American Cancer Society, Inc.

Rating: 2.19 stars   53 reviews

Issues: Human Services, Cancer, Economic Development

Location: 250 Williams Street Atlanta GA 30303 USA

Mission:

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.


Programs:

Research - support provided to academic institutions and scientists to seek new knowledge about the causes, prevention, and cure of cancer, and to conduct epidemiological and behavioral studies.

2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 2 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I was a Team Captain for the Relay for Life in 2014. My team of 14 people raised $3,600. I was naïve and thought most of the money raised would go towards cancer programs. I did not know that most of the money would go to pay the executives who run ACS. I have also been bombarded with emails, mail and calls asking for more donations. It’s sad that most of the money goes for salaries and fundraising events than to cancer programs. I will find another cancer program to support.

 
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Rating: 2 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

If you google ACS, it states that the CEO made 1 million dollars - then in 2011, ACS gave him a raise - HE NOW MAKES 2.4 MILLION A YEAR.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

It's impossible

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A little

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Rating: 1 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I have volunteered for ACS for seven years as a committee member for Relay For Life and a Road to Recovery driver. Our county raises over $400K every year for Relay For Life. We have (had) an amazing committee and a phenomenal event chair for the past seven years. Now ACS has asked our chairperson to step down with no one in the wings to take over. This event chair has dedicated her life to Relay For Life and has been treated with no respect from ACS. The whole committee is quitting and ACS doesn't seem to care. They have to follow their "best practices" which say that no volunteer should serve on the committee for more than 2 years. The staff partners at ACS are paid very little so they really don't care about the "cause". It's just a job to them. And they certainly don't care about their volunteers. All I have to say is that there are many non profit organizations out there where more of the money they raise is spent on research and programs. Our community will find another organization to give our $400K to....one that appreciates it's volunteers. And one where the CEO doesn't make $628K per year salary. To think that our year of fundraising doesn't even pay the CEO's salary... Wow. Check out The Cancer Research Institute or Livestrong on the charitynavigator.org. They are much better organizations!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Don't pay any of the executives more that $100K per year salary (that is plenty). Hire staff partners who actually care about the survivors and volunteers and cut your expenses way down. We want the money we raise to go to research and programs...not salaries and administrative expenses!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Rating: 2 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

I'm a cancer survivor and former beneficiary of ACS. They have helped me through their childhood cancer programs quite a lot, and now, as an adult, I know the immense impact that those programs had in my life.

Recently they have cancelled the program that allowed me, as a child, to attend summer camp even when I wasn't well. An experience that remains the catalyst for most of the best things in my life (talking best friends I have, a woman I love, the ability to positively affect the lives of kids in a position I used to be in myself. Life altering stuff.).

In addition, they have cancelled the scholarship program that allowed me to graduate from college. I do not come from money, and my childhood treatment bankrupted my folks. This scholarship saved my future in the career I fell in love with.

All of this could be forgiven if it was necessary. It is not necessary, however. These programs are reported to cost $1 million annually. They say they just cant afford it anymore, that they're trimming the fat. And yet in the board room THIS YEAR there are bonuses of upwards of $1.5 million.

Quality of life matters to more than just your executives, ACS. I am deeply disappointed that this has been forgotten.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

1999

 
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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 1 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

As someone who decided to become a team Captain for their college's Relay for Life, I have been less then thrilled with the experience. I am representing and leading a small church group, we don't have many members and we don't have the most resources as compared to other participating. It began to bother me that in the RFL meetings, all that would be talked about was money and to raise as much money for them as possible; survivors, treatment and everything else was barely mentioned and certainly not stressed.
Each team had to raise at least 200 dollars to get a campsite, or else we wouldn't have had anywhere to put our stuff. If a team didn't have a large donation or a lot of members, they were heavily criticized by the organizers. Many small groups were flat out told it was worthless for them to participate, which I would think the organization should be thankful for any help they get. I think their rudeness should speak for itself.
I really wanted to support Relay for Life and our group was originally excited to support others who have had to fight such a tough battle, but I am very disenchanted with how I have seen the money used and the fact that the only thing being stressed is to raise money, not awareness or education or research but just money. When I asked the organizers how the money would be used that was raised, they couldn't give me an answer, which did bother me; however they were able to tell me what prizes I could earn as a team captain if my team raised so much money.
My experience may be due to the fact that this is a college campus and these were students running the event; however when I was talking to a family friend who is both a cancer survivor and how had participated in Relay for Life (in a different states location) her experience seemed very much like mine.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

None

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have been a volunteer with the American Cancer Society fo several years now and I am saddened by all the negative comments and I'm not really sure where people are pulling their info from. I can tell you that I have seen first hand numerous friends that have been helped free lodging, travel, medical equipment, wigs, programs and numerous other patient services. I have also seen first hand cutbacks within the ACS organization...as in less employees....more work taken on by the remaining employees. I can tell you that our Staff partner as well as the Quality of Life Manager, Executive Director and the staff of our local office work their butts off for that organization. Anyone that thinks volunteers do it all is wrong. Granted, ACS is approximately 90% volunteer driven...but I think of that as a plus. Shame on you people for being so gullible - do what your heart tells you. Do you really think that many volunteers would be volunteering if they felt ACS mismanaged their monies? Why do you think they have such a huge volunteer base?? Because the volunteers have seen FIRST HAND how many lives have been helped by the American Cancer Society. I don't believe all the negative articles I read about places such as the American Red Cross, Komen, etc. I believe what is in my heart. I will continue to volunteer for the American Cancer Society until cancer is gone or I'm gone.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been volunteering for Raly for Life, along with my daughter who organizes bake sale events and pariticpates in other fund raisers at her school for ACS. After seeing the , we'll be sepdning our time elsewhere. Shame on you, John Seffrin!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A little

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Somewhat badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

HAVE BEEN AN ACTIVE BOARD MEMBER FOR OVER 40 YEARS. AS A NURSE ,DID EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING. RECENTLY FOUND OUT THE SALARIES OF THE LEADERS- OUTRAGEOUS- AND THE SMALL AMOUNT TO RESEARCH. ACS COVERS ALL THAT UP. ALSO THEY GAVE MONEY TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD- MONEY I GAVE FOR CANCER. ALSO THEY SENT LETTERS TO SUPPORT THE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE BILL= NONE OF THE MEMBERS KNEW ABOUT OR ABOUT THE MONEY TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD OR THAT THEY USE EMBROS FOR STEM CELL RESEARCH. ACS NEED TO FIRE ALL THE EXPENSE DICTATORS. ACS JUST MOVED INTO A 274,000 SQ FT BUILDING IN ATLANTA WITH 800 EMPLOYEES.. WHER DOES ALL THAT MONEY COME FROM?? FROM HARD WORKING ,BELIEVING VOLUNTEERS.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

I have a friend who worked for the ACS in one of its call centers. He said that a large part of their training is to learn who all the other non-profit organizations are, then refer the caller to them by giving the other non-profits telephone numbers. This gets the patients and families off their backs. ALL of the best ACS programs are operated and carried out by volunteers. And, as some other commenter said, the wigs, bras, supplies, are all donated. Drivers to appointments are volunteers. Camps for kids are all donated with volunteers. He also said that ACS hourly employees were almost forced into making candy, selling hot dogs, making and selling crafts, and anything else they can think of to make money for ACS which they have to do on their own time with their own money, and then BUY the stuff from each other. He said they were also supposed to answer questions that came through email or regular mail. One such question he received was "Is there a test yet for ovarian Cancer?" When he tried to find out the answer (other than "no", ie try to find out and provide the latest research, updates, etc), he was told "Just tell her NO." The ACS is primarily there to support the employees and their pension plans. As others also have said: KEEP YOUR MONEY LOCAL. All the volunteers in your county or city who willing to work: organize on your own and keep the money for local cancer patients who need help. DO NOT GIVE TO ACS! YOU WILL BE WASTING YOUR MONEY THAT YOU BELIEVE IS GOING IN MEMORY OF YOUR FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS WHO HAVE DIED!

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 1 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

The people who have given ACS 5 stars need to sit up and smell the coffee. Wake up! If you don't believe CN's (bad) ACS rating is worth considering, do a little research. You don't have to look far to find out the truth about ACS. If you don't trust the rating of Charity Navigator, check out other reputable organizations who do the same thing. If you just google a little, you'll find out a lot. Also, the fact of the employee pension plan is huge. Of course they can't drop employees who are currently drawing their pension. But if the money wasn't coming from donors, they would immediately do what large corporations have done: stop funding the pension plans for current employees. Of course it's legal, it's done all the time. Not good for employees, but the DONATED money in ACS's case could then go toward research and also to helping cancer patients more directly. ACS mission is not to set up their employees for their retirement years--it's to fight cancer. If they really believed that, they would follow through and make the necessary cuts.

Just a few links from a casual google:

http://www.indeed.com/forum/cmp/American-Cancer-Society/s-company-culture-at-American-Cancer-Society/t16550
ACS employee:
...You are expected to meet workplans that are sometimes ridiculous while being forced in training/brainwashing sessions, sometimes every week, but definitely at least once a month. These are usually overnight events. They try to brainwash you so you can explain to people where their money goes, when really it is going to pay for all the meetings, hotel rooms, salaries, gas, car rentals, food, etc. that you use each month. My expense report averaged over $2000 a month! It is disgusting to participate in a huge, extravagant 3 day meetings, but we were not allowed to give a patient the money to pay for a small co-pay on their much needed medication. I have even seen die-hard volunteers accept employment positions with ACS and then quit after a few months because of how appalled they are with how ACS is run.

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/american-cancer-society-where-does-your-money-go/nFX4j/

http://www.wtflungcancer.com/where-do-your-relay-for-life-donations-go-american-cancer-society-doesnt-tell-you/

http://www.preventcancer.com/losing/acs/wealthiest_links.htm

http://www.chondrosarcoma-support.org/index.php?topic=963.0

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Review from CharityNavigator
1 previous review
Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

In answer to mwartman:Yes, those programs are all great but let's set the record straight:almost all of the programs you mentioned are carried out by volunteers (the makeup class, the road to recovery, man to man, almost all of the programs are carried out by VOLUNTEERS. Wigs are donated, staff that helps with them are volunteers, the Hope Lodge is donated from large charitible donations for the most part. You need to do some further research and believe what you are reading via other posts on this site. ACS takes in Millions and MILLIONS of dollars, but holds on tight to it and makes sure that their administrative and top employees including the CEO are paid very, very well. My money will never go to them again.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Review from CharityNavigator
1 previous review
Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

For those who say that you can't find a good CEO to run a charity of the size of ACS without paying them a huge salary: Look again at what the top dogs at ACS are getting vs other reputable charities of a similar nature. Also, I personally (who like many used to believe that ACS was wonderful), will look for a LOCAL charity that helps those afflicted with cancer. If you're a successful volunteer with ACS and there's nothing in your area, think about getting your teams together and starting a local organization. There are many who need assistance with transportation to treatments, medical/drug expenses, compassionate support etc. that ACS will turn down flat or refer to other non-profits. All the fantastic, wonderful volunteers w/ACS who help out every year and raise local money to fight cancer--by all means, continue doing so, but do your homework and find out where the money is being spent. If research is what you want to fund, seek out the orgs on CN who have the best track record there. I know my money and time will never again go to the American Cancer Society.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A little

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Somewhat badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

As an oncologist, I would recommend supporting your local hospital/cancer center/hospice rather that the ACS. You are supporting some huge salaries. Keep the donations and volunteering where you know it will do the most good, in your local area. Do you really need to make a million a year to run this if your heart is really dedicated to helping cancer patients? Give money to charities that help with co-pay assistance or local good samaritan clinics. These are the cutting edge in the trenches ways to help people.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

None

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Review from CharityNavigator