“Compassion International Scam” is exactly what I typed into my Google search bar when I was deciding whether or not to sponsor Lucky.
If you are considering sponsoring a child with a specific organization, Google “said organization name scam”, read the results/reviews, Google “said organization name complaints”, and read those results/reviews.
While reading, be sure to keep an objective mind. Is the source one you can trust? Are the complaints legitimate or petty? Draw your own hypothesis based upon your findings.
Next, go to Charity Navigator. They do all of the work for you. Charity Navigator is my go-to, because they have been around for a long time, and it is free. There are other similar sites that are very good as well if you want to even further your research.
Here is the criteria I look for:
Four Star Organization
First of all, I want to partner with a four star organization. I review the overall score, check out the comments (with an objective mind), and if I really want to delve I look at the 990 form.
How much of the proceeds go to the program itself? You can also contact the organization or find the information on their website to find out exactly how much of the donation goes to the sponsored child which is of utmost importance to me. Are sponsorships tax deductible?
Revenue & Assets
What is the organization’s total revenue?
How much of the total revenue is spent towards the program, and what are the assets?
Comparisons Between Similar Charities
I really like this feature that allows a comparison of similar organizations, and I view their stats as well. I do not view them as competitors – I think that defeats the purpose of charity. Gaining insight to the way other charities allot their funds and what their programs offer will help you find the association that best aligns with your values and goals.
I saved the most interesting for last. At first glance, executive salaries of charities and non-profit organizations can be alarming. In some cases, it can be a major red flag!
Without any background knowledge, do not be quick to form an opinion just yet. Dive deeper. How large is the organization? How many countries do they operate in? How much time and donations do the leaders put in themselves? How effective is the organization being run? How long has the CEO been with the institution? What experience and education does the leader possess? What are the salaries of CEOs of similar organizations?
Keep in mind some organizations will pay higher salaries to bring in a leader that will generate more income for the program and manage the funds flawlessly. There are many variables and business strategies to consider so keep digging before drawing a conclusion.
Another reason I chose to sponsor through Compassion International is their transparency. For example, there were many comments and questions on Charity Navigator regarding the compensation of Compassion’s leadership.
What does Compassion do? Do they fire back aggressively? Do they ignore the concerns? No, they do not do either. They respond by giving a detailed clarification exemplifying their transparency with poise, dignity, and grace. Financial integrity is a must. The transparency within an organization is what gains my respect and trust (remember this is coming from a skeptic).
I find it very unfortunate that all of this research is deemed necessary. Too many undercover investigations have revealed scams tainting our minds and causing a lack of trust which negatively impacts the good organizations which the majority are. Any charity or non-profit that exploits children is the lowest of the low in my book and should be exposed. I was relieved that none of my research pre-sponsorship revealed a shred of fraudulence with Compassion International.
I have been a Compassion International sponsor for almost 2 years, and I can confidently report that they are a top-notch organization. They continue to impress and inspire me, and I can see the effects of the program through my correspondence with Lucky.
Give willingly; yet, always do your due diligence first.