Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ways to Help in Africa – Why I’m Not Giving Invisible Children My Money

 

Via

The Internet has EXPLODED with the Invisible Children’s new video campaign. Everywhere I look I see people talking about KONY 2012. (If for some reason you haven’t seen the video yet, you can watch it here.) This is of course exactly what the people behind Invisible Children intended – to open the world’s eyes to what is really going on around them. How easy is it for us to forget how lucky and blessed we really are? How lucky am I that I am snuggled warm in bed with a cup of tea on my nightstand as I type away these words?

Very lucky indeed.

I think KONY 2012 is a great way to spread awareness. I think it is an extremely smart and powerful strategy to get young people to rise up against the horrors that occur in this world of ours. I really do think it is a good thing that they are doing. I really do think the world needs to make Joseph Kony Famous.

But after doing my research, I’m not going to give Invisible Children my money. Don’t get me wrong, I was totally and completely moved by their video. Really. I was violently bawling pretty much the entire time I watched it, and immediately afterwards began planning in my head ways to organize the “Cover the night” campaign here in Frankfurt. I had their “Starter Action Kit” In my shopping cart and was ready to buy, but I decided I should do more research first – frankly, I just like to know where my money is going before I give it away.

Invisible Children scores 2 stars out of 4 on CharityNavigator, mainly because of the way they spend their money. Last year they made $8,894,630.00 and only 37.14% of that went to active programs in Africa.

Graphic

Breakdown of Invisible Children’s Expenses, Provided on Their Website.

I am not hating on Invisible Children – not at all, actually. The fact that they are spending so much of their resources ($3,860,155.00 for awareness programs, awareness products, and media & film creation – 43.24%) on getting the word out is the reason why so many people are ready to take a stand and make a difference. That’s a good thing.

But I’m choosing to let Invisible Children take care of the awareness and advocacy part, and give my money to a charity that puts the majority of their efforts and resources into directly helping the people of Africa where they need help the most.

Charities Operating in Central Africa with High Scores on Charity Navigator

  • Africare
    -
    4/4 star rating
    - 94% of resources fund programs in central Africa.
    - Focus: HIV/AIDS Relief, Water & Agriculture Improvement, Education, Social/Humanitarian Aid.
  • Camfed USA
    - 4/4 star rating
    - 94.5% of resources fund programs in central Africa
    - Focus: Education and empowerment of women in Africa
  • Children of the Nations
    - 4/4 star rating
    - 86.9% of resources fun programs in central Africa
    - Focus: Care and Education of Children

    These charities do not have beautifully made videos or incredible PR campaigns, but they’re doing a lot to help those in desperate need.

    Am I saying you shouldn’t support Invisible Children? No, please support them if you feel it’s right! Wear their products, hang up their fliers and let the world know about what’s happening. Absolutely share their video through social media – it’s free! AWARENESS IS IMPORTANT, and they are doing a good thing even if they’re not using all their money to do it. However if you find yourself in a giving mood one of these days and you’re still thinking about the lives of African people and how they can be improved, consider donating time or money to a charity that uses the vast majority of their funds to directly offer service, care and support.

    Or you could always volunteer abroad, yourself! Volunteers for Peace offers long and short term programs in Africa (and all over the world!) and it’s surprisingly affordable.

via

18 comments:

Alyx said...

I saw that same thing.
Pretty sure if I had money to give, I wouldn't give it to them. The videos and stuff are important and raise awareness, but I'd like my money to DO something rather than tell people to do something.

Heather B {dreaming big} said...

Here is Invisible's Children's response to this and other critiques. Something further to chew on...http://s3.amazonaws.com/www.invisiblechildren.com/critiques.html

Nicole Marie said...

I agree... I'm doing everything I can to promote awareness through their video but I didn't buy the kit yet although I might so I can participate in spreading awareness by hanging posters... but as far as finically supporting them otherwise I think I'm going with another charity.

Kylie said...

Thanks for posting this! It's so good to hear a more balanced view. I feel like there is so much controversy now that the point is being missed. Personally, I shared the video, which is good, like you said, to bring awareness. But I was also hesitant to donate directly to them. There are many ways we can help, but it's always good to do our research. I'm going to link to this post on my blog.

Elizabeth and Kyle @ Love Is the Adventure said...

Thanks for bringing this up. I'd been seeing the Invisible Children talked about a lot in the last couple days but I hadn't had time to do the research yet. I appreciate this post a great deal.

Rae said...

Good points, this is a great post thank you. It also gave me insight on how many other charities and movements I could give my money too, I found this very inspring video that explains how we are a network of people and so many groups are being made to help people become aware of some of the sick truths in this world, I'll post the link here, it would be good for all of us to find where we want to put our heart and our money, find our place and start becoming active in the change we wish to see.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-9GqB3XRS0&feature=related

Kristina said...

Great post - I also think awareness is important and I also believe if we all raise our voice together it can and will be heard! but I am also not giving money to invisible children - 37% is simply not enough! I am already donating money to other organizations which make better use of it. Nonetheless I support the Kony2012 campaign and spread the word!

Anonymous said...

Hanging posters is vandalism unless you get permission, so please either get permission or don't hang them. Cities have to pay to clean them up. Let's please not create one problem here close to home while trying to fix one abroad.

intowestafrica said...

The main point of the Kony 2012 campaign was not to gather donations but to create awareness and I think they succeeded more than even they could have imagined.

If you want your money to be spent in Africa then perhaps, no, Invisible Children isn't the charity to donate to. However, it's important to remember the spoken word, awareness & compassion can be valued just as much as what money can buy, maybe even more. Perhaps that is reason enough to donate.

Let's not forget, even if 100% of the money makes it to the ground in Africa there is room for it to be misspent. I live in West Central Africa and I see what happens to money here and even under the best of intentions, it doesn't always make it where you'd like it. Unfortunately, many of the countries here are more corrupt than you can imagine and you have to buy your way in even when it's concerning donations and assistance.

Katie said...

it's actually 3 out of 4 stars... I looked at the rating. Check your facts, but I do agree with most of what you're saying, as well as I agree with raising awareness

Aubrey Perkins said...

It is great to get involved anyway you can. I live in a village for children with HIV/AIDS located in Uganda, and like intowestafrica said, there is a serious problem of financial corruption in this culture as well as all around the world. Overall, Invisible Children is a great way to get people mobilizing. To see that over 5 million dollars went to central African programs and awareness is an incredible feat in itself. I think it is well worth $30 to support the staff that accomplishes these things.

Aubrey Perkins said...

It is great to get involved anyway you can. I live in a village for children with HIV/AIDS located in Uganda, and like intowestafrica said, there is a serious problem of financial corruption in this culture as well as all around the world. Overall, Invisible Children is a great way to get people mobilizing. To see that over 5 million dollars went to central African programs and awareness is an incredible feat in itself. I think it is well worth $30 to support the staff that accomplishes these things.

Kelli Diane said...

Thank you for sharing this! I have really struggeled with the right words about this and I think you hit the nail on the head! What they are doing is an awesome thing but after some research I also chose not to spend my money with them.

Jenny said...

Thank you for sharing this!

I watched the video and shared it because I agree, it raises awearness! But I would give my money to a different charity!

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