Every Christmas My Giving To The Salvation Army Makes Me Smile.

My tale. I rarely give to nonprofits, especially when the salaries of many of the administrators/managers are wholly out of proportion to the people they help.

I have had personal experience with the Salvation Army.  Not during a disaster or event, where I think they do an exceptional job, but in a more personal way.

After the military I was saving every penny for schooling, yet loved to travel.  I stayed at Y's, youth hostels, and The Salvation Army.  Generally, Y's and hostels were a bit expensive for me (What can you do on a $5 a week entertainment budget?), so I frequently stayed at The Salvation Army.  Baltimore, Montreal, Chicago, Calgary, Seattle, among others.  About $0.25 a night back then if memory serves.  But, no questions asked and a clean bed and hot breakfast and you and what little possessions you had were safe.

Later, working as a research associate at the Michigan Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit, and living in lower working class housing while doing so, I learned about the economics of nonprofits.  The director of the MCF earned, without doing any research, about 200x my salary and had country club memberships and a residence paid for by the foundation.  Yep: it was eye opening.

But it sensitized me to the salary abuse in non-profits.  I looked into the Salvation Army, and it seems better than most in spending their funds actually helping people.

I smile and thank the bell-ringers while giving them some change, but always directly give a hefty donation at the end of the year.

Think about it.
GTR1400 GTR1400
61-65, M
1 Response Nov 27, 2012

I wish that my experience with Salvation Army was as positive. In Corpus Christi, Texas I stayed in their family area for about three weeks with two young babies. The rule was that you were supposed to be gone during the day. Well, my son got sick and I had no other place to go and it was raining. They would not make any exceptions. I sat at a local park under a somewhat covered area with my kids in the rain. My son ended up with RSV and in the hospital.

I also watched workers go through donations and take all that they wanted home, while those that lived in their shelters were not allowed to touch those donations.

When I donate, I donate to my local women's shelter, because I know for a fact that all donations go to the women and children and they would never let a young woman with sick kids sit out in the rain.

That is sad and should never have happened to you and your son.

Thank you for reminding me that there are those with other needs that require more and different caring. Perhaps I need to look into woman's shelters in my area and donate.

It is only by the help of good people that I have the good life that I do.

I have to commend them for the work they do with men though. They do a lot for veterans in the community, homeless men, and the elderly. I just wouldn't suggest families to go there.