Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Charity Assessment: MediSend International, Miracle Foundation, Direct Relief International, Invisible Children

Posted by Michael Dickens on June 20, 2010

Edit: My charity assessments are grossly inaccurate. See Doing the Most Good for more information, and see http://www.givewell.org/ for accurate charity evaluations.

When deciding how best to help people, it is important that we consider our priorities. It is because of this that I will be assessing several charities and trying to determine which one does the most good. There are thousands of charities out there, and this is only a short list, so further research will of course be necessary.

Charity Navigator, a site that evaluates charities based on organizational efficiency and organizational capacity, placed MediSend International as one of its top-rated charities. It works as a “humanitarian organization that supports under resourced hospitals in developing countries with a multi-dimensional approach to improving community health.” The organization primarily works by taking donations of medical supplies and distributing them to where necessary. They didn’t have any information (that I saw) about where the monetary donations were going, but if you donate medical supplies then you know exactly how much the supplies cost.

The Miracle Foundation provides humanitarian aid to impoverished children living in orphanages by providing them with food, water, medical, care, more comfortable living conditions, and more. It appears that the most direct measure of the benefit of this charity is their Sponsor a Child program. For $1200 a year, you can provide a children with everything he or she needs. This is considerably more than the costs associated with some other charities out there (such as last month’s winner, Charity: Water). However, unlike Charity: Water, this organization provides a full range of benefits. Also, one must consider that the contributions go to orphaned children; children require more sustenance than adults, and have a greater capacity for suffering. It’s worth spending a little more on them.

According to Forbes, Direct Relief International has 100% fundraising efficiency, and scores very well financially on nearly every benchmark. Donations help supply medical care to those in need. I haven’t found anything about the cost of this medical care, although I would think it tends to be pretty high.

Invisible Children is an organization dedicated to ending the use of child soldiers in Northern Uganda. This cause is more emotionally wrenching than the others, and indeed it is the most extraordinary. They have several programs, including a scholarship program ($420/year) and this thing called Tri which they are really vague about.

The contributions of these organizations are less clear-cut than those from last time around, but the results are interesting nonetheless. I’ll probably tackle some more in the future; but until then, think about it.

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One Response to “Charity Assessment: MediSend International, Miracle Foundation, Direct Relief International, Invisible Children”

  1. Lisa Dirks said

    Michael, Thanks for the mention of The Miracle Foundation. We are working hard to empower our kids and genuinely appreciate your assessment of our efforts. Here is a bit more info about our programs:

    Edited to remove advertisement. -Michael

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