People doubt non-profit group ethics; no kidding!

Just this a.m. I was reading an article about how Catholic Charities was letting down Hispanics in Chicago here.   Ho hum, so what else is new.  But that isn’t what got my attention, it was a comment by someone responding to the story who was directing readers to this May 2009 report from Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.

Entitled “Ethics and Non-profits,” it talks about the erosion of confidence in for-profit businesses and the virtually equal erosion of public confidence in the non-profit sector.  Here are a couple of paragraphs.

Employee surveys similarly suggest that many American workplaces fail to foster a culture of integrity. Results vary but generally indicate that between about one-quarter and three-quarters of employees observe misconduct, only about half of which is reported. In the 2007 National Nonprofit Ethics Survey, slightly more than half of employees had observed at least one act of misconduct in the previous year, roughly the same percentages as in the for-profit and government sectors. Nearly 40 percent of nonprofit employees who observed misconduct failed to report it, largely because they believed that reporting would not lead to corrective action or they feared retaliation from management or peers.

Public confidence in nonprofit performance is similarly at risk. A 2008 Brookings Institution survey found that about one third of Americans reported having “not too much” or no confidence in charitable organizations, and 70 percent felt that charitable organizations waste “a great deal” or a “fair amount” of money. Only 10 percent thought charitable organizations did a “very good job” spending money wisely; only 17 percent thought that charities did a “very good job” of being fair in decisions; and only one quarter thought charities did a “very good job” of helping people. Similarly, a 2006 Harris Poll found that only one in 10 Americans strongly believed that charities are honest and ethical in their use of donated funds. Nearly one in three believed that nonprofits have “pretty seriously gotten off in the wrong direction.” These public perceptions are particularly troubling for nonprofit organizations that depend on continuing financial contributions.

My suggestion to all readers who wish to help refugees and immigrants, do it privately.  Find a local family and help them directly.  Most of the agencies (not all, but most) of the agencies ostensibly helping new immigrants have become primarily political organizations with substantial taxpayer funding to boot–avoid them! 

Here is a list to help you get started figuring out which to avoid.

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