Archive for December 12th, 2006

MADD Under Fire

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

As I've posted repeatedly in the past, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a self-serving bureaucracy focused equally on Prohibition and cash.

According to their own IRS statements, the U.S. organization alone brings in over $50 million a year in contributions — and, according to watchdog Charity Navigator, has a low 2-star efficiency rating (the Director of Program and Development, for example, is paid $152,408 a year).

It would appear that MADD's sister organization to the north is similarly oriented:

MADD Rejects 'Disgruntled' Critics

Charity's CEO dismisses volunteers' complaints that so little of donations go to programs

Toronto, Dec. 10 — MADD Canada's top official has called a group of relatives of drunk driving victims who complained about his charity "disgruntled" and lashed out at the Star for exposing its high fundraising and administrative costs…

A story published in the Saturday Star revealed that Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada has such high costs that only about 19 cents of every dollar goes to victim services and the fight against drunk driving. In addition to a detailed analysis of MADD's financial records, the story was based on interviews with leading volunteers of MADD who all work with the charity because they lost a loved one to a drunk driver. The volunteers believe in the counselling and public awareness work of their local chapters but agreed to speak out against the charity's administration to force a change and restore confidence in what was once a low-cost, grassroots charity.

In his news release, (MADD CEO Andrew) Murie dismissed their complaints and said they are "obviously disgruntled with the organization."… Yesterday, more than 100 MADD donors contacted the Star to say they had been suspicious of MADD's fundraising practices due to the high volume of telemarketing calls and other fundraising contacts they receive, sometimes monthly. MADD has numerous paid fundraising campaigns, using paid telemarketers, a company that sends people knocking on doors, a direct mail company and a company that distributes chocolate mint boxes around the province.

"I am absolutely furious at reading what MADD is doing with donors' dollars," said Joyce Williamson, 77, a widow who has made frequent $25 donations to MADD for many years. When she learned from the Star article that so little of her cheque was going to charitable works, she decided not to give to MADD again. She said MADD's paid door and phone canvassers used "emotional blackmail" by pressing her on the phone or at the door with numerous stories of drunk driving fatalities.

The Star's story revealed that telemarketers work off a script that encourages them to press prospective donors three successive times after the person has said "no." The Star's investigation found the paid fundraisers take most of the money, and send the remainder to head office.

And the "War on Drunk Driving" goes on… (Thanks to Stephen Biss of Mississauga, Ontario.)

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