With Charity for All: Why Charities Are Failing and a Better Way to Give

With Charity for AllWith Charity for All: Why Charities Are Failing and a Better Way to Give by Ken Stern

HV 91 .S649 2013

“Each year, two thirds of American households donate to charities, with charitable revenues exceeding one trillion dollars. Yet while the mutual-fund industry employs more than 150,000 people to rate and evaluate for-profit companies, nothing remotely comparable exists to monitor the nonprofit world. Instead, each individual is on his or her own, writing checks for the cause and going on faith. Ken Stern, former head of NPR and a long-time nonprofit executive, set out to investigate the vast world of U.S. charities and discovered a sector hobbled by deep structural flaws. Unlike private corporations that respond to market signals and go out of business when they fail, nonprofit organizations have a very low barrier to entry (the IRS approves 99.5 percent of applications), answer to often naive and far-removed donors, and once established rarely die. From water charities aimed at improving life in Africa to drug education programs run by police officers in thousands of U.S. schools, and including American charitable icons such as the Red Cross, Stern tells devastating stories of organizations that raise and spend millions of dollars without ever cracking the problems they set out to solve.

But he also discovered some good news: a growing movement toward accountability and effectiveness in the nonprofit world. With Charity for All is compulsively readable, driven in its early pages by the plight of millions of Americans donating to good causes to no good end, and in its last chapters by an inspiring prescription for individual giving and widespread reform.” – publisher description

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