I would like to welcome a new employee to Operation Kids whose background and expertise, represents everything we are about. The prospect of bringing greater accountability to charitable giving, is something that we have to work at every single day, and Christopher Lindsay, our new Senior Charity Analyst, helps our mission in several important ways.
Christopher joins us from his most recent post at the Electrical Safety Foundation International where he was Director of Programs. Prior to that, he served under the previous administration in the lead White House office for nonprofit policy issues. While there, his responsibilities included evaluating the results of Federal programs focused on mentoring, substance abuse recovery and prisoner re-entry. In addition, he played a pivotal role analyzing data and reporting trends on over 25,000 nonprofits who partnered with the government in providing social services – representing billions of dollars.
This experience is unique and we are fortunate to find someone with such a background. One of our primary goals at Operation Kids is to refine the process of vetting and managing charitable giving. We often ask the question of donors, “Do you know where your last charitable gift went?” The answer is typically, “Yes, it went to (name of charity here)!” But when the question is more directed, and we ask donors if they know where it went within the organization – to which program or which part of the organization, the response is far too often, ”I don’t really know.”
America is the most generous nation on earth – giving well over $3 billion to charity last year alone – and we give despite a general lack of trust when it comes to large charitable organizations. I have cited before the recent statistic that only 1 in 10 Americans “trusts” major charities. That is troublesome on its face and mystifying when we realize people have a need to give back, despite expressed concerns with where their giving may ultimately end up. It makes me wonder how many more people would give – and how donations might be even more generous, if they had confidence in what their money was doing and who it was helping.
This is exactly WHY we as an organization are here. And it is why we are thrilled to have someone like Christopher on our team asking the “hard questions.” I am thrilled when I consider the direct benefit this is going to have for donors and charities alike, as we are further able to provide a better understanding of how donors’ dollars are put to use and what kind of impact it has.
We have said for a long time now that when it comes to giving, caring is only part of the process. In addition to that, there must be analysis, there must be expectations and there must be accountability. It can be done. We have seen it in New Orleans, in post-tsunami Thailand and in virtually every state in the nation. It is a contagious attitude because once you see what can be done when all of a gift makes it to the child in need, you will insist on that efficiency from then on. I can promise you, we will continue in its commitment to deliver those elements to caring donors.