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Old 2nd November 2012, 18:18   #1
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Lightbulb Beware of Questionable Charitable Organizations & NGO's

These days I have found that we get numerous calls from unknown agencies asking to donate money for different causes.
Someone needing surgery, Orphanages ,Sponsorship's etc..

While I do welcome these and would like to help as much as possible. At the same time I don't want my money going into the pockets of middlemen and fraudulent agencies.

It would be good to know how other people verify the authenticity of these Organizations before making any online donations.

Here is an incident that made me create this post.

Two days back I got couple of calls from one such trust, they wanted me to donate money for an infant requiring surgery.

I asked them to drop me an email with all the details, which they promptly did, and the calls kept coming once every 4 hrs with the person at the other end not ready to drop the phone. I was all set to make a donation for a kid when I thought of googling the agency.

Found multiple posts where people got swindled. I am not sure how much truth there is to it, nevertheless thought of sharing this so that others be wary and do due diligence before making donations to such organizations.

-Fillmore

Last edited by Administrator : 21st August 2013 at 10:19.
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Old 2nd November 2012, 18:33   #2
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Default Re: Beware of fraudulent Chariable Organizations & NGO's

I used to make donations to CRY and a couple of other organizations. But I have stopped doing that since I have no way of monitoring how my money is used.

I now only donate through my company's social club or through friends or neighbours towards those in need.
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Old 2nd November 2012, 18:43   #3
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Default Re: Beware of fraudulent Chariable Organizations & NGO's

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Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
I now only donate through my company's social club or through friends or neighbours towards those in need.
Cheers to you, sir. this is exactly what I do. Help people whom you or your TRUSTED friends directly know. Or do it through your company. Now a days, all private firms have some kind of a wing to take care of this. That way you will have more control over your money, you can help people and also make sure that your money does not end up in wrong hands.
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Old 2nd November 2012, 19:51   #4
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Default Re: Beware of fraudulent Chariable Organizations & NGO's

I used to keep aside small funds of around 10K every year for donations, I always used to wonder how so many NGOs could afford call centers.

After reading that Oxfam spends 70% of donations on fund raising costs I stopped donating to many big names and started donating personal requests through friends/colleagues or to an NGO run by friends where I know no one gets paid for any work or travel and everything is carried out of their personal interest.

Not many NGOs give their financials on their website. I believe it is necessary to have their financials audited if they want to keep their Income Tax Dept exemption. Having the financials available online should be made mandatory.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 13:09   #5
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Default Re: Beware of Questionable Charitable Organizations & NGO's

There are a lots of advertisements on FM Radio and even flyers from World Vision they are basically a chritian charity organization and put this fact in very small print this itself is not a problem but the amount of advertisements and the fine print made me suspicious.

After doing search on them I found that swami Lakshmananand Saraswati in Orrisa prior to his murder accused World Vision chief of Orissa India, Radhakanta Nayak for the violence and attack to eliminate him. He was murdered after this trigeering voilence in Orrisa.

Mr. Nayak has refused these alligations so my post is not to take any positions here.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/ne...urder/403507/1

But these alligations and high decible media campaign and amount of money being spent by world vision makes me weary about them.
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Old 4th November 2012, 01:15   #6
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Default Re: Beware of Questionable Charitable Organizations & NGO's

Hi everybody
It is a good thread started by Fillmore.
You just dont know which NGO to trust.I contributed to a NGO looking after old people.I also made my brother to do so.After a few months read in the newspaper that the head,with somebody's connivance,usurped an old man's home.

Debugged.
I too was surprised when I read that more than 50% goes towards collection and administration so what is left would be much less.With corruption so rife even that 50% would be reduced.
You can,in your own small way, do it without any leakage by donating rice and atta to your servant,to your watchman or the garbage collectors(not belonging to the municipality).Another way would be to treat the courier guy to a glass of sherbet(bear security in mind).The ragpickers who pick up the plastic bottles and bags thereby keeping the streets cleaner and reducing our carbon print.Theirs is a real sad existence,set upon by dogs,rummaging through the garbage mounds etc.
Regards
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Old 5th November 2012, 11:03   #7
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Default Re: Beware of Questionable Charitable Organizations & NGO's

I too made a contribution ostensibly for the treatment of some poor child in AIIMS. I always wondered if my money really went to that needy patient. These people play on your guilt, that is all. My suspicions arose later after I started getting calls from many such agencies. Many times several in the course of a day and/or week. Obviously my telephone no. has been shared around. But now I also hear the busy call center chatter in the background and the conversations goes like this:

"Sir, am I speaking to Mr. Lithium Sunset"

"Yes"

"Lithium Sunset ji, I am speaking from Dr. Ambedkar"

I want to tell them that great soul has passed on and your grammar is all wrong, but I desist.

"Sir, there was a camp in our college and there is medical case of a young boy needing heart surgery"

No less..

"Sorry I cannot give you any money"

"Sir, Sir, please listen me out, just a little bit of your money will go long way in saving this boy"

"Sorry, don't force me to keep saying no all the time.."

"What, Lithiumji, not even a small sum of 2000 rupees"

"!!"

Anyway I simply tell them I am not interested in any more charity and ask them to delete my phone from their database and cut the call. That of course is not going to happen.

So while this provided some comic relief on a dull day, nowadays I flatly refuse to even listen to their spiel. I am saving these numbers on my HTC Sensation under the label "SPAM" and have blocked this contact. Of late the calls have reduced and I would like to think that my phone is indeed smart.

Meanwhile we asked ourselves, why give charity to unknown people when there are so many people around you who work for you, doing menial thankless jobs. So all our 'charity' is now addressed to the emergencies and occasions for our helps. I like to think this is better.

No doubt our hospitals must be flooded with real cases with very poor backgrounds needing expensive treatments. But the question remains, what percentage of your money reaches the needy? The OXFAM figure of 30% is outrageous. Yup, have given money to them too! These were smart management trainees who were canvassing door to door for the girl child and we fell for it.

Silver lining, now you can do 50% of what you did earlier and still rest easy! :-)

Last edited by Administrator : 21st August 2013 at 10:21.
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Old 5th November 2012, 11:15   #8
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Default Re: Beware of Questionable Charitable Organizations & NGO's

Good thread! I used to donate consistently to CRY but I never got to know where the money was directly going and how it really helped the needed. This year I got to know that my colleague has already started an initiative to help the underprevileged school children near Hosur. A total of 5 schools. I donated to him and he used the collected funds to buy in wholesale - bags, books from 8th to 10th std, cloths, shoes and stationary. My colleague even circulated the photos and the cost break up even though nobody asked.
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Old 5th November 2012, 11:32   #9
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Default Re: Beware of Questionable Charitable Organizations & NGO's

By the time I finally got into a position where I could help someone in need, I met the wife of one of my colleagues who had just worked with one of these NGOs (in Europe). Apparently, the big boss at this NGO was travelling to different places (Africa/ Russia, etc) by business (and sometimes even first) class and this was shown as normal travel expenses. I dont know if things work the same way in India, but I dont want it to be even a slim chance that whatever money leaves my stingy pockets goes into the comfort of some executive rather than helping someone really in need.

Just look around, and one will find small kids of labourers playing with stones and mud. I usually pass on used clothes and toys (in working and good condition, no tears/ breakage) to the parents of these people after asking them if they are ok to accept.
One more thing to note, avoid giving directly to the kids or even to the parents in presence of the kids. I usually ask the parents to come and collect it. I am just not sure what it would do for the self respect and habits of the kids and their parents if they see such free handovers on an ongoing basis.

Last edited by selfdrive : 5th November 2012 at 11:33.
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Old 5th November 2012, 11:34   #10
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Default Re: Beware of Questionable Charitable Organizations & NGO's

I normally donate to the SOS Childrens Villages India. My daughter has actually visited some of their locations in Delhi and was very impressed. I have also donated to HelpAge India. I think Cry may also be kosher.
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Old 5th November 2012, 11:44   #11
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Default Re: Beware of Questionable Charitable Organizations & NGO's

As many said - having some way of knowing how your donation has been used, and the details, will go a long way.
I usually donate to a couple of folks who used to be domestic hands at our house - now ageing. [took care of me as a kid ]
Also keep a small sum for a special needs school where my friend works - and I know the funds will not be squandered. They cannot affort to spend 70% on funding campaigns! Word of mouth is the major source.
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Old 5th November 2012, 11:55   #12
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Default Re: Beware of Questionable Charitable Organizations & NGO's

I too have been approached by CRY on a few occasions in the past. The intensity of calls has gone up in the past 6 months. Makes me wonder, if they can spend so much on getting a call center to solicit donations, does it make any business sense at all? And is the money really reaching the needy?

On my part, I have been funding the education of my domestic help's two sons since the past 4 years. They say, no better daan than Vidya daan.
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Old 5th November 2012, 12:10   #13
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Default Re: Beware of Questionable Charitable Organizations & NGO's

When I was in Pune, I used to donate to Sindhutai Sapkal's orphanage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sindhutai_Sapkal). After moving to Mumbai, I donate to either Akshaya Patra (Unlimited Food for Education) or Prakash Amte trust (which treats leprosy patients); they take donations online. I've seen Sindhutai's setup, so I've no doubts about her credibility. Regarding Akshaya Patra and Prakash Amte, there are enough reports available endorsing their stellar work in their fields.

Also, many housing societies in Mumbai/Pune, collect used clothes (and other items) to be donated to the needy DIRECTLY, no middlemen or NGOs involved. This is a reliable way to ensure that your good intentions are used properly.
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Old 5th November 2012, 14:20   #14
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Default Re: Beware of Questionable Charitable Organizations & NGO's

I put aside 2% of my gross salary for charity. While SOS enjoys 100% deduction in Income, Helpage is 80G, so should be 50%. I found the Cry sire pretty disappointing, and could not make an unflagged contribution. Now I will be specially wary of them.

As for call centres you will be getting calls from either Reliance or Tata and I believe the charges are heavily discounted.
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Old 5th November 2012, 14:22   #15
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Default Re: Beware of Questionable Charitable Organizations & NGO's

Quote:
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I donate to either Akshaya Patra (Unlimited Food for Education) or Prakash Amte trust (which treats leprosy patients);
Yes I also donate to Akshay Patra I have seen their vans distributing food in some of the Government schools in midday meal scheme. They publish their expenses in public as well. There was an audit in Karnataka after opposition levelled some charges but they came out clean.

Whenever I receive call from some dubious NGO, rather then going in to guilt trip I say I am giving approx 33% tax to government and social benefits like MNREGA run with my money so please don't bother.

Last edited by amitk26 : 5th November 2012 at 14:25.
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