Charity

The WikiMedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia, got the spotlight back in a December 20 article at The Register entitled Wikipedia doesn’t need your money – so why does it keep pestering you?. Going past the snarky title, the piece raises some important questions for those of us “haves” in the world to ponder.

As with many articles at the Reg, the comments to the December 20 piece are as informative as the main text itself.

Two in particular I really liked:

Totally agree. Any charity squandering monumental amounts of money on plush London offices, slick TV adverts and armies of paid canvassers don’t need my cash

I used to audit charities.

I give as directly to causes as I can these days – avoiding the middle man.

The minute you need a paid bureaucracy is the minute it is less a charity – don’t get me started on paid fundraising agents.

That last bit about “paid fundraising agents” is something people should take particular note of. Fundraising services are a cancer that has infected too many churches and other nonprofits, and I can’t recall even a single instance in which the rank-and-file membership were consulted before such services were retained. I wonder why?

Articles like this (and its follow on) are why I always consult Charity Navigator (where Wikimedia Foundation actually has a high rating, four stars) before giving to any charity that isn’t so local I can’t drop by the office to eyeball what’s going on for myself.

But because Charity Navigator and similar reviewers are imperfect, and are occasionally blinded by the obfuscatory efforts of the charities they examine, I have been trending toward preferring those smaller, local, efforts.