Author Topic: Fundraising Etiquette  (Read 4833 times)

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CluelessBride

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2010, 08:41:42 AM »
Another reason for not disclosing a total amount raised, especially in smaller or more local fundraisers, is to protect the donors.  If someone is giving a large sum of money, they may not want everyone and their dog to know this (or speculate on it).  If the school's 3 hour car wash raises $100,000, people will start to speculate on who the deep pocketed donor(s) is/are.  Should they?  Well, ideally not - but that doesn't mean it won't happen.

Just like speculation on the new roof (which homeowners insurance might cover anyhow...).  How the recipients of charity spend the money they are given is between them and the charity.  Outsiders who speculate on whether they are using funds appropriately are just being Nosey Noras.  If you (general) don't want your funds used in a specific way, it's on you to make sure you only give them to charities/organizations that follow guidelines that are acceptable to you. 

In general, I think it can be nice to get a grand total raised, because it can make you feel part of something much bigger than yourself, but I don't think donors are necessarily entitled to that number. 

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2010, 09:30:14 AM »
A young woman in Southern Ontario faked having cancer in order to collect money for herself.  She lost a lot of weight, shaved her head, plucked out her eyebrows and eyelashes and started a 'charity' to collect money.  The authorities finally caught up to her and she is currently in jail, waiting for a bail hearing.

In light of that situation, I can understand the OP's feeling of 'off' when the final fundraising totals were not forthcoming.  But I can also see PP's points regarding privacy for the family.

For me, I would only donate in this kind of personal fundraising if I knew the person/family well.  Otherwise, I would donate to whatever organization would be helping the family.  Some kind of disaster?  Donate to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army.  Some kind of illness?  Donate to one of the parent charities for that illness.
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Surianne

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2010, 09:38:24 AM »
I'm just not understanding why having the total announced would make it feel any less off.  If they're lying, they could lie about the total as well.

DangerMouth

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2010, 09:44:01 AM »
I was thinking of another reason why the final total wasn't disclosed - maybe the event raised lots of money but the profit wasn't that great. Last year my mum was on a fundraising committee for a big event for international charity - this took months of planning, big swanky event and the overall profit was just 3,000. Announcing the total raised was 1,000,000 and then handing the Jones a cheque for 3,000 would be extremely odd. Just another view.

I have to say, that situation sounds like a huge bit of mismanagement bordering on fraud. One of the things a legitimate charity or NPO does is make their financial records public. People have a right to know if, of the $100 they donated only 30 cents is going to actual charity or recipient, and the rest was used as 'operating expenses' or in this case, throwing a huge party.

I would have assumed that most of the costs would have been donated in some way or other. I certainly would never donate to a charity with such a poor 'return' in investment.

sparklestar

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2010, 10:07:04 AM »
I was thinking of another reason why the final total wasn't disclosed - maybe the event raised lots of money but the profit wasn't that great. Last year my mum was on a fundraising committee for a big event for international charity - this took months of planning, big swanky event and the overall profit was just 3,000. Announcing the total raised was 1,000,000 and then handing the Jones a cheque for 3,000 would be extremely odd. Just another view.

I have to say, that situation sounds like a huge bit of mismanagement bordering on fraud. One of the things a legitimate charity or NPO does is make their financial records public. People have a right to know if, of the $100 they donated only 30 cents is going to actual charity or recipient, and the rest was used as 'operating expenses' or in this case, throwing a huge party.

I would have assumed that most of the costs would have been donated in some way or other. I certainly would never donate to a charity with such a poor 'return' in investment.
That was my feeling too.  To be fair, this was only for one event and they did have some unexpected costs which impacted on the profit (free venue was suddenly withdrawn and they had to find one last minute etc.).  In general their admin fees vs actual giving is quite good. 

Slartibartfast

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2010, 10:23:48 AM »
I agree with some PPs that it's a bit different when it's a private-family situation.

Example - maybe it's announced that they raised $ 10,000.  Then a few days later, people see a roofing-company's truck in the driveway.  If it's fairly common knowledge in the area that that's about the sum of a re-roofing job - some busybodies are going to jump to the conclusion that the family used the funds for a new roof, as opposed to services needed by the sick child.  It's simply a more transparent situation.

But what if the family desperately *needed* a new roof, had budgeted/taken out a loan for it, then had to use that money for the child's medical bills? Another scenario is that the roofing company is doing it for free.

A friend of a friend died unexpectedly a few weeks ago. A fund has been set up to help the family, and a local business gave a *very* large sum of money to this fund (the business didn't toot its horn about this, I only found out because I'm a friend of the friend of the family). The main purpose of the fund is for the kids' education, but their home also desperately needs work, and that's where a large part of the big donation is going. It's none of anyone's business.

Honestly, if I made a donation specifically for a child's education and found out my money had been used to do home renovations, I'd be pretty ticked.  This is why nonprofits have to account for every penny of where their money is spent - a donation made to help the homeless should help the homeless, not re-wallpaper the home office.  It's up to me as the donor to research the charity and find out whether they spend 6% or 60% of their incoming donations on their own operating expenses, and to plan my giving accordingly.

However, that oversight isn't in place when the donations are going to a private family - I do think they're still good guidelines to follow, and it's rude for the family to use the money for something else than what it was donated for.  It's not illegal, though, and it's not necessarily unethical - it's just rude (IMHO).

jimithing

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2010, 10:51:04 AM »
I find this discussion interesting. I posted a thread a while back, about a woman who did a fundraiser to raise money for her future adoption. She posted on her blog about taking an expensive cruise a couple months later. The consensus of the board was that it was highly unethical, and when you ask people for money like that, you are then under scrutiny, and should not then be using your money to go on trips or buy a new car, etc.

That woman was actually investigated for fraud by her local police department, so it's not always just a matter of ethics, but legalities as well.

I am not going o press the issue or ask, I was just wondering if there were sort of unwritten rules about this, and many posters bring up excellent points, so I'm glad I asked!

kingsrings

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2010, 11:27:13 AM »
A year ago, I helped with a garage sale that benefitted one of the students of my teacher friend. She sent us all a thank you email after the fact, and noted the amount raised. I would of been totally curious and wondering if she hadn't done that, because I'd be wondering the net value of all our hard work and the profits sold. But people on here have raised some excellent points about why stating the amount isn't okay, so I understand. Every situation is different, I guess.

baglady

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2010, 08:32:52 PM »
A cruise might cause me to raise an eyebrow. Home repairs or a car? Not so much. When there is illness or injury in a family, insurance may cover the cost of treatment, but the family finances are going to suffer even without an outlay for medical bills. If the ill or injured person is a wage earner (perhaps the sole wage earner), then his/her income is gone. If it's a child, then a parent may have to quit or take unpaid leave from his/her job to care for the child.

If the home is unsafe or unsanitary and desperately needs work, and my contribution to the ____ Fund can help with that, I'm all for it. Ditto if the family needs to replace an unreliable beater car with something newer and safer to transport the ailing member to treatments.

Where I live, there are a lot of privately organized fundraisers for people in need -- catastrophic illness, injury, fire, death of the breadwinner. The organizers tend to be pretty up-front about what the money is going for. Sometimes it's coverage of medical expenses not covered by insurance, sometimes it's indirect things that are needed to help the person recover (as with the home and car examples above), sometimes it's just to help the family get on its feet after a disaster. If the family needs the money for a car or utility bills, rather than medical bills, the organizers say so.

Most of the time at these private fundraisers, things that would require a financial outlay, such as the cost of the venue, food, entertainment, are donated or provided at cost. I feel better about donating at a fundraiser "for Bob's family" than donating to Big National Charity that may, indeed, help Bob's family but also has to pay for employees, offices, etc.



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kareng57

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2010, 08:46:39 PM »
I agree with some PPs that it's a bit different when it's a private-family situation.

Example - maybe it's announced that they raised $ 10,000.  Then a few days later, people see a roofing-company's truck in the driveway.  If it's fairly common knowledge in the area that that's about the sum of a re-roofing job - some busybodies are going to jump to the conclusion that the family used the funds for a new roof, as opposed to services needed by the sick child.  It's simply a more transparent situation.

But what if the family desperately *needed* a new roof, had budgeted/taken out a loan for it, then had to use that money for the child's medical bills? Another scenario is that the roofing company is doing it for free.

A friend of a friend died unexpectedly a few weeks ago. A fund has been set up to help the family, and a local business gave a *very* large sum of money to this fund (the business didn't toot its horn about this, I only found out because I'm a friend of the friend of the family). The main purpose of the fund is for the kids' education, but their home also desperately needs work, and that's where a large part of the big donation is going. It's none of anyone's business.


You're preaching to the choir, actually  :).  I agree completely, the roof could be as much of a necessity for the family as new medical equipment for the affected child.

I'm simply saying that they could probably do without community busybodies deciding whether or not donations had been used "properly".

jaxsue

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2010, 08:33:49 AM »
In my formertown the community donated a large amount of money to a man whose son was very ill. It was hundreds of thousands of dollars, IIRC. The family's plight and the drive made the local news.

Several months later the family was in the news again, but for a not-so-great reason. Seems the dad used a lot of the money for luxury items such as nice vacations and high-end toys like a boat, etc. He defended his use of the money, but I'm sure that the donors were none too pleased that their donations were used for non-necessities.


kingsrings

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2010, 11:08:23 AM »
A few years ago in my town, a mom waged a fundraising drive to try to save her terminally ill son. Once in a while, she would buy her son a video game or something along the lines of that in order to placate him, as he was very angry and combative about dealing with the whole thing. Some in the community expressed displeasure with this, but I don't see anything wrong with a once in a while treat for a situation like this. If it was the only thing that would calm him down and placate him, then so be it. If she was doing it all the time, then that wouldn't be okay.

MommyPenguin

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2010, 11:27:20 AM »
I agree with the others that I think the difference is that it's for a private family instead of an organization.  There are privacy issues with a family, and they aren't set up like a nonprofit is.  With a nonprofit, I think it's appropriate for them to show how much total was raised.

Also, I'd worry a bit about the family becoming a target, not just of speculation but also of fraud or theft, if the amount were known.  Unethical people might not really think about it when it was just a general fundraiser, etc., but if all of a sudden they heard "$20,000 was raised," they might think, "Hmm, this family will be receiving a check for $20,000, how can I get at that?" or something.  Hearing the number would make it more "real" to people and might let thieves know that it's significant enough to make the attempt worth it (finding out how the money will be received, watching the mail for a letter from the organization, etc.).

Sharnita

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2010, 12:16:14 PM »
I have a friend who at age 37 ended up paralyzed in a wheelchair.  He is goint to therapy and intends to wlak unaided someday but right now is in the chair and can't get up without barces/ parallel bar/etc.  There have been a couple of dund raisers to help with medical and livign expenses and another is coming up.  I haven't heard totals and I think there is good reason for that.  One reason is that the money can sound like a lot to people who don't know what the costs are.  Especially when there will be future fund raisers people can here that $X have already been made and think that should be more than enough when in reality the medical costs are eating up all that money extremely quickly.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Fundraising Etiquette
« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2010, 12:26:29 PM »
What do people think about this idea?  On personal fundraisers, rather than announcing a total, announce that 'We raised enough money for Joe to get a wheelchair with the XYZ features he needs, to make needed modifications to his home for wheelchair accessibilty and to pay off X% of his outstanding medical bills.  Thanks, everyone!'

I'd be happy with something like that.  Then the public doesn't know the exact figure and the people who donated know what their money is doing for Joe.
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