Nothing pulls at the heartstrings like fundraising for cancer right?
I was sitting in my recliner this morning doing research for my classes while watching House when the phone rang. I asked, "Hello?" several times, nothing. Finally just as I was ready to hang up, I hear a voice asking for me by name. I said "speaking" and then the woman on the other line proceeded to tell me she was calling from Cancer Fund of America ( 877-867-4596 ) and that she would keep me on the phone no more than sixty seconds. Before I could tell her I wasn't interested, she tells me that she won't presume cancer has affected my family followed by "I'm sure it has affected you in some way". Before I could tell her "no not quite yet" she went on about it. So lucky for me, her clock began to tick....remember...sixty seconds.
She told me something about wanting to help people with cancer by aiding in their actual needs rather than research. She then told me that they would send me a packet and that I could donate whatever I wanted. She asked me what I would pledge over the phone and then after I received the packet they would give me thirty days before contacting me. I told her I would rather know their website so I could take a look at things myself. She kept insisting they should mail something to me. I insisted on their website. She kept interrupting me until I remained firm on my request. She gave me their URL which is www.cfoa.org and while we were on the phone I pulled them up. Ok so they at least had a website. That was a start.
In checking their site, I noticed the big "Donate" button. I told her that if I chose to donate I could do so through my credit union billpay system but first I wanted to check out their organization. She kept insisting that they send me a donation kit. (Like I want or need more junk mail!?). I again told her that preferred to check out the website and do my homework first.
Finally I said, "Listen, I want to check out your website first and make my own decision" and she became short with me. I sensed she was about to hang up on me and so I said, "thank you" and hung up on her.
Sure I checked them out, as soon as I got off the phone. Like I said, I'm a skeptic. We donate to several worthy organizations and one of the important criteria is the amount of $$ that actually goes to the cause vs. administration. It didn't take long to discover that CFOA has a ZERO rating on Charity Navigator, a site that I find a very useful. Charity Navigator ranks thousands of charities with comprehensive information on how their money is spent and they do their homework.
In 2008, CFOA raised $13,786,818 however their program, administrative and fundraising expenses were $15,610,466. Hmm...a deficit. This means that ZERO DOLLARS were directed to the people they were supposed to be helping!
The prior year, CFOA disbursed a whopping $54,000 to their cause (most of which was the result of a lawsuit filed against them). Meanwhile their CEO and others at the highest levesls of the company raked in over half a million in salary.
I know there are expenses in running a charitable organization but this is absolutely unacceptable. Someone who claims to be part of the leadership of CFOA commented on Charity Navigator's site that the comments about the costs were not correctly reported, but it can't be disputed that the numbers come right from the reports they are required to file with the Federal Government. I've seen reports for charities that do similar work and their costs are far lower.
So to all you folks who are getting calls from CFOA, watch out. The only people benefiting from this organization are the people who run it.