My mother in law made a comment a few weeks ago that struck me. She knows I volunteer for the American Cancer Society. Many times she has said she hears about so many more people who have cancer now than when she was growing up. She said that back then everyone talked about the March of Dimes.
Now I know the name the March of Dimes and I know it has to do with children. But what I didn’t know was that the March of Dimes has been around for 75 years, was started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to fight polio and has had famous supporters like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.
Cancer may be the disease many people are concerned with today, but healthy babies are always a concern and that’s why the March of Dimes changed its focus to preventing birth defects and infant mortality after the polio vaccine was developed.
I have to be honest, the March of Dimes is not the best organization for keeping administrative and fundraising costs down. According to Charity Navigator (CN), a quarter of every dollar it spends goes to fundraising and another eleven percent goes to administrative expenses. CN gives the organization two out of four stars.
So, should you give your money to the March of Dimes? It’s a personal decision. Right now it’s getting donations matched so every dollar you contribute is doubled. It’s also going to get $10,000 extra dollars from Famous Footwear if it breaks the record for most e-cards made.
The March of Dimes has done a lot of good in the last 75 years, but this brings up the issue of what you look for in a charity. Do you think it’s OK for a charity to spend more than a third of its money on things other than its mission? Or is that sometimes necessary, especially in today’s economy?
If you believe in the mission, it may be worth it to you to give, despite these facts. Today, I’d like you to think about that. What issues are you most in tune with? What strikes you as something you want to support?
Disaster relief? Feeding hungry people? Educating the poor? Women’s rights? Environmental issues? Animal care? A particular disease like Alzheimer’s, cancer or muscular dystrophy?
Next week I’ll be giving you a list of ways you can impact the world but the question usually ends with what charity you want to benefit. That’s up to you. In the new year, if you want to make a difference, you can. Some people say it’s better to support just one or two causes so that what you do really adds up, rather than scattering support among many causes.
I’ve never really held that belief before. I believe that every little bit you give or do counts. But you do have to choose where your dollar or your time goes. I feel the tug of wanting to help so many organizations but I can’t help them all. Now, at the end of the year, maybe you should do a little soul searching and decide where you want to help.