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Weak Excuses for High Fundraising Costs

   Aug 01, 2009

You would think that a charity with impressive-sounding programs such as Handicapped Children's Services of America and American Veteran's Network would be spending more than $50,000 on program services. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the AIP "F" rated Shiloh International Ministries (Shiloh). Of the over one million dollars that Shiloh raised in 2007, it managed to spend only 4.2% or $44,121 on programs, according to its most recently available audit of the same year. Shiloh's Informational Brochure admits that it receives only 15% to 20% of the gross amount raised by its outside commercial fundraisers. The Brochure says this "stands to reason" because the fundraiser is responsible for most fundraising costs and that if it did not hire an outside company "it would still have fundraising campaign expenses that would have to be covered by a large portion of the money raised for its various programs." AIP does not buy these excuses for high fundraising costs. By far most of the charities that AIP rates earn a "C" grade or better by keeping fundraising costs below 35% and spending over 60% of their budgets on program services.

Shiloh's Brochure also says that "The important thing to remember is that you are helping children that need your support. Without your generosity many needs would go unanswered." This is a meaningless statement that may motivate you to make a not well-thought-out or emotional giving decision. Think about it—needs will "go unanswered" whether or not you donate to Shiloh or any other charity. Even if you are Bill Gates you do not have the means to eliminate human suffering. The Brochure omits telling you AIP's view that more needs will be met if you choose to support a more efficient charity than Shiloh.