Charities - overhead vs programs

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Bylo Selhi
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by Bylo Selhi » 10 Jul 2011 16:15

Six-figure salaries at Canadian charities raise questions on how money is spent [my bold]
There are around a million charity workers in Canada. The agency's database shows more than 6,000 of them earned above $120,000 last year. A few hundred made over $350,000. Another 12,000 workers made between $80,000 and $120,000. And about 163,000 earned less than that.
Who edits this stuff? 6k + 12k + 163k ~= 181k << 1,000k!!!
Registered charities with at least 10 people earning $350,000 or more include the La Salle Manor retirement home in Scarborough, Ont., the Regina Qu'Appelle Regional Health Authority, the University of Saskatchewan and Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital.
WTF do these people do?
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation paid its 156 full-time workers and 30 part-timers nearly $13-million last year, Canada Revenue Agency records show. All of the foundation's top earners made more than $120,000 last year — and three of them made between $200,000 and $249,999. The foundation also spent about $23-million last year on charitable works, including research grants and scholarships.
They paid the suits more than half of what they spent on their raison d'être?
The Sick Kids Foundation, which mainly raises money for the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, paid its staff of 136 full- and part-time employees nearly $12-million last year.
$12M/136 ~= $88k/per person — administrative, clerical and janitorial staff included?
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by adrian2 » 10 Jul 2011 18:42

Bylo Selhi wrote:Six-figure salaries at Canadian charities raise questions on how money is spent [my bold]
There are around a million charity workers in Canada. The agency's database shows more than 6,000 of them earned above $120,000 last year. A few hundred made over $350,000. Another 12,000 workers made between $80,000 and $120,000. And about 163,000 earned less than that.
Who edits this stuff? 6k + 12k + 163k ~= 181k << 1,000k!!!
One way to interpret it is that the remaining 819k were true volunteers, i.e., did not earn anything.

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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by CROCKD » 14 Oct 2011 14:17

This subject has been raised before on this forum. I have compiled my own list using tax data as filed per Bylo.

Canada's top 10 charities

How can they possibly give a top ten ranking to a charity with less than 60% going to programs? See #3, #5 and #6.

Who writes these things anyway?
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by Pickles » 14 Oct 2011 22:41

CROCKD wrote:This subject has been raised before on this forum. I have compiled my own list using tax data as filed per Bylo.

Canada's top 10 charities

How can they possibly give a top ten ranking to a charity with less than 60% going to programs? See #3, #5 and #6.

Who writes these things anyway?
By "top ten" they mean the biggest, not the best. That's why, for example, Sick Kids Foundation gets only a C+. It is a terrible charity.

The CEO earns $350,000+ and farms out the fundraising to a separate firm. I have no idea what he does to justify drawing a salary. Although I am a "sick kid alumnus", I give nothing to the Foundation; in the past , every donation was followed up with several expensive mailings requesting more money. I don't think a penny of my money made it through to people needing help.

Now, I give only to my church and to very small charitable projects. For example, I just sent money to my cousin who is traveling with medical/bedding/clothing supplies to Haiti.

She, and relatives going with her, will give what they bring to the orphanage where she she adopted her two boys a decade ago. Her boys have done fundraising for the orphanage and for other relief work in Haiti over the past 2 years. Some may say that the trip is an unnecessary extravagance but, for the boys, it is an important connection to their heritage and they are paying for it themselves. I understand that millions raised for Haiti in Canada have yet to leave the coffers of the charities that were the beneficiaries of Canadians' generosity. When I read of the "hygienic kits' distributed by World Vision, I wondered how many toothbrushes and bars of soap -- provided, for free, by major cosmetic firms --they shipped and how that could possibly account for the millions of dollars in donations they raised. Meanwhile, my cousin and her boys will help a local organization continue its work to save children with EVERY PENNY raised.

Closer to home, it is easy for me to find ESL and settlement programs for adults to support, as well as school nutrition, arts and sports programs. I have no need or desire to waste good money giving it to major fundraising campaigns where the chief beneficiaries are executives and fundraising firms.
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by chiaroscuro » 15 Oct 2011 00:06

Pickles wrote:By "top ten" they mean the biggest, not the best.
Anyone care to make a personal list of the top 10 or even 5?
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by newguy » 15 Oct 2011 00:14

chiaroscuro wrote:
Pickles wrote:By "top ten" they mean the biggest, not the best.
Anyone care to make a personal list of the top 10 or even 5?
1. Newguy

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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by chiaroscuro » 15 Oct 2011 00:22

newguy wrote:
chiaroscuro wrote:
Pickles wrote:By "top ten" they mean the biggest, not the best.
Anyone care to make a personal list of the top 10 or even 5?
1. Newguy
Sometimes you make me laugh. :lol:
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by Jaunty » 15 Oct 2011 00:42

I get the odd call from some Toronto outfit to support school nutrition programs. You know they are raking off the top. It is easy to find schools in your area that have programs and donate directly to the school/church/community orhganization that runs it. The Board will have know which schools have programs. If they don't, core area schools will have programs (I spent lots of years in these). No doubt their are rural schools in need too - one down here comes to mind, but the two rural schools I worked at were in fairly well off and very well off communities.

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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by tedster » 16 Oct 2011 14:28

Pickles wrote
The CEO earns $350,000+ and farms out the fundraising to a separate firm. I have no idea what he does to justify drawing a salary. Although I am a "sick kid alumnus", I give nothing to the Foundation; in the past , every donation was followed up with several expensive mailings requesting more money. I don't think a penny of my money made it through to people needing help.
Not disputing this, but what sources do you have for a: the CEO's salary? and b: the fact that the fundraising is sub contracted out? I have a personal interest in this. TIA.

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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by Bylo Selhi » 16 Oct 2011 15:26

tedster wrote:Not disputing this, but what sources do you have for a: the CEO's salary? and b: the fact that the fundraising is sub contracted out? I have a personal interest in this. TIA.
As usual Dr Google is your friend, as is CRA's charity website. See also:

Sick Kids loses top-paid fundraisers
A Star review of salaries at the foundation shows they have been growing steadily under O'Mahoney, with wages that are unusual in the Canadian charity world. Its top 10 officials (including the president) earned more than $2.8 million in salary and benefits last year, according to the most recent information available. The year before, the top 10 earned $2.2 million.

In the year ending March 31, 2008, O'Mahoney, 51, was paid $624,103 in salary and benefits, more than the president of the Hospital for Sick Children itself.

Among the five vice-presidents of the foundation in that same year, one was paid more than $500,000; the others between $200,000 and $250,000. Another five executives listed as directors (in such areas as marketing) were paid between $124,000 and $160,000...

[Board chair Patsy] says the board has no plans to rein in salaries.
Sick Kids charity boss gets $2.7M send-off
The SickKids Foundation gave former president Michael O'Mahoney a $2.7 million golden parachute when they showed him the door early this year, documents reveal.

The charismatic O'Mahoney, an American headhunted six years ago to lead the charity, received a payout that included his final salary of $600,000 plus a whopping $2.1 million the charity calls "incentive payments" and money to compensate him for leaving before the end of his contract. [Note from previous article, the severance was based on just 5 years of "service."]...

SickKids is the fundraising arm of the Hospital for Sick Children. Two years ago the Star reported that SickKids was using aggressive, commission-based fundraisers. The practice is frowned on in the charity world...

Hired this summer to replace O'Mahoney is Ted Garrard, formerly vice-president (external) of the University of Western Ontario. Garrard told the Star Wednesday he will be paid $400,000, plus another 25 per cent of his base salary if he meets fundraising and management targets. Garrard is paid a bit less than the president of Sick Kids Hospital; O'Mahoney was paid more.
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by zinfit » 16 Oct 2011 16:16

I always give my donations to the MCC. They are very well respected and run a lean operation.

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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by Pickles » 16 Oct 2011 16:32

tedster wrote:Pickles wrote
The CEO earns $350,000+ and farms out the fundraising to a separate firm. I have no idea what he does to justify drawing a salary. Although I am a "sick kid alumnus", I give nothing to the Foundation; in the past , every donation was followed up with several expensive mailings requesting more money. I don't think a penny of my money made it through to people needing help.
Not disputing this, but what sources do you have for a: the CEO's salary? and b: the fact that the fundraising is sub contracted out? I have a personal interest in this. TIA.
Ted, all over downtown Toronto streets are young people hired by a major fundraising firm to shill for the Sick Kids Foundation. They carry binders of pictures showing the hospital's good works and solicit donations. They get a cut, their supervisor gets a cut, all the way up to the agency hired by the Foundation. Any money left over goes to the Foundation and helps to pay Garard's $400,000 salary,etc. plus his bonuses for being so clever and hiring outside fundraisers.

Mr Garard and I had some spirited correspondence last year, regarding one Hallowe'en fundraising effort for the hospital: An "asylum" filled with crazed inmates trying to grab people as they walked by. Why anyone associated with a medical institution would think it was fine and dandy to stigmatize and sterotype psychiatric patients as dangerous and violent people to make money is beyond me. Silly moi -- I assumed that he would put a stop to it once informed what his underlings had approved. His initial response was patronizing and vague. It was only when he was a) flooded with angry emails and phone calls by psychiatric survivors, university professors and health care professionals through a hastily organized campaign, b) reported for an ethical violation of a philanthropic code that the hospital observes, and c) faced a possible picket of Sick Kids Hospital that he finally saw how unacceptable the "asylum" was.

It was at that time that I did a little research on the Foundation, as -- had it not withdrawn its sponsorship of this event -- my next step was a November campaign to discredit the Foundation as a charity and to convince potential donors to direct their money to charities with cheaper and better management.

I don't know what your personal interest is but don't open your wallet to this lot. They don't deserve a penny.
Regards,
Pickles

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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by biker » 16 Oct 2011 17:33

Not sure if this is true, but interesting to read.









Subject: Worth Reading




Donating - Interesting, ever wonder where that donation money goes?

Keep these facts in mind when "donating". As you open your pockets
for yet another natural disaster, keep the following facts in mind; we
have listed them from the highest (worse paid offender) to the lowest
(least paid offender).

The worst offender was yet again for the 11th year in a row is, UNICEF - CEO,
receives $1,200,000 per year, (plus use of a Rolls Royce for his exclusive
use where ever he goes, and an expense account that is rumored to be well
over $150,000.) Only pennies from the actual donations goes to the UNICEF
cause (less than $0.14 per dollar of income).

The second worst offender this year is Marsha J. Evans, President and CEO
of the American Red Cross... for her salary for the year ending in 2009 was
$651,957 plus expenses. Enjoys 6 weeks - fully paid holidays including
all related expenses during the holiday trip for her and her husband and
kids. including 100% fully paid health & dental plan for her and her family,
for life. This means out of every dollar they bring in, about $0.39 goes to
related charity causes.

The third worst offender was again for the 7th time was, Brian Gallagher,
President of the United Way receives a $375,000 base salary (U. S. funds),
plus so many numerous expense benefits it's hard to keep track as to what it
is all worth, including a fully paid lifetime membership for 2 golf courses
(1 in Canada, and 1 in the U. S. A.), 2 luxury vehicles, a yacht club membership,
3 major company gold credit cards for his personal expenses... and so on. This
equates to about $0.51 per dollar of income goes to charity causes.

Fourth worst offender who was also again in the fourth spot, for every year since
this information has been made available from the start 1998 is amazingly yet again,
World Vision President (Canada) receives $300,000 base salary, (plus supplied -
a home valued in the $700,000 - $800,000 dollar value range, completely furnished,
completely paid all housing expenses, including taxes, water/sewer, telephone/fax,
HD/high speed cable, weekly maid service and pool/yard maintenance, fully paid
private schooling for his children, upscale automobile and an $55,000 personal
expense account for clothing/food, with a $125,000 business expense account).
Get this, because it is a "religious based" charity, it pays, little to no taxes, can
receive government assistance and does not have to declare were the money goes.
Only about $0.52 of earned income per dollar is available for charity causes.

Of the sixty some odd "charities" we looked at, the lowest paid
(President/CEO/Commissioner) was heading up a charity group in Canada.
We found, believe it or not, it was......

Ready for this.. I think you might be surprised... It is, none other than...

The Salvation Army's Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a salary
of only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2
Billion dollar organization. Which means about $0.93 per dollar earned,
is readily available and goes back out to local charity causes...

truly amazing .. and well done "Sally Anne"

No further comment is necessary..."Think Twice" before you give to your
Charity
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by Pickles » 16 Oct 2011 18:01

Gee, Biker, all you had to do was check before you posted: it's an old urban legend email hoax http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/b ... laries.htm Maybe it was written by the Salvation Army publicity office. :lol:

The Salvation Army is not what it used to be back in Florence Booth's time. It has very few "Army members" and most of the people running charitable programs are hired personnel working on government grants. Did you know there are about 50 different Salvation Army registered charities in Canada alone? Each church in every community in Canada that the army maintains a presence in runs its own charity. Imagine the bureaucracy and administrative waste.

As for Bassett?
W. Todd Bassett, National Commander of the Salvation Army, was paid (along with his wife, who also works for the organization) an estimated $94,091 in salary and benefits in 2003 (including house and car). (Source: Fayetteville Observer)
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by Peculiar_Investor » 29 Oct 2011 13:18

Editor's note: The perils and promise of the new philanthropy - The Globe and Mail. In particular Margaret Wente's article, Here’s how we can be both smart and good - The Globe and Mail resonates with me and IMHO is a worthwhile read.
Margaret Wente wrote:The competition for money has created a sort of charity arms race, which pushes charities to spend more and more money in order to raise their profile and attract donations. “Something has changed in the past decade,” Ms. Bahen says. “There are more galas and more glitz. It feels to me as if it’s become about the donor experience – the donors feeling good, the donor having a good time. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I thought charity and giving were supposed to be about something else.”
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by Bylo Selhi » 29 Oct 2011 13:38

Peculiar_Investor wrote:In particular Margaret Wente's article
A thought-provoking read.
[Kate Bahen, managing director of Charity Intelligence Canada, a Toronto-based organization that advises donors, has] found that the best places to give money are often in your own backyard. Charity Intelligence’s recommended list includes a number of small grassroots groups that help high-risk adolescents, run food banks or serve the homeless. None of them are glitzy. Their administrative and fundraising costs are low. They do a lot with a little, and they’re focused on results.
That's good advice that we've been following for years, however, it ignores the need for aid to countries, especially developing ones, that are coping with natural disasters, require medical and engineering assistance, etc.

At the risk of invoking Bylo's law outside of Watercooler, this companion article provokes concerns of a different kind: In Harper's Canada, will we give more of ourselves to get lower taxes?
Human Resources Minister Diane Finley is looking to reform federal grants to charities and non-profits. Funding would increasingly be tied to performance. Organizations would be enabled and encouraged to seek investments from individuals and corporations...

Canadians don’t give as much because we expect government to enact programs that bring help to those who need help, while Americans rely more heavily on private philanthropy. That’s why we agree to pay higher taxes.

Except taxes have come down. The GST is two percentage points lower than it was five years ago. Federal corporate income taxes are declining to 15 per cent as of next year from 28 per cent in 2000. Ontario began cutting provincial income taxes in the 1990s; other provinces and the federal government followed.

Tax cuts have consequences. As economic growth flags, needs grow more acute, and demonstrably less government money is available to help.

This is why the Conservatives are attracted to the idea of mobilizing more private capital for public good.
So far so good, but...
If governments give less to charities and non-profits, and citizens give and – better yet – invest more, then this private social capital should do a better job of meeting needs than its public predecessor. Only the best charities should thrive; only those that demonstrably achieved their goals should expect our support.

The percentage of Canadians donating to charity actually declined between 1998 and 2008. Clearly, our sense of social obligation is not as fully developed as it should be...

Of course, we could always just raise taxes. Alex Himelfarb, former clerk of the Privy Council, argued in a speech earlier this month that governments are tax-cutting their way to perdition. “Without an honest conversation about tax, we won’t be able to face up to our challenges and we will sleepwalk our way toward a smaller, meaner Canada,” he warned.
[My bold]

Can we have an honest conversation about this?
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by Nemo2 » 29 Oct 2011 14:07

Bylo Selhi wrote:
The percentage of Canadians donating to charity actually declined between 1998 and 2008. Clearly, our sense of social obligation is not as fully developed as it should be....
I wonder if there's any correlation between countries becoming more heterogeneous, and philanthropy becoming less prevalent?

(I suspect, but have absolutely no idea, that 'new' immigrant communities might be more inclined to bestow alms within said community, but less likely to respond to the country at large.

Likewise I recall, when my first wife worked for an agency assisting Vietnamese 'boat people', there were initially at least, (because, I'm inclined to believe, it was 'novel'), fairly substantial donations which likely tapered off when it became 'old hat'.....of course the volume of, and publicity surrounding, these refugees was undoubtedly a factor.)
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by adrian2 » 29 Oct 2011 16:22

Nemo2 wrote:I suspect, but have absolutely no idea, that 'new' immigrant communities might be more inclined to bestow alms within said community, but less likely to respond to the country at large.
In my experience, 'new' immigrant communities are significantly less inclined to donate to charities in general. Speaking for my family, we were donating next to nothing for the first dozen years or so in Canada; since my car accident, I've donated annually to Sunnybrook Hospital, but we as a family are still quite far from the often cited 'target' of tithing (10% of gross / net income). I'd venture a guess that more than 95% of those not born in Canada donate less than 1% of their income to charity.

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List of worthwhile charities

Post by Benchwarmer » 31 Oct 2011 05:20

We are having our annual United Way drive at work. I did not donate the last 2 years because I didn't have time to do my research, so this year I am hoping to make catch-up donations.

In this thread, there are lots of charities listed that I should avoid. Is there a list of those that I should consider contributing to? I checked Charity Intelligence, but most of the ones listed are Ontario-specific. I have also decided against donating to national health organizations such as the Canadian Diabetes Association (if those with this disease follow their guidelines, their condition will almost surely worsen).

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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by pmj » 31 Oct 2011 12:57

Depending where you are - think very hard about contributing to United Way, and as an alternative donate directly to your selected charities. I'm not at home with access to precise numbers - but I have posted on this issue before.

In Ottawa, United Way's overhead is something like 35% to 45%. And some of the major charities it passes funds to have overheads in the range of 20% - 25% - even though most of their funds come directly from United Way, or from government bodies - which shouldn't incur much in the way of fund-raising costs. Only about a half of each dollar donated to United Way in Ottawa finds its way to charitable expenditures.

There are other United Ways with better figures. But you do also have to look at the figures for the recipient charities.
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by Bylo Selhi » 31 Oct 2011 13:18

Another problem with United Way involves who they fund. Some UWs fund Planned Parenthood despite objections from Catholic and anti-abortion organizations. Others have folded under the pressure. Some fund Catholic and anti-abortion organizations only and others fund both them and PP. See United Way to reveal funding list and United Way still funding Ottawa Planned Parenthood.

Since I object fundamentally to some of the organizations involved in the disputes I'd rather send my money directly to only those charities with whose mandate I agree.
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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by Benchwarmer » 01 Nov 2011 01:26

Thanks pmj & bylo. I am leaning towards contributing directly to some charities instead of through United Way at work. pmj - I am in Edmonton.

BTW, I am curious why corporations & other organizations actively support United Way. It seems quite costly (in terms of employee time & effort). Why not other charities?

BTW, United Way Ottawa releasing the information today is too late. The United Way program at work is in its last days, and most people have already contributed.

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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by brucecohen » 01 Nov 2011 09:41

Benchwarmer wrote: BTW, I am curious why corporations & other organizations actively support United Way. It seems quite costly (in terms of employee time & effort). Why not other charities?
Supporting UW is easy: one campaign once a year. It's also ingrained in the corporate culture and promoted as a pissing match among top executives. A friend of mine used to be in charge of administering corporate giving at a mutual fund company. She says UW corporate fundraisers act like thugs. With no consultation or discussion, they give the company a quota. Typically, she says, senior management urges the workers to raise as much they can and then the senior mgmt team dips into their pockets to cover any shortfall.

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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by kcowan » 01 Nov 2011 14:15

adrian2 wrote:...since my car accident, I've donated annually to Sunnybrook Hospital, but we as a family are still quite far from the often cited 'target' of tithing (10% of gross / net income). I'd venture a guess that more than 95% of those not born in Canada donate less than 1% of their income to charity.
Both my father and my brother spent their last days in Sunnybrook. One was a broken hip at age 95, the other COPD at age 70! I have contributed to them substantially but my days of contributing are numbered. (They recorded high MERs last year.)
For the fun of it...Keith

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Re: Charities - overhead vs programs

Post by Nemo2 » 08 Feb 2012 12:53

Today we received an envelope from the MS Society......see through envelope with a nickel attached, (in an attempt to highlight how little one can donate per day I presume), and more 'personalized' address labels that we'll need, (we almost never mail anything), for a lifetime........I have known people with MS and am very sympathetic.....but, if one's going to give, one will give....otherwise/otherwise, and emotional tricks or unsolicited junk isn't, IMO, likely to generate the response they're hoping for...quite the opposite.

And it's a bloody waste of, (probably previously donated), money.
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