The ‘charity’ fat cats earning big bucks no doubt look forward to banking your Christmas checks. Their advertising will pluck at your heart-strings, but they never reveal their own salaries, often into six figures, and their extremely generous pension deals, company cars, expense accounts, and possible low rate mortgages enabling them to buy luxury homes etc.
When my mother-in-law announced recently that she would be sending a check to a certain animal charity, we said, ‘Please wait until we find out what they pay for advertising and what they pay their chief executive. Then decide if you want to send your very hard-earned money to them.’
We emailed asking to see the accounts of the charity and specifically asking to see the salary of the chief executive and other officers. To their credit, they did send the accounts and a document which said that one employee earned in the £90,000 to £100,000 range. In dollars that is about $142,000 - $158,000. Another employee earned in the £60-70,000 range, or about $95,000. So, as the old saying goes, charity begins at home! Especially if you are a charity boss!
Over £1 million of their donations went on advertising. So any money my mother-in-law sent woud help meet that advertising bill or go towards that fat salary. With that particular charity, most of the income came from legacies – from elderly women like my mother-in-law, I suspect, changing their wills in favour of the charity because they have a soft spot for animals.
There are a lot of charities advertising at this time of year, but please make some effort to find out how much they pay their executives. You will probably be as outraged as we were.
We were alerted to all this years ago when we just happened to see the salary of a Catholic Charities executive, and our jaws dropped! Charity began at his door all right.
That prompted us about eight years ago to publish an expose of charity bosses’ salaries, which were at that time on a convenient website list. After our story was published, the site was no longer there. Readers were absolutely amazed by the huge salaries, amazed and enraged. The only charity which came out well was the Salvation Army, which at the time paid its chief officer a salary of about £10,000, or $15,000 a year.
A highly respected retired businessman responded to the article, offering to run any of those charities free. He said his military pension plus his other pensions were quite enough for him, and he would not need any salary. His offer was not taken up.
Having said all that, we know some good Christian charities which are well worth supporting. We particularly like TWR, Trans World Radio in the UK, or in the USA it is Thru The Bible Radio Network. They offer free MP3 teaching on the whole of the Bible, plus notes and outlines, all free, but obviously it is not free to them.
They broadcast the Thru The Bible (TTB) teaching of J. Vernon McGee, and only the Lord knows how many thousands of people around the globe have come to know and love Jesus through that program. In the USA you can contact Thru the Bible Radio Network at PO Box 7100, Pasadena, CA 91109; in Canada Box 26325, ondon, Ontario N8C 6B1; in Britain TTB, c/o TWR, PO Box 606, Altrincham, WA14 2YS.
Consider supporting Jewish Christians in Israel. There are many Messianic fellowships in Israel, where poverty is widespread. The church we attend in England sends financial help to two of these. This is in line with what Paul said in Romans 15:26,27, that we gentiles have shared in the spiritual blessings which came through the Jews, and we are indebted to minister to them in material things. Personally, I think we probably get a double blessing for helping Jewish believers, because God said He would bless those who bless the Jews (through Abraham), and He also promises a general blessing for giving, so in my book that sounds like a double blessing, which is OK with me! Double sounds good! God is very astute in these matters.
One British charity called Hope Now helps children, old people and prisoners in the Ukraine. You can read about them at www.hopenow.org.uk Many have been saved through this ministry, including many former prisoners who have been converted and are now preaching the gospel.
So, if you are feeling generous, be wise. Support the charities which get the gospel out and funnel the money out to the people who need it, not the fat cat in some fancy head office. And, by the way, if they have a fancy head office, that is all you need to know…
Anybody shaking a charity can at you on the street should be able to answer two questions:
What is the salary of your CEO or chairman?
What is the advertizing budget of the charity?