Nonprofit Organizations do one of the most crucial and significant work to assist those who aren't fortunate. As society progressed, these charities started to become more known and accessible which furthers assistance. However, this progress has made corruption more noticeable and heartbreaking. Some actions found in charitable foundations include stealing donations, embezzlement, fraud, misusing contributions and/or purposely avoiding tax deductions.
One famous case that centers around this idea of charities misusing funds is the Red Cross and the 500 million US dollars that were supposed to be used to recover Haiti. In response to the earthquake in 2010, people donated to the American Red Cross near half a billion dollars. The money was supposed to be used for development and repairing infrastructure, but hardly any progress was witnessed in Haiti. National Public Radio and ProPublica tried to find out this mystery of where this money disappeared too and gained a lot of information. Red Cross had reports and charts on how the money was going to be managed, however, didn't provide details. Also, administrative costs took a big portion of the donations, explaining why progress for development in Haiti would be slow and near-nonexistent.
Bureaucracy seems to be the biggest culprit on why the Red Cross wasn't able to handle a large number of donations. This is one of the risks of donating, you don't know how the organization will be spending the money. This isn't the first time donations didn't reach its needed audience in full, it has happened numerous times in other countries as well. Even if they provided a plan, they aren't inclined to follow. While the Red Cross dealt with millions of dollars, they had good intentions, meanwhile, other charities had more greedy intentions.
NYTimes author Rebecca R. Ruiz talks about a number of charities accused of fraud, charities presenting themselves as cancer charities. Complaints to the FCC revealed that the cancer charities, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society solicited donations for large salaries and luxury expenses. People have donated to this charities in hopes it will bring good, and its taken away by greed in these organizations. Also, these charities can get tax exempt so it is more profitable for people to start a charity and misuse donations.
Society first instinct is that anything involving charity is a good cause and the money will be used efficiently, but they don't take into consideration that certain charities aren't liable to follow demands. There are no refunds, no details on the process, these corrupt charities are only in the business for tax-exempt cash. Its similar to the idea of crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo. While campaigns have a statement on how the money donated will be used, they aren't inclined to follow and the websites won't be held accountable since its the user's responsibility and trust. After Hurricane Harvey, GoFundMe became flooded with pages seeking donations for relief, but a good percentage of these pages were scams. People donated without knowing that because these pages looked legit and had good intentions.
GoFundMe even warns users to only donate if they trust and that they are not responsible :
"All Donations are at your own risk. When you make a Donation to a Campaign or Charity, or otherwise through the Services, it is your responsibility to understand how your money will be used. GoFundMe is not responsible for any offers, promises, rewards or promotions made or offered by Charities, Campaigns or Campaign Organizers. We do not and cannot verify the information that Campaign Organizers supply, nor do we guarantee that the Donations will be used in accordance with any fundraising purpose prescribed by a Campaign Organizer or Charity. We assume no responsibility to verify whether the Donations are used in accordance with any applicable laws; such responsibility rests solely with the Campaign Organizer or Charity, as applicable."
This applies to most crowdfunding websites and charities, you have a risk when donating and to need to make sure our money is going to spend on its intended purpose. There are numerous scams and stories about Kickstarter and Indigogo where the campaign creators took all the money entirely and didn't provide backers anything. Charities work a similar way except there isn't a reward, so you need to make sure your money is going to be spent well. Looking up charities and previous actions can provide the info needed before making a decision. Its important to investigate before you donate any amount of money. Charities with corruption only making people more hesitant about donating, hurting everyone in the long end.