Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Worst Charity In America

Ken Berger was on Fox Business News this week to discuss a new report by the Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting  that calls Kids Wish Network the Worst Charity in America. During the interview, Ken offers tips on how donors can be sure that their donations are going to worthy causes and not to professional fundraisers.


Anonymous said...

Fox News also just did a story today (6-14-12) on how the money given for the families of Sandy Hook Elementary has not gotten to them (or a very small percentage) and that this is being investigated in Connecticut.



Can't we get the support of all the charity raters and charity professional groups to put in a national law like that enacted in Oregon, where if more than 70% is eaten up by fundraising and other costs, they lose their deduct-ability for tax purposes? Except, lets set 50%. Herb Wilsin

Ken Berger said...


I am happy to support an effort like that (many raters and charity groups would not) but am certain that special interests within the nonprofit sector would cause it to be dead on arrival. Our best course is to speak out when we can and continue to educate the public about the scoundrels and thieves in our midst.


Anonymous said...

And let's tie all "religious" charities to the same set of rules as other 501(c)3 charities. Make them open their books. They don't have anything to hide right?!!?

Chuck Hoffheiser said...

As we know, the National Do Not Call List, on which I’ve listed my home and cell numbers, does not apply to charities.

One of the "flashing red lights" I've experienced regarding a questionable organization is a phone call from a completely unfamiliar charity.

Their first statement goes something like this: "Thank you for the gift you made last year to (name of charity). Can we count on your generous support this year?"

My response, "I don't recall making that donation, so would you please send me your financial reports."

That typically ends the call.

I choose to donate money primarily to local causes such as a food bank or organizations that have had some positive coverage by the local news media, or ones that have their main office in my community. Or, I might see their volunteers at things like a PGA golf tournament, or other events where large crowds might gather.

But, I still check for their "financials."

Ken Berger said...


I am with 100%. Of course in addition to the financials, we also recommend you look at their governance practices and evidence they are meeting their mission with meaningful data on their results.


Bruce said...

Clearly the worst "charity" in America is the federal government. How about including some of their welfare programs in your analyses
so we can expose them for the incredible waste of taxpayers dollars? We need to move those dollars into the real charities that you identify and support.

Ken Berger said...


Did you know that annually, whereas 15% (around $300 billion) of revenues going into the charitable sector comes from private contributions, 30% comes from government (~$600 billion) and the majority of remainder 50% (~$900 billion) comes from earned income? So if we ever do get government out of the business of funding charities, we have a herculean lift required of increasing the other two buckets of funding.

Up until now, those who argue for getting government out of the equation have not been stepping up to the plate with a clear plan of who will pay the price tag. We at Charity Navigator remain politically neutral on this but I can only say that the devil is truly in the details.