BBB: Charity only gives 10 percent to those in need

6:51 PM, Apr 16, 2009   |    comments
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By Ryan Dean

KSDK -- Would you give money to a charity if only ten percent of the funds went to the people in need? The Better Business Bureau thinks not.

The charity the BBB is questioning is Foundation for Children with Cancer, located in St. Louis. The BBB says the charity raises millions of dollars, but 90 percent of that never goes to families in need.

IRS documents show that in 2007, Foundation for Children with Cancer (FCC) raised nearly $3.2 million. Only $271,000 went to kids with cancer and their families; $2.3 million was paid to a telemarketing company that FCC hired for fundraising. That means about 90 cents of every dollar raised went to this company.

The BBB says nothing illegal is taking place, but they believe the cancer organization needs to be more transparent to its donors.

"If they started their call by saying 'before I start 88 percent of all the money you are going to donate is going to go in my pocket and 12 percent will go to the charity,' would you keep on the line? Most people would hang up," says Jim Judge, a BBB Charity Information spokesman.

Washington University is hosting its annual Thurtene Carnival this weekend. Foundation for Children with Cancer was selected as the charity to receive some of the profits.

FCC's president says all money raised from the weekend will directly benefit families in need. They refused to comment on BBB's warning.

The BBB issued the following tips to help donors make wise giving decisions:

--If you are unfamiliar with the organization, don't hesitate to ask for written information about its programs and finances.

--Don't succumb to pressure to give money on the spot. A charity that can use your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow.

--Watch out for appeals that bring tears to your eyes, but tell you nothing about how your donation will be used.

--Before making online donations, determine if the charity's Web site has a privacy policy concerning the use of your name, email address or other personal facts.

--Don't assume a Web site is affiliated with a nonprofit organization just because ".org" appears at the end of the internet address. To verify if a group is tax-exempt as a charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, visit www.irs.gov.

KSDK

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