Every year, countless walks, raffles and events collect money for causes people are passionate about.
Millions of dollars are poured into these causes, with donors hoping that the collected money will find a cure or end a war.
However, after the “donate” button is clicked or the check is sent off a majority of people don’t bother to check to see where their money is actually going.
With big name non-profit organizations gaining a majority of the money that is donated every year, smaller causes are often over-looked or sued by larger organizations till they are wiped off of the map.
In early March a 30-minute video titled simply “Kony 2012” set social networking sites on fire with chatter.
After showing up on every news feed and hash tag online, it seemed as though people were going to rise to the challenge set by Invisible Children co-founder, Jason Russell.
Merely two weeks after the video went viral, the revolutionary movement that shined a light on the “situation” in Uganda has gained more criticism than followers.
Invisible Children is a non-profit organization that brings awareness of the suffering of African children to the computer screens of the United States. This new Kony movement is calling for the arrest of the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army who condones the kidnapping of children to serve as soldiers in his resistance.
While sad and is a cause we can all agree deserves the attention, the source of this information is so questionable that there is little faith in the words spoken in the video.
Invisible Children Inc. has been accused of mishandling funds and using money collected from donors to pay salaries and focus on promoting the cause rather than helping it.
In the organizations financial statements it shows that less than a third of the funds collected actually go toward the cause they so actively support.
Plus, their refusal to allow outside corporations to audit their funds has raised a lot of questions as to how honest the group is being when asking for donations.
Other non-profits, such as Susan G. Komen Foundation, have also been questioned in where their money is going once it is given to the organization. In their 2009 to 2010 annual report, Komen reported that 84 percent of the money collected went toward their mission.
In reality it was found that a significantly less percentage of their funds actually went toward research, treatment and screenings for those diagnosed with breast cancer, with the remaining money paying off assorted expenses, administration and advertisement for the Komen foundation.
Meanwhile, the non-profit National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations closed its doors after 18 years of service and left all educational material to the Komen foundations.
Rumors accused Komen of intimidation after it trademarked its “for the cure” statement which had 16 cases opened suing smaller charities for using the statement.
Hopefully future donors will do their research when they decide to give their money to a cause.
This will ensure that the money is going to what the group is talking about instead of into the pockets of those organizing the cause.