Digging out of Haiyan

11 Nov

Many of our readers know that we are actively involved in emergency and rescue operations globally.

Typhoon Haiyan in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is once again testing us as we try to help as many as we can reach.

Thousands are dead.
Hundreds of thousands are injured.
Millions are displaced.

We’re working around the clock right now. We’re tired, hungry and frankly, dragging, knowing that whatever we do, it won’t be nearly enough.  And despite all that we’re doing at this end, it’s easy to feel like we’re not doing enough as others do the heavy lifting – on the ground (in the debris and carnage) looking, digging, searching for victims of this terrible disaster.

If you want to help, please think about WHERE and to WHOM your donations and volunteer efforts actually go. Please think about how much of your donation will actually get to the people who need it. There are already reports  about well-known aid organizations in the Philippines filming  the carnage (to raise money), but not actually doing ANYTHING to aid those in need.

Haiyan - early estimates

A good friend of ours that is heavily invested in the financial sector recently reminded us of this:

Another example worth considering…

Consider a small charity ($1,000.000) with an operating efficiency of 80%. It has $200k expenses, primarily fixed. $1 million donated, and $800k actually goes to the stated purpose of the charity.

Compare that to Goodwill. $1 million donated, and only $175k goes to the stated purpose. The first $725k is used to pay the CEOs compensation. The only reason these large charities can state such an “attractive” efficiency ratio is because their extreme size actually allows them to pilfer the charity, i.e. their large inflow dwarfs their absurd fixed costs (compensation).

Also – these large charities will serve as feeder-funds to some of the smaller charities. This feeding comes with rather draconian strings attached. Most smaller charities will decline the money, because it corrupts their mission. When they feed the money to the other charities it counts 100 cents on the dollar as efficiency, regardless of the fed charities operating efficiency. Guess what a lot of these subordinate charities are? That’s right – 100% affiliated subordinates of the feeder, with abysmal efficiency. They pay excessive consulting fees the management of the feeder (superior) charity. This allows the larger charity to mask their compensation, and protect their own efficiency rating…

Be careful of charities. They are very, very, very often set up as a tool for financial or political advancement.

I have a good amount of experience in analyzing and suggesting charities. Personally, I recommend the small, grass root charities. Often, they may not have the best operating expenses on paper, maybe somewhere in the 70% range, but those numbers are deceptive. Especially when the CEO and founder has a NEGATIVE income from the charity, because they are putting so much of their own money into it.

Please consider supporting First Responders, those brave men and women on the ground in the carnage, risking all to help others. They need supplies, food, shelter. This costs huge amounts of money in lands torn apart by disaster. Remember that know that these families, these people in the streets fighting over scraps… could just as easily be US. It’s time to get our hands dirty, folks. If you’d like to help, please contact us.

God Bless Us, every one.

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