My experience is different from other donors. I was getting too many solicitations in the mail. (I would never give my phone # to a charity.) I asked to send me no more than 1 newsletter per quarter. They don't send me anything now. So they are still on my donation list. From other donor reviews, It does sound like it is getting big and having the problems associated with that.
I prefer to donate to little local groups and forget about the tax write off.
Review from Guidestar
I like the fact that they have volunteer doctors and nurses providing the services. They are the real heroes . I feel lucky to be a very small part of their program, by donating every month for the past 13 years. They truly are fighting the good fight!
Review from Guidestar
i am researching this charity and read quite a few negative reviews. The reasoning behind these reviews is surprising. 501c3 are non profit because they have no shareholders . But, for example, you are President of a university or a hospital group , you get a very very large compensation. Most are deservedly so. It costs money to raise money, to run programs and administrate. The $240 does not got" to the doctor" but is the cost of that procedure in these countries. Same procedure here , if done after birth , would cost thousands of dollars. I have been cautious regarding charities, especially where work is done out of the USA. I have other monthly donations and expect costs/fees related to them. If you are getting honest numbers, dont complain. Unless you are a local grassroots organization and have all volunteers, 501c3's cost money. If OS is doing what they say and teaching others along the way then they are satisfying their mission statement and bless them for that. Signed , a soon to be donor.
I used to donate to this charity. However, after reading so many reviews, I have come to the conclusion that most charities have become "profitable enterprises", even though they claim "non-profit 503" IRS slogans. When you do the math of how much money these "non-profit" organization raise through contributions, and how they "spend it" on the field, it really makes one think. Yes. there is the issue of the organization's "expenses", and the "salaries" for the administrative staff. However, what it's most discerning, it's the "salaries" that the top CEO, or COO, or President of the "organization" is making. Then, I am sure that the organization has to spend hundreds of dollars, or millions of dollars on the Legal Team to be able to skirt around the rules of the IRS and State Laws of "non-profit" interests. Then, there are the politics of the "Top" managers. Many years ago, "Smile Train" and "Operation Smile" were one so called "non-profit" organization. Then, the top people couldn't agree on their "objective politics", and they decided to part ways. In the end, they both are two agencies or non-profit CORPORATIONS requesting "donations" for the same objective: "Helping" children with Cleft Deformities. However, upon further investigation, and much research, these two "NON-PROFIT" CORPORATIONS: "Operation Smile" and "Smile Train" seem to outsource their mission to "doctors in the target country to do the job for these two CORPORATIONS", but these doctors don't always get "paid the $240 or $250" per operation. Sometimes these doctors have to go back-and-forth to get remunerated for their services. It's sad that these two named NON-PROFIT CORPORATIONS use the pictures of children with cleft deformities in order to raise millions and millions of dollars a year so that their top management can live in luxury at the expense of the "good-hearted donors" who have to work hard to earn their well deserved salary for themselves and support their families. I used to donate to Smile Train and Operation Smile, but have ceased doing so. Every time I get one of their fundraising envelopes, I simply write in BIG LETTERS: RETURN TO SENDER, and throw it in the mail box.
In September 2014, I committed to monthly donation withdrawals from my checking account to Operation Smile for a 12-month period. I just learned Operation Smile has continued to make monthly withdrawals from my checking account without my consent for an additional two months. When I contacted them today to get this corrected, I was told they have "no way of knowing it was for 12-months only!" WRONG ANSWER. The person on the other end said she could "cancel" withdrawals beginning in December. I said this was not acceptable-I want immediate cancellation, and CREDIT to my checking account for the two unapproved withdrawals. Needless to say, I will never support this organization in the future, and will steer friends and family away, also. VERY disappointing.
I donated one time (paid for one surgery) about 2 years ago and since then I have been harassed with phone solicitation on a frequent basis; sometimes daily phone calls from multiple people. I also receive regular mailings. I don't mind getting mailings but I do mind the harassing phone calls I received. I finally had to get ugly with one solicitor and demanded to be taken off the list. Donating is a great thing to do; helping others who don't have the means to help themselves but when you are harassed on a daily basis it becomes clear this charity has lost it's focus and only appears money hungry. I won't donate to them again.
IF THESE REVIEWS ARE NOT ACCURATE SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE THEM TAKEN DOWN OR AT LEAST CHECKED OUT. BASED ON THEM I WOULD NOT HELP THESE CHILDREN. I HAVE GIVEN TO SO MANY WHERE THE MONEY DIDN'T HELP THE CHILDREN AND IT IS DIFFICULT TO TRUST ANY CHARITIES LET ALONE ON LINE . SORRY SORRY, GET THIS FIXED.
Keep an eye over your bank account because this guys had taken extra mony from mine with out permission.
WORST charity ever, what a bunch of crooks and they now keep calling me EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! I will never, ever donate here again and when I looked them up online, what a surprise to find this:
DON'T use your emotions to donate to a cause, you will always lose and the people who need it most never get what they need.
Unless you want to be endlessly harassed by obnoxious outsourced operators that live on commission, never do any business with this operation. I tried to do a good deed. My reward is endless phone calls. When I answer one of these calls and ask to be removed from being harassed, the operator hangs up on me before I even finish my request. This charity has lost sight of its mission.
As of six months ago, their annual reports on their website shows 73.2% of funds went to programs, 20.6% to fundraising, 6.2% for administration. Not sure where the negative press is coming from . . . also, any reason management doesn't change the practice of calling those who donate? If this has changed, there needs to be a statement to this effect on this site so as not to dissuade those interested in contributing.
If you don't mind be barraged by phone calls by solicitors after you donate wanting to bleed every cent from you, give. If you value your privacy and abhor robot calls, don't give. Very bad ratio of money donated and what actually goes to the kids. If you do give don't give them your real phone number. Great idea for a charity, but poorly run.
I am sad to see people's negative comments. After all you are making an investment in the children. You are increasing their "Face Value". If along the way some fees are charged, it costs money to run any business! I simply am a volunteer fundraiser near Seattle. I am unpaid, and retired. Are the fees excessive, I dont think so. Office expenses may well refer to the fees they pay for facility rentals when they set up mission sites in Vietnam, or Philippines, China etc. Travel expenses would be high, sending volunteers and equipment around the world, is not getting any less expensive. I know first hand thet the funds are spent on surgical missions. I was contacted locally in Seattle, by a relative of a child in the Phil. The parents wanted to find out how to get in touch with Operation Smile. They sent the info to the relative here, and they furnished it to me. I sent it to Norfolk VA, Operation Smile. It was forwarded to Manila, Phil. Soon they contacted the family. The child was interviewed, and recieved the free surgery. I know, because they forwarded an email, to me stating that the 5 year old child had the operation 3 days earlier and was home resting.
How much did it cost to help change the childs Life?
In November 2012, over 1,200 surgical procedures were performed in the Philippines alone. There were a lot of volunteers along the way, but a lot of costs, paid for by donations, as well as medical supplies etc.
I have faith in the Operation Smile organition, but here will not be a monetary return on the dollars you donate. You will get a tax write off. And wake up one day with the realization that you changed many childrens lives for the better
I have personally talked with some of the doctors and staff who have travelled on numerous surgical missions. They love to smile after changing a childs life for ever. However that is in contrast to thepain of having to tell tell sad parents, that their child is not healthy enough for surgery, or they do not have enought funding for any additional surgeries this trip, and they must wait for the next mission. (next year?).
If the money in questionwas put in the surgical cashflow, children would be the real benefactors, and
that is the purpose of the donation after all!
A proud volunteer
I saw a TV story about Operation Smile and was moved to make a handsome donation. I then went to check them out but they are not rated. I looked at their IRS Form 990 for 2011 and was shocked by the numbers. In 2011 they collected $48mill. Of this they spent $3mill (6.25%) on grants. The rest went to Salaries - $7.7mill (16%); Office expenses - $6.4mill (13.3%); Travel - $4mill (8.3%); Fund Raising - $3.2mill (6.6%); "Other" (presumably also fund-raising related) - $2.3mill (4.8%). Judge for yourself. I would not donate an additional penny until their mission-related spending is above 80% of revenues not 6%! Besides, like other reviewers my telephone doesn't stop ringing to the point that this line has become useless.
Wife and I donated last year's tax refund to Operations Smile based on the worked they appeared to be doing and had planned to do so every year in the future but immediately regretted our decision to do so. Whatever the merits of their work in the field we immediately found ourselves in the midst of an avalanche of robo calls from every imaginable charity which are not covered by the Do Not Call list regulations and has left us with no recourse but to terminate our land-line service at the end of this month to put an end to the 10 to 15 calls a day, yes a day, that we've been receiving since our donation. This in addition to the small mountain of wasteful daily mailings we receive from these charities including Operation Smile the totality of which certainly qualifies as a small environmental catastrophe. They clearly sold our information as part of a donors list without any regard as to the impact and the material cost alone of the mailings from Operation Smiles would seem leave us hard pressed to imagine much if any actual care being delivered with even our sizable donation.
Once you donate to Operation Smile you can expect to be bombarded with robocalling pleas for more donations. Their calling is extremely aggressive, starting at 7 am and continuing until 9 pm with as many as five calls in one day, seven days a week for months and months. They will not stop.
Donors soon regret their decision as no amount of pleading will get them to stop harassing you with constant phone calls.
Review from Guidestar
I have been honored to work with Op Smile as part of a disaster relief team in 2010 in Haiti and again this year in Vietnam as part of a burn care team. In addition to cleft palate repair Op Smile offers burn and Wound Care interventions to the poorest popualtions all around the world. Many stories are heart rendering but the opportunity to serve with compassionate health care specialists from around the world and be a part of life changing outcomes makes the work of this group so important and necessary in what is now a world community. I hope everone who knows of Op Smile will give generously to their fine work througout the world.
it's a very good grp to volunteer with!! i grantee a good volunteering :)
Operation Smile has an amazing capacity not only to change the lives of children and their families but to impact whole health systems in third world countries. The training opportunities create sustainable local medical professionals in a variety of fields that extends past cleft care but to pediatric patient care in general
I am a recent supporter to Operation Smile and truly inspired by the work they perform in the poorest countries in the world. Just seeing the photos of the children they help, it is clear how my donation is able to give a child a new life. Keep up the great work!
for every dollar spent on a child, even with all the volunteers, fifty cents goes to executives and fund raising. There are probably better run operations for you hard earned dollars.
I helped Operation Smile International back in 1999 in Venezuela, while Dr. William P. Magee Jr., D.D.S., M.D. and his team brought the plane named the flying hope. My uncle Dr. Jorge Carlesso was part of Venezuelan team, and he still being part of that team, I loved the time I spent working with this organization, and in the future I hope I can contribute with this organization, not only by donating money if not to help while the missions you make all around the world.
Review from Guidestar
This is not, strictly speaking, a review of Operation Smile, but a call for current reviews from others who know more than I. I was not aware until recently of the rift between Smile Train and Operation Smile. When I heard that the two are merging, it seemed like a good idea, reconciling differences and focusing on the task at hand, until I read the article in the New York Times about it.
It appears that the CEO of the Smile Train is looking for money and power, and now is looking to annex Operation Smile.
I am a very small donor. I work as a volunteer, pro bono, for another group, and have little cash money to contribute. I want to be sure the money I can spare goes where I think it does, and the politics of this merger raises questions.
Review from Guidestar
I have been a member of Operation Smile's Utah Chapter Board for only less than a year, but have been very familiar with the organization for many years. I have been so touched and moved by the unbelievable change and blessing that comes into the life of each child who has been the recipient of an Operation Smile surgery. Where once belittled, embarrassed and estranged because of a cleft lip or palate, these children's lives are forever changed for the better due to the generous donations of friends from around the world. I can, without reservation, wholeheartedly endorse Operation Smile and thank you in advance for your support.
Review from Guidestar
This organization is very well run in my experience. I am happy to be involved in Operations Smile's mission to change lives forever. A child's happy face has a happy place in my heart!
Operation Smile is my favorite non-profit charitible organization and will always have a special place in my heart, simply because of the hope and new-lease-on-life opportunities they provide to suffering children and loving families through their wonderful, life transforming surgeries. God bless Operation Smile.