Thursday, August 28, 2014

The truth behind social media-driven donation campaigns



While hospitality and charity remain a cornerstone of American society, a recent history of social media-driven donation campaigns show the tactic has often been used to scam well-meaning people.
Although more than $94 million in donations have been raised through the viral “ice bucket” social media campaign, the actual amount going towards the non-profit ALS Association’s research is strikingly different.
According to the ALS Association’s own 2014 financial breakdown, only 27 percent of funds make their way to researching a cure for the disease. Despite its non-profit status, six figure salaries are bestowed upon the group’s top 11 executives.
As Sayer Ji of GreenMedInfo points out in his breakdown of the ice bucket phenomenon, even the smaller portions spent on research for ALS are actually going towards pharmaceutical interventions and the pharmaceutical industry at large.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation, known for its pink ribbon breast cancer campaign, has received similar condemnation as well after the company’s expenditures were found to be less than charitable. According to Charity Navigator, the company’s 2010 revenue reached nearly $312 million. Of that, only 20 percent was used for research, with former CEO and president Hala G. Moddelmog making as much $550,000 per year.
“Komen receives over $55 million in annual revenue from corporate sponsorships, from such health-minded companies as Coca Cola, General Mills, andKFC,” noted AlterNet’s Emily Michelle. “Buy a bucket of junk food, and pretend as though you’re helping to save lives while you slowly take your own.”

Following the devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti in 2010, the “Hope for Haiti” telethon brought countless celebrities out to raise awareness and funds for those hit hardest in the country. Shortly after, it was learned that much of the cash would be given to several foundations such as one run by former presidents Bush and Clinton. Donations were also funneled to United Nations operations as well as foundations with absurdly high administrative costs.
Most famously, the Kony 2012 campaign ran by the Invisible Children organization, was allegedly used to gather funds for children affected by Joseph Kony, war lord and leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda.
Called ”misleading” and “dangerous” by former Yale political science professor ChrisBlattman, Invisible Children only used $2.8 million of $8.8 million raised to directly help Ugandan children according to a 2010-2011 expenditure report.
Beyond the financial aspect, further research revealed the campaign to be part of an undeniable attempt to create support for military intervention into Africa

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