I just got an interesting call from a company identifying themselves as Associated Community Services. They were calling on behalf of a breast cancer foundation. They were very excited that they reached me and wanted to send me one of their latest pledge cards.
While I certainly believe that we (society) should fund all manner of scientific research, I'm always skeptical of these kind of solicitations. I asked, as I always do, about how much of the money actually goes to the charity. The girl kind of bristled and immediately went to her script:
"In order to insure that accurate information is given, I will pass you onto my supervisor"
Another perky girl came on, identified herself as a supervisor and told me she would answer my questions. Very odd.
After I quizzed her, she told me that 20% goes to the charity and 80% goes to administration, collection, and dispersal fees. In other words, if I gave $100 to support breast cancer research -- they would end up getting a nice crisp $20 bill and Associated Community Services would be putting my $80 into THEIR till.
Ladies and Gentlemen -- ask questions about this kind of stuff. Ask about everything. Ask those bell ringers at Christmas who gets the money. Ask the United Way about their administration costs.
Some are very good, some aren't. You may just be helping some telemarketer make his/her monthly numbers.