I’m new to the non-profit sector, especially when it comes to fundraising. Our talks in class have made me think about the small percentage money from fundraisers that actually goes towards the cause. Like most people, I thought the entire amount was donated to what it was being raised for. I had no idea that such a small percentage (1% – maybe 10%) actually goes to charity. I can understand why people don’t trust fundraisers because they see that very little of their donation goes towards the cause. So my post this week is mostly me asking two questions and posing some solutions. Please feel free to add to it and correct me where I’ve misunderstood.
1. What I don’t understand, is where all the rest of the money goes? We have talked about how if a person was hired to raise the money then some of the funds go to that person. But if the fundraiser is put on by people already involved with the organization, then where does around 90% of all the money go? I understand if some of it goes towards paying for bills (electricity, water, rent/mortgage on a building, etc) or to pay for the things that went into the fundraiser (caterers, renting a building, buying food for a blood drive, etc) but if several thousand dollars are raised then I think that’s more than enough for bills. I can also understand if the money goes towards paying employees. But if the organization is small then I don’t understand. I’m an unpaid intern at the Manhattan Arts Center and the marketing/education director, secretary, and electrionics people are all part time. I also think the director is too. So if a lot of money is raised for a small non-profit then I would think more than a small percentage would go towards the cause because there are less people to pay.
What I would like to see, is non-profits posting exactly how much of the funds (dollar amount or the percentage) goes towards what. It could help donors feel better about how their money is being used. As of now, their money could be being used for anything. It could be going straight into someone’s pocket or to help the organization. Showing where the money goes could reveal money being used for bad things. I do understand that people could lie about where funds are going but I think it would be a good step forward.
2. My second question is: are there any organizations where 100% of what’s donated actually goes towards the cause? I’m going to assume that all the blood donated to the Red Cross goes to help people, even though it might not be used it’s still there for people who need it. I’m wondering about fund raisers that just raise money. In my point of view, I can’t see why every organization has at least one fundraiser a year has all of its funds (100%) go straight to the cause. If the organization is honest about where all the money goes on its other fundraisers then this one would help with donor relations. Donors might be more likely to donate to this fundraiser because they know their money will actually help the cause. I would be more likely to donate if I knew that all of my donation goes to where I intended it to go.