Saturday, January 14, 2012

Crisis of Charity

For nearly two years, the American Cancer Society's charity endurance athlete program, "DetermiNation," has been an important part of my life. I have raised money for it through at least one endurance event each year, I have discovered my love of half and full marathons through the program, I have made wonderful friends, I have taken joy in spending my time giving back rather than focusing {even more} on myself, and I have felt that I am contributing to a cause very dear to my heart - the fight against cancer.

I have recently discovered through Charity Navigator, however, that the American Cancer Society devotes more than the recommended 25% of its income to overhead expenses. At 28% it is only slightly over the generally accepted limit for an efficient charity, however, even 25% is pushing it in my opinion.

I cannot in good faith continue to ask my friends and family to donate to an organization that, while it does significant good, will not administer their donations as efficiently as possible. I have already attended one event hosted by the St. Louis area DetermiNation chapter at which I learned that their numbers for the upcoming Go! St. Louis Marathon and Half are considerably lower than their expectations. I feel guilty to not pledge myself to run on their team, but knowing that I wouldn't feel comfortable fundraising, how could I? As I am registered to run the race, I feel that I cannot continue to attend DetermiNation meetings knowing that they need more runners on their team, but that I refuse to be one of those runners.

Have any of you experienced such a crisis of charity? Do you have other recommendations for a charity I can get involved with in the Midwest -- giving back is so important to me and I don't want to let that go, just because I am moving on from the ACS.

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