Friday, January 18

This is my 500th blog post!

Today is a big day for "a fundraiser."

Today is the 553rd day since I started this blog and this marks the 500th blog I've written for Don't Tell The Donor.

Technorati continues to reward the growing traffic numbers... this site has had over 55,000 visitors come to the website, while another 450+ readers subscribe to the feedburner email delivery.

Today this site is ranked as the 108,652 most popular blog on the Internet... and with your help, I have no doubt Don't Tell The Donor will crack the top 100,000 blogs now.

Feel free to leave a comment on this post with ideas about which blog post was your favorite!

Why not celebrate this anniversary day by reaching out to a couple good fundraisers you know and trust... and invite them to join the conversation we've got going here?

4 comments:

Mike H. said...

Congratulations fundraiser. Thanks for what you add to the nonprofit conversation.

Julie said...

I only discovered your blog during the Red Cross scandal and I had no idea you had been doing it for so long

Anonymous said...

congrats

Tom Newman said...

Congratulations on making it to 500 - and beyond!

Here's word on a scheme raising dollars as a registered charity in Canada and the U.S. - excerpt of an article in The Vancouver Sun newspaper of January 19, 2008:

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=b76ff000-c8e8-4789-9ed8-806df2c2945a

During the year ending Sept. 30, 2006, GiveMeaning received $234,643 in donations for which it gave tax receipts, according to a financial statement filed with Canada Revenue Agency. Tom Williams said these are largely donations from individuals.

It received another $730,350 from other registered charities. Williams said these donations were made specifically to pay GiveMeaning's overhead.

He refused to identify any of these donors. I found this strange: My sense is that, while some donors request anonymity, most registered charities or foundations publicly report where they are placing their money, not so much for recognition as for transparency.

More generally, I do not understand why certain undisclosed charities would give money to pay overhead for what is essentially a charitable conduit.

In the case of GiveMeaning, that overhead is disproportionately large. Of the $982,705 in total donations it received (and issued tax receipts for), GiveMeaning spent $666,070, or 68 per cent, on administrative expenses.

Those expenses included $199,043 for professional and consulting fees; $153,646 for salaries, wages and benefits; $28,433 for advertising and promotion; and $24,019 for travel.

I asked Williams whether he receives a salary. Well, yes, $90,000 per year. And his wife, country singer Jessie Farrell, who works part-time for the foundation "when she can," gets $30,000. So together they collect $120,000 per year, plus expenses.

After subtracting overhead costs, just over $300,000 was available for charitable purposes in 2006, but only $172,000 was actually given to charities (the remainder is still on the foundation's books). That $172,000 represents just 17.5 per cent of total donations.

But that's not the end of it. Many of the charities that receive money have their own overhead. So the net amount available for true charitable purposes is even less.

Williams insists that, whenever a person gives money for a particular charity, 100 per of that money gets to the named beneficiary. That may be true, but it does not mitigate the fact that the vast majority of the overall money collected during 2006 went to administration.

Williams says this was due largely to start-up costs: "Yes, we have spent more than we have given away. Just like any other start-up business, it takes time to get profitable," he said.

He said the financial return for the year ending Sept. 30, 2007, which is just now being filed, will show a greater percentage of overall donations going to charity. We shall see.


The Vancouver Sun January 19, 2008