that money to end up with the targeted audience. And as silly as it sounds, the ones that give you something in return, a sticker, a nose, a ribbon, whatever, should just use that money for the charity, not to pay some chinese company to mass produce more junk for this world. The only reason they give those things out is to make others feel guilty for not donating themselves. Its shaming others into action. Why can’t people be happy just giving a donation and not receive one of these advertising guilt trips.

    • parorchestia

      Your reaction is completely normal and understandable. I am a Rotarian and our Club’s funds go 100% to the nominated charities, such as Chomondeley House, a local charity that provides very practical help to children of distressed families. We charge nothing for our services. So, I suggest you search out and give small donations to the most effective charities in your neighbourhood. Inner Wheel, Lions and Rotary are excellent (apologies to any other service groups I have left out).

  • The Dog Thinks

    World Vision I seam to recall does try to contain admin and “internal costs” to just 10% meaning 90% goes to the field supported. But remember that some times means World Vision staff in the field are included in the 90%.
    I think “Southern Sudan Mission” on the other hand spends around 96% in New Zealand on there own administration and salaries. Talk about rip off charity. Woof.