Give money or your time?

I get lots of email and a catchy subject line really grabs my attention. So when I saw one that said “boycott charities” I knew I’d be in for an interesting read.

A gentleman called Tom was the sender and he made a good point, but I don’t know he grasped the whole idea of charity.

“I’m sick of all these charities exploiting kids and tugging at our heartstrings asking us to give and most of the money we send goes to administration costs,” wrote Tom.

Tom has a point. There are lots of costs associated with running a charity. And in some cases only a small portion actually goes to what you intend it to go for: the actual cause.

Tom continued: “I’m going to send $100 and probably a few bucks of that will help the dying kid in Africa. The other money is going to send the camera crew there to take pictures of the scene.” That point might be a little exaggerated, but it’s maybe not that far off.

Non-profit organizations have a reputation of only using a small amount of proceeds to actually fund the purpose of the charity. I did my own investigation and visited a charity’s office in Winnipeg.

The lobby had a giant screen TV and big comfy couch. There was lots of beautiful artwork on the walls and fancy offices you’d expect to see in a huge corporate building of a company that makes billions of dollars every year.

The place in question has a small staff but the space it takes up is remarkable. I didn’t believe I was in an office of a place that begs others for money. In all honesty, there was nothing that showed what type of office it is: one that is strapped for cash wanting to do its very best to help those in need.

While I first thought Tom was way off base with his statements, I see what he’s saying — I literally saw it.

So rather than suggesting a charity boycott, I would suggest volunteering your time to organizations if that makes you feel (and know) you’re making a difference.

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