I'm been a recurring donor to Invisible Children for 4 years and I am so pleased with how they are spending my money and how they keep me updated on how my money is impacting lives in central Africa.
My 11 year old son was inspired by the KONY 2012 video and saved his allowance for months, which we sent to Invisible Children. He was heartbroken and discouraged to find out several months later that the money does not go to help the children, but rather to an organization that acts as lobbyists. The video and propaganda by Invisible Children led my son to believe he would be helping children - NOT that the money would be used as salaries for people in the US who raise awareness. I feel they were misleading. We were thrilled that my son felt philanthropic and did extra work around the house to earn money to donate, only to have that thrill turn to sadness. My now 12 year old son is now jaded when suspicious regarding charities. Not a lesson I wanted him to learn.
Review from CharityNavigator
My school’s Invisible Children club raises and donates money each year for their cause; however, when I first saw the Kony 2012 video, it took the cause to a new level. I was so impacted by the video and realized the importance of Invisible Children’s work in Africa. At the same time, there were many criticisms surrounding the organization. Many of these criticisms came from money and amounts of donations. IC’s cause seemed so important that I had to figure it out for myself. After a few months of research, I found that – according to the Better Business Bureau – organizations should donate 65% to their programs. IC donates 85%. They also should release yearly financial reports, which IC has done since 2006. Ultimately, I would suggest that everyone should research for themselves before donating to any organization; but, I will definitely support them again and encourage others to as well!
I have been a donor for invisible Children since 2009. I did not receive my KONY 2012 kit when the video went viral, but I was called by a staff member after the fact... they offered a refund, but I didn't take it. Here's why, and I must warn you in advance... this explanation will be lengthy. Since 2009, I have been fully aware of this organization's integrity and willingness to create peace to part of our world. Before, I never donated. I just watched their films, was shocked as I heard about an ongoing war that was not being covered anywhere in U.S. media, let alone history books... I began writing research papers for school (peer reviewed searches verified the crisis in dozens of articles), and I began spreading awareness. I attended their Dallas "Rescue Joseph Kony's Child Soldiers" event, where hundreds of us symbolically abducted ourselves and walked 7 miles to a park (LRA camp) and waited to be rescued by a political figure, someone from the media, and a celebrity. I wrote letters many letters that day to members of Congress and political leaders, which led to a movement that got President Obama's attention. He signed the LRA Disarmament and Recovery Act in 2009. If you google search photos of Obama signing this act, you can see Laren Poole standing behind him in the oval office. Just last year ( and you can google this too, and find it anywhere in the news, JUST MAKE SURE IT'S A VERIFIABLE SOURCE - NOT AN OPINION ARTICLE OR A BLOG), President Obama sent 100 U.S. troops and military experts to Central Africa to help aid the crisis in the region and help capture Joseph Kony, WHO IS STILL ALIVE, AND ON THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT'S MOST WANTED LIST FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY ALONG WITH MANY OTHER TERRORISTS AROUND THE WORLD. Since I have been a member of this organization I have become a member of their TRI program, as well as the Legacy Scholarship Fund. I am also a graduate student at the University of North Texas, where I personally met and have remained in contact with formerly abducted child soldiers and night commuters... people who were severely impacted and traumatized by this war. Every $ I have spent helped put children through schools (as well as build/rebuild them), created jobs, and helped rehabilitate and rescue child soldiers and victims of war. My efforts, as well as the efforts of thousands have helped end night commuting (again, you can research this anywhere) and eliminate displacement camps in Uganda (research this too), where people were dying of hunger and illness every day. The LRA had been destroying Uganda for over 20 years, and if it hadn't been for this organization spreading awareness about this crisis, if it hadn't been for these young filmmakers pushing so many people to help, there would not be peace and our U.S. leaders would not have lifted a finger to help. Here's why so many people didn't get their kit (and why I declined a refund): I personally knew this organization was run almost entirely by volunteers and "roadies" (people traveling the country as well as Central Africa spreading awareness and helping). A warehouse of volunteers were responsible for putting together DVDs, shipping packages of Bracelets created by former victims of war in Africa, as well as other shirts that were printed and sold by order. I ordered plenty of merchandise for events knowing every dollar would go straight to their cause, and it was shipped on time, every time. THIS ORGANIZATION DID NOT EXPECT FOR KONY 2012 TO GO VIRAL OVERNIGHT. MILLIONS of people across the country ordered kits, and the demand was so high, they obviously ran out pretty quick. On top of that, their servers crashed, and millions of orders were not submitted. To make things worse, the three passionate filmmakers whose only dream was to change the world were now being attacked by thousands of skeptics who accused them of scamming and lying to about a very real, ongoing WAR in Central Africa. This led to Jason Russell's very public mental breakdown. Imagine seeing all the hurtful comments and taking all of that abuse after spending your entire adult life fighting for a cause now everyone believes is a lie? If you've read this much, I hope you realize I'm just a normal person... I've read all of the reviews and am frankly tired of it. Invisible Children has nothing to hide, it has a 4 star rating, and is backed by international organizations all over the world. Take that into consideration before spouting off simply because you never got your kit, or because you've read comments mostly based on opinion, and read some statistics you don't fully understand because you've never taken a statistics or accounting class.
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I have been researching charities and discovered Invisible Children is not even registered with the BBB!! I never did end up donating to this charity and feel their ratings are unbalanced with the facts???
Review from CharityNavigator
Only 31% of their money actually goes to help anyone and by help I mean given to the Ugandan army, where Kony probably does not live now. The rest lines the pockets of the 3 who own the organisation. They spent 1,000,000 in travel expenses in a year and the rest on film making which makes more money. I have not been able to cancel my recurring payment through every channel they have for several months short of cancelling my card. God forbid if you gave them your routing number. I'd like to see a multi state class action suit against these fraudsters.
Review from CharityNavigator
Like so many others I donated for the Kony April 22nd.event. I gave and recieved nothing after waiting and waiting and waiting. In July I started to e-mail. Response from Stay Classy redirected to IC. IC sent and apologetic,"Overwhelming response, blah blah, trying to fill orders, blah blah. Please accept these 2 teeshirts (was supposed to be in the package anyway) just indicate size blah blah.) Response to that email was "This emal is No longer accepting emails!". I dont want the damn tee shirts. My grandchildren did after seeing the videos and reading about this. They were bought to tears and had their eyes opened to reality as far as innocent children suffering and how grateful they are for their blessings. They couldnt wait to "jump on the band wagon" and start fundraising. Are you kidding me? They are young adults with great hearts and they were bamboozled. So for now they are sticking to AIDS, cancer and diabetes organizations that are well established and hopefully accountable to us schmucks. To end, I have just 2 more things. One being has anyone taken by IC done a BBB complaint or FTC or even Attorney General of their states? It cost nothing. Lastly, I dont want the danm teeshirts. I wanted HONESTY!
Review from CharityNavigator
Dodgy that I purchased a KONY2012 action pack for curiosity and I received nothing. At one point I questioned their staff in regards to their legitimacy and was told that they could not unveil details as to where my $$$ went - take a look at the site WordswithMeaning! Kony2012 and you'll see exactly where your hard earned cash disappeared to
Hi Markus! My name is Brianne, and I am a full-time volunteer with Invisible Children. I definitely want to make sure that you are taken care of in the best way, and I am so sorry that you did not receive a kit! I'd love to speak with you further about this and get your concerns resolved. You can give our team a call at 619-562-2799 or email the customer service team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I purchased a Kony 2012 promotional item through the Invisible Children website several weeks ago. In the meantime, a financial situation arose that forced me to make the decision to cancel my order. I followed the directions on the Invisible Children website in regards to cancelling my order and did not receive a reply. I sent THREE requests to Invisible Children to have my order cancelled and did not receive a reply to any of these requests. A few days ago, I received an email saying that my order had shipped. I (once again) contacted Invisible Children, expressing my amazement that the order that I asked to be cancelled THREE times had been shipped out to me. I finally received a response from Invisible Children, who said that now that the order has shipped, they can no longer cancel it and will not accept the return of my order. How convenient is it that NONE of my requests to cancel my order were replied to, but I received an almost instant email reply from Invisible Children after my order was shipped and they can no longer cancel it. I feel that I have been cheated out of my money. The organization keeps making excuses for their behaviour by saying that they are a small non-profit organization that is ill-equipped to deal with the huge demand for product that they saw after the production of the Kony 2012 video, but as someone who has volunteered for even smaller non-profit organizations, I find this excuse offensive to the small non-profits out there who respect their donors and run in an honest, upfront way. I do not reccommend that you donate to Kony 2012. There are plenty of other charitable organizations that aim to improve the situation in Uganda, the Congo and other countries touched by the LRA that do not cheat their donors out of money and are more organized and run more responsibly. What an utter disappointment.
Hi Stacey, my name is Brianne and I am a full time volunteer with Invisible Children. I am so sorry for this negative experience you have had with donating to our organization. I know that you have had a very difficult time getting a hold of us and that the delay has caused further financial hardship in your life. For that, I am truly sorry. I want to make sure we do whatever we can to help you and get you what you need. In the past 2 months, we have done some major restructuring and have created a new team to help you with any issues you have. They are called the Engagement Team, and you can reach them from 9 to 5 on business days at 619-562-2799x218. We hope to hear from you and serve you soon!
Invisible Children is a new kind of charity. No not all the the money raised is going straight to Africa. They do spend a fair amout of money on their film making, however the impact that is last video has made is like nothing i have ever seen before. Not many people knew of Invisible Children before Kony 2012, but if you do your reseach they have been trying to get this information out for years now and with many videos and events... Kony 2012 happend to be their "jackpot" video. They are trying to target a younger generation and targeting them through social media. I can't tell you how suprised i was to see on my facebook people uploading this video. NONE of the money donated goes to the Ugandas military, while Invisible Children is supportive of their military they do NOT support them with the money that is donated. If you go to their website they have put everything out there given the recent critisim on their organization. They are not a scam, they are good people trying to make a difference in the lives of many children in Africa. The internet is a wonderful tool. Educate yourself.