Out iced

Matthew Steeples urges readers to consider what good your donation will actually do before rushing to take the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’

 

I am not going to prove popular with many in saying this but the cult of the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ isn’t quite what it seems. Many of you will tell me that “it’s raised tens of millions of dollars” and that awareness of ALS has reached an all time peak but how many of you know what percentage of the funds you’re raising will actually go to research into finding a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

 

President George W. Bush is amongst those who have taken the Ice Bucket Challenge
President George W. Bush is amongst those who have taken the Ice Bucket Challenge

It is impossible to dispute that those partaking in this challenge – aside from fulfilling their own vain desire for their 15 minutes of fame – have, in the main, helped raise vast amounts of cash for the ALS Association but how many have looked at the charity’s accounts?

 

If you did, you’d find something you might not like: Over 50% of what the ALS Association received in 2013 was used to support the salaries, fundraising and administration costs of the charity and only $7 in every $100 donated actually went to research. If you don’t believe me, watch this video by Brad Robbins on Facebook and you’ll learn much more.

 

Yesterday, I asked our readers: “How much of every pound or dollar donated should charities be able to allocate to administration?” You were resounding in your responses and suggested that only between 15% and 40% of funds raised should be allocated to administrative costs. On this basis, perhaps, instead of rushing to throw iced water over yourself, maybe now’s the time to reconsider your giving choices.

 

 

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Exceptional, investigative journalism by the Steeples Times. Congratulations Editor! Couldn’t agree more with your remark about 15 minutes of fame.

  2. Your figures appear to be wrong. The ALSA gets a 4 star rating on the charity navigator website.
    http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3296#.U_6sIYH8XqA
    Last year it seems as though 11% of income went to admin expenses and 16% to fundraising expenses.

    Since the ice bucket challenge has been so hugely successful I expect both those percentages will be much lower next year.

    I take my hat off to the charity for an impeccably orchestrated social media campaign.

      • Again your figures seem to be wrong. From their website it also seems as though the Charity Navigator website is wrong although I suspect that they are just a year out of date.

        Anyway from the ALSA site you will see that this page, http://www.alsa.org/about-us/financial-information.html, states that 7% of their income goes to Administration, and 14% goes to fund raising, as opposed to 11% and 16%.

        Of the rest 28% or $28 out of every 100 goes to research rather than the $7 you state above, 19% goes to Patient and Community Services, and 32% goes to Public and Professional education.

        It is worth noting that the total income according to their website was 26.3 million for the year ending 31st January 2014 and the icebucket challenge in the month of August has so far raised 94.3 million.

        This I suspect means that as a percentage for the year ending 31st January 2015 that the fundraising and admin percentages will go down dramatically.

        I have absolutely no idea where you are getting the idea that the charities running costs were 12.5 million against revenues of 24 million.

        Admin costs were only 1.9 million, if you add in fundraising costs as part of admin then it become just under 5.5 million.

        You can download the charities annual report from here and see for yourself:

        http://www.alsa.org/assets/pdfs/annual_report_fy2014.pdf

    • Massage the numbers any way you want but they are still spending too much on admin and salaries. Any charity that doesn’t spend the majority on the cause isn’t willing of our support. The ALS Association is definitely in that category. I don’t trust this Charity Navigator website either. Who is behind it? The Charity Commission, equally gets my goat: It just protects the thieves who run so many of these “charities”. Wholesale transparency is what we all need.

  3. I did not like the ice bucket concept from start, although it proved very popular and successful at fundraising this way. I suspect lots of people got carried on by the fame and celebrity aspect and wonder how many actually know what they are donating for . Much fewer care how the funds are allocated

    Most seem not to even know what ALS stands for and did not even bother to look it up and learn

  4. You’re an idiot. So much more goes into ALS care than research toward a cure — most notably care for those suffering from it, those whose limbs are losing functionality every day and who need an immense amount of medical care just to persevere. “Research” and “administration” aren’t the only two elements involved here.

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