American National Red Cross
November 10, 2012
I am a professional, well-trained crime victim volunteer for another nationally renown non-profit, but I had my first experience as a person served by The Red Cross during Hurricane Sandy in October. I can't say enough about the efficient, effective and compassionate care provided to our family by Red Cross volunteers. At every step along the way, from taking our first hot shower in more than two weeks to providing a hot nutritious meal, blankets, water, ice, flashlight batteries and prepared meals. Had we been homeless, we would have had a cot, pillow and blankets to sleep over in a clean over-sized room. The Red Cross was set-up at a high school and had the organizational skills to also enlist students who were studying veterinary technology to volunteer at the designated area caring for the pets of any homeless family. The students not only put their skills to the test, but they also learned about volunteer service. The entire operation was well-organized with knowledgeable and caring volunteers. The volunteers were clearly identifiable with red vests and name tags. There was a well-dressed woman with a name tag who came over to us during our meal and asked us questions to apparently assess if our needs were being met in a timely, effective and courteous way. She had identified herself as a regional directer and was making rounds to all three emergency shelters in the county. Not once were we solicited for money. I had to ASK where I could donate. Only after asking, was I handed a self-addressed envelope to take home. The Red Cross pays 92 cents on the dollar for providing services to the needy. The non-profit I volunteer for, pays a professional fundraiser 40 cents for every dollar the company makes for the non-profit I volunteer for. Of the 60 cents, the first expenditure is for the highly paid administrator salaries, benefits [including pension and severance pay] and advance expense vouchers. That leaves about 20 cents for our services to crime victims. Service programs are cut while executive salaries are increased. Compare how much of each dollar goes to victim services.. Since the Red Cross volunteers who served our area are efficient, effective and truly compassionate and caring, I will be directing my donation to their region. When you SPECIFY that a donation be used for a particular region/service area, every non-profit [including The Red Cross] is required by law to allocate that money to the particular region. It's known as "restricted funds." I had such a positive experience that I may very well volunteer for The Red Cross.
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Mothers Against Drunk Driving
November 8, 2012
It doesn't come as any surprise that MADD gets a one-star rating. While its intent is noble and worthy, it all boils down to MADD making money to pay the salaries and benefits of a very top heavy administration. It's certainly not used to assist well-trained volunteer advocates to do their job serving and advocating for victims and victim families of DUI. Volunteer advocate chapters are expected to BUY brochures and printed materials from MADD National headquarters to assist victims and raise public awareness. Year after year, we organized and ran MADD's signature Walk Like MADD fundraisers which garner thousands upon thousands of dollars in every community or region. Yet, we had to buy MADD materials for victims since all fundraising money goes directly to MADD National headquarters. If we're doing a community awareness program and want to hand out MADD brochures which include the victim services hotline number, we have to buy them. And then MADD wonders why we can't recruit and retain volunteer advocates. As for the organization itself, I agree with others that it's totally dysfunctional. One hand doesn't know what the other hand is doing. Only when we are fundraising, do we get any recognition. The revolving door of dedicated staff at the state and regional levels is enough to make our heads spin. They're not evaluated nor valued for their services in MADD's mission, only for the amount of money they can raise and forward to national headquarters. Year after year, it's the same thing despite the mounting complaints from lower echelon staff and volunteers. I volunteer for two other non-profits which value my time and dedication. Volunteers are brought together on a semi-annual basis so we can network our skill sets while meeting each other and know who's doing what. Both of those renown non-profits have longtime volunteers and no problem recruiting new volunteers. And lest I forget to mention, they have four-star ratings with Charity Navigator. Our MADD chapter slowly dissolved and MADD National doesn't even know it. I suspect they're simply re-cycling the number of victims we used to serve just to bolster their self-reported numbers for the current year's report. If you think MADD is serving victims as they report, I have a bridge to sell you. Simply put, they generate money to pay their own salaries and generous benefits. Trust Charity Navigator's one-star rating of MADD and donate to some other charity.
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Review from CharityNavigator