HOW DO YOU EVALUATE A CHARITY?

Edward R. Boyer
Guest blog by Edward R. Boyer, MMA CEO and President ed aarp lower res (Photo courtesy of Nigel Parry)

[Editor’s note: The question Ed Boyer raises in today’s blog is all the more significant in light of Michael Snyder’s article of June 19, “Many of the Largest Charities in America Are Giant Money Making Scams”? Here Snyder, an author and former Washington, DC attorney, cites the Tampa Bay Times, CNN and the Center for Investigative Reporting, groups that “recently teamed up to conduct an investigation, and they came up with a list of the 50 worst charities in America. They discovered that those charities raised more than $1.3 billion over the past ten years combined, but that nearly $1 billion of that total went to the for-profit companies that raise their donations for them. The American people are being scammed out of an enormous amount of money, and people need to learn the truth about this.” ]

Anybody who makes a charitable donation would likely at least give thought to this question. Do you give strictly from the heart? Or, do you also involve your head in the process? Ideally you do both, and you give wisely.

When you donate to help the programs of Mercy Medical Angels, you are giving to a charity that consistently receives the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator. What does that really mean?

  • First it means that the finances of MMA are in a healthy condition. For example, the most recent “end of fiscal year” data showed MMA using 97% of all income for the purpose of operating programs for public benefit. Very, very little is used for fund-raising purposes.
  • Secondly, it means MMA operates in a fully accountable mode with good governance. Fifteen men and women serve on the MMA Board of Directors and receive no compensation from MMA and regularly declare in writing a negative “conflict of interest.” No MMA staff persons are on the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors represents the public’s interests— which is your interest.
  • It means that MMA is pledged to and practices full open transparency. What is accomplished by our programs is available – updated daily – on MMA’s website. The purpose and activity in each program is likewise explained on the website.
  • It means that MMA is fully committed to “results reporting.” Just such a report is likewise updated and accessible daily to the public.
  • And, it means that MMA is committed to the concept of “outcomes measurement.” This is a measurable and descriptive explanation of the social value that is generated by public support provided to MMA.

Do you think about these issues, and do you know about the efficiency and effectiveness of other charities that you support? Please don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you may have about the subject discussed above and MMA’s methodology.

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