Imagine a world where there are people who wake up every morning, knowing they are going to make millions of dollars by deceiving good, honest, and charitable citizens who just want to help make a difference. Furthermore, deceiving these charitable people by telling them lies such as all donations will go to help rescue animals, cancer patients, sick children, or disabled veterans. Raising money in the name of the less-fortunate just to pad their own pocket, that takes a special kind of evil. An evil, that unfortunately is a huge business for many people in this country.
The worst of these charities is called the Kids Wish Network. According to CNN, Since the start of this organization in 1997, they have raised a whopping $127.8 million dollars in donations, yet sadly, only 2.5% of this is spent on aid for the children and families they claim to help, so to put that in perspective, if you donated $1 to this charity, not even 3 cents goes to help children. In the past decade alone, Kids Wish Network has channeled nearly $110 million donated in the name of sick children to its corporate solicitors, and 4.8 million dollars to the founder Mark Breiner.
The sad thing is that the Kids Wish Network is not an isolated case, a yearlong investigation by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting has found and named “America’s 50 Worst Charities”. In total, Over 1.3 billion dollars have been donated to the 50 charities at the focus of their report. Let me say that again, 1.3 BILLION DOLLARS have been raised by these charities, and an average of only 4% of that money has actually went towards the causes that donors thought their money was going towards. That 1.3 billion dollars could have built 20,000 habitat for humanity houses, or every student currently enrolled on campus could have a house when they graduate.
One of the biggest questions that came to my mind while researching this, and I’m sure it is coming into your mind as well, is How on earth have these charities not been shut down, and why are they still able to deceive their donors for their own profiteering? This can’t be explained with a simple answer, but there are some main tactics these corrupt charities utilize.
Essentially, they form a non for profit charity, usually choosing a trustworthy or relatable sounding name such as the Kids Wish Network, the Cancer Fund of America, American Breast Cancer Center, or the Children’s Cancer Fund, all of which sound very relatable and can be confused with legitimate charities that sound almost identical. So after creating the charity, they generally pair up or in some cases, actually start up their own for-profit telemarketing company, which is who actually raises the money by using solicitors. Solicitors are the employees of the telemarketing company that call people and try to get them to donate over the phone, then the telemarketing company in many cases keep around 80% to 95% of the money they raise. And Sadly, There have been many cases of these solicitors taking advantage of the elderly to donate more than they consented to donating such as in Minnesota where a women discovered donations ranging from $10 to $1,000 to a numerous fake charities, who all used the same telemarketing firm, the charges came to a total of almost $15,000, this was only found after the lady was placed in an Alzheimer’s facility and her daughter was going through her mom’s financial records.
The major reason these solicitors and charities don’t get shut down is because there is a major lack in oversight when it comes to audits of non-for profit organizations. In New Jersey for example, there are only 11 employees in the Attorney General’s office overseeing 25,000 charities. Knowing this, these charities drown themselves in paperwork to make it difficult to find their hidden agendas and make it difficult for an investigator to build a case against them. There are so