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Feryk
6th July 11, 02:09 PM
Tralee Pearce
Globe and Mail Blog
Posted on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 9:53AM EDT


If you’ve been making steady donations to the Canadian Cancer Society over the past ten years, less and less of your donation has been going toward research, according to a new report from the CBC show Marketplace.

The CBC analyzed the charity’s financial reports and found “that each year, as the society raised more dollars, the proportion of money it spent on research dropped dramatically — from 40.3 per cent in 2000 to under 22 per cent in 2011.”

While the amount of money channelled toward research has increased slightly, as part of the charity’s overall increasing budget, spending on fundraising and administration has been on the steady rise, according to the CBC.

One Ontario cancer researcher said this should be a concern for those in the field:

"Most scientists don’t realize that the budget has been going up and up, and donations have been growing, but the budget for research has been shrinking," Brian Lichty, a researcher at McMaster University who is looking into treating cancer with viruses that kill tumours, told the CBC.

"So they are surprised and disappointed when they find out that this is the case, and the trend."

These findings are the most recent to shine an uncomfortable spotlight on cancer fundraising. In April, another study pointed out that fundraising for breast cancer may be eclipsing fundraising for the most deadly cancers.

A group called Charity Intelligence Canada found that many of the cancers that take the most years of life from Canadians - pancreatic, stomach, lung and colorectal cancers - account for less than two per cent of cancer charity funding, while breast cancer charities attract almost half of those funds.

There have also been controversy recently about the methods some cancer charities use to raise funds, including the “booby bracelet” movement - especially among children and teens.

And then, this month saw the debut of Julyna, an eyebrow-raising charity effort linking bikini waxes with cervical cancer awareness.


This pisses me off since I donated to these fuckers after my father in law passed away last year. FTR, the CCS raised more than $200 million last year, and funded a little over $40M worth of research. Having said that, I'm damn happy there is a group that is actually evaluating these charities. You can find their website here:

http://www.charityintelligence.ca/

I've decided that I'm going to be limiting my donations to people that have been audited so I can tell where the money is actually going. Oh, and FUCK the united way. They skim a bunch off the top, then pass the money onto the charities who in turn take their 'administration and fundraising' expenses out, leaving damn little for what I actually want to support.

Dark Helmet
6th July 11, 09:57 PM
It reminds me of an Aids benefit in Los Angeles years ago I heard about on TV. The Charity had wanted a big name so they approached Calvin Klein. Yes. That, Calvin Klein. He said "yes" to it so long as they did a few things. They had to rent the place that the LA philharmonic plays at. They had to make good food and invite his friends and the waiters had to wear black CK t-shirts with his name shown prominently.

After, it was all said and done. I believe the the entire concert to bring funds for AIDs awarness and money for a cure and had barely broken even. I might be wrong on this detail but I think it cost a lot of money to run this as a fashion show. Maye a million. I could be wrong.

Also, the president of this particular charity had vowed to never do it again.

Harpy
6th July 11, 11:27 PM
Timely spotlight Feryk.

I've just recently gotten involved with a charity and blew up when someone suggested having a ball to raise funds (using charity money to set things up). I voiced my opinion straightaway saying it didn't gel with the vision and mission of what we did but some ditz said 'every idea is a good idea'. I'll be walking away from it if this Ball even gets a chance.

HappyOldGuy
7th July 11, 12:33 AM
the amount of money channelled toward research has increasedWhy do you give a fuck about the percentage? Are you interested in giving to charity, or are you interested in funding cancer research? They are spending the extra on fundraising and it is working.

Feryk
7th July 11, 10:37 AM
They raised $200 M last year with the 'Find A Cure' mantra. When I gave, it was because I believed they were using to, you know, FIND A CURE. What they really did is spend $40M funding research and $160 M advertising, fundraising, and hospice care (which should be picked up by our healthcare system, btw).

Tell me HOG if you were going to give me $1000 towards a cause you believed in, and I took 80% off the top, and only put $200 towards your cause, you would be okay with it?

HappyOldGuy
7th July 11, 07:27 PM
They raised $200 M last year with the 'Find A Cure' mantra. When I gave, it was because I believed they were using to, you know, FIND A CURE. What they really did is spend $40M funding research and $160 M advertising, fundraising, and hospice care (which should be picked up by our healthcare system, btw).

Tell me HOG if you were going to give me $1000 towards a cause you believed in, and I took 80% off the top, and only put $200 towards your cause, you would be okay with it?

If the other 80% was spent on raising more money, and it worked, so that they were able to actually give more money to the cause I cared about, sure.

There is a meta discussion to be had about overfishing your pond, but it really only matters if you care more about the pond.

bob
7th July 11, 07:37 PM
20 is a lot better than the 5-10 I've heard about other well known charities. Still, when my wife worked for the Australian version they were doing 50+.

Feryk
8th July 11, 12:20 PM
If the other 80% was spent on raising more money, and it worked, so that they were able to actually give more money to the cause I cared about, sure.

There is a meta discussion to be had about overfishing your pond, but it really only matters if you care more about the pond.

So if they spent $100M to get an additional $1M for research you'd be okay with it?

To me that is diminishing returns in a big way.

OZZ
8th July 11, 01:10 PM
Having been through chemotherapy and fighting cancer myself, I have to say that I am not surprised by this.
When I would go to the LRCC for treatment I seemed to see a lot of doctor's running around, but people were still waiting 2-3 hours to see their oncologist on clinic days. I got the feeling that most of them would rather be with the other doctor's in the labs or shooting the shit in the lunch room than talking to patients - many of whom were scared to death and worried about their families. I found that most of the doctor's were in a rush, and really wanted to push everyone through as quickly as possible. It gives patients a shitty feeling when their docs are scrambling to get out the door so fast and they are facing a terrible illness like cancer.
Overadministration and unnneccessary jobs are rampant in the health care field and this takes away from delivering important health care services in a timely, efficient manner.
Its no different from any big company - huge $$$ going to the fatcats up top and the least going to the people who need it the most.
A lot of people who have survived cancer get involved with charity runs and different organizations. Sometimes I think that I should and I feel guilty, but the unpleasant memories and depressing atmosphere overall makes it hard. Although I did run in the Terry Fox Marathon a couple of times and helped raise some money.

Cullion
8th July 11, 07:36 PM
Proportion spent on 'admin' is one thing, but what bugs me much more is when the charity is just using the non-administrative funds to engage in political lobbying.

Lots of big British charities are guilty of this. Children's charities that no longer actually run orphanages, but use the donations to lobby politicians about 'children's issues', for example.

I gave a fundraiser for Oxfam a violent verbal spitroasting about this kind of shit a couple of weeks ago.

KO'd N DOA
8th July 11, 09:51 PM
Ever since Oncology section of my undergrad, I have found it very difficult to 'happily' give money to co-workers or whomever raising money for something they understand so little. Last year I heard an interview with this Professor Samantha King who wrote about the Cancer industry and politics in North America.

http://www.upress.umn.edu/Books/K/king_pink.html

Feryk
11th July 11, 10:32 AM
Great link. I'm going to have to get that book now. This kind of thing really annoys me. HOG's approach is not one I share.

I believe if I'm going to donate my time and money to help a cause, as much as possible should go to that cause. The charity should be running as lean and mean as possible. I think most people just want to be able to give and forget about it and not really care where the money goes. There is an entire industry that is preying on that indifference.

HappyOldGuy
12th July 11, 12:20 AM
It's actually a much messier line than I presented, but it is a real issue. Charities need marketing like everyone else who is competing for your attention. It's very easy for a charity to ride high principles right into irrelevancy. We don't like to think of our charities as competitive institutions, but they are. And they have to be. On the other hand there are plenty of folks who get fat off of charitable dollars.

I would probably consider the exact case presented as a yellow flag. Increased spending on fundraising is a leading cost. I would give them a pass for a year or two as long as the subsequent years showed the results of the spending, If not, I would expect the admin costs to come down or I would find somewhere else to spend my money.

bob
12th July 11, 12:24 AM
If you're looking for genuine efficiency ratings, people like these guys (http://www.charitynavigator.org/) crunch the numbers in a more meaningful way.

Feryk
12th July 11, 10:23 AM
Awesome website. You can see what the chief executive compensation is, their expense to program funding ratios, etc. Nice to know it exists out there.

Some suprises regarding efficiency, too, btw.