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Carriers Delay Paying Japan's Texting Donations 235

Posted by timothy
from the nickel-and-diming-but-in-yen dept.
Julie188 writes "As the fallout from the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown tragedy continues to unfold, Americans want to help. We learned from the Haiti disaster that the easiest thing to do is to text a donation to our favorite relief organization. But, unlike Haiti, Japan's text-to-give donations will take as long as three months to get to the relief agency. And the company handling these donations, mGive.com, has not waived the transaction fees it charges relief agencies."
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Carriers Delay Paying Japan's Texting Donations

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  • Surprised? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nimloth (704789) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:05PM (#35601408)

    And the company handling these donations, mGive.com, has not waived the transaction fees it charges relief agencies.

    These companies profit from situations like this. This is their business case. What did you expect?

    • by nomadic (141991)
      Agreed; this was a really confusing accusation.
    • Re:Surprised? (Score:4, Informative)

      by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:10PM (#35601498)

      Just because you profit when you help someone, does not mean you have to be an ass about it, and delay the contributions by three months. [edit] Just noticed mGive is a NON-profit.

      I see Microsoft had to apologize too:
      "Microsoft apologizes for using Japan disaster to market Bing"
      http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/microsoft-apologizes-using-japan-disaster-mar [networkworld.com]

      • Re:Surprised? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@@@gmail...com> on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:16PM (#35601600) Homepage
        Right, so the accusation that they're unduly delaying the donations is a valid one. However, the accusation that they're following their business model, is not. Now you can criticize the business model as a whole on moral grounds if you wish, but arguing that they should waive the charge in this specific case makes no sense.
      • Re:Surprised? (Score:4, Informative)

        by demonlapin (527802) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:21PM (#35601704) Homepage Journal
        The delay is from the carrier, not mGive. Hardly surprising that mGive isn't going to process transactions for free (they have bills too), nor that they're going to wait until they actually get the money to send it on to the charities. Just because you service not-for-profit corporations (and mind you, "not for profit" just means that there aren't shareholders to get a share of the coin, not that nobody makes any money) doesn't mean you don't have to make money to stay alive.
        • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Intron (870560) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:48PM (#35602132)

          There are three parties involved here:

          charity like RedCross, etc - have not requested expedited funds according to mGive.

          mGive - is just the conduit from the wireless company to the charity. They are non-profit but supported by a transaction fee. Its unlikely they have enough cash sitting around to give expedited payments.

          Wireless company - Verizon, etc. They don't send the payment to mGive until you pay your wireless bill. Otherwise they are making a loan to the charity with no collateral. They DO have the cash, tho.

          With the money having to take 3 steps to get from you to the charity, 30-90 days is still quick.

          • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by characterZer0 (138196) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:00PM (#35602308)

            With the money having to take 3 steps to get from you to the charity, 30-90 days is still quick.

            90 days was quick in the days of the Pony Express.

            In the days of 500ms ping times around the world, 90 days in incredibly slow. I understand that the money is not there until you pay your wireless bill, but that is 45 days or less, so anything over 50 days is very slow.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            Which is why you should go to www.redcross.org, click the "DONATE" button in the upper right corner and fill out the required fields and donate directly to them. Or you can call them on this thing called a "phone"... 1-800 RED CROSS ( I guess that is too hard to remember), where someone helpful will answer and take your information.

            Getting the money to the organization in one step and not waiting 90 days is hugely important. The money is needed NOW (and continuing).

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        As far as I can tell mGive itself isn't non-profit. Here's what I found (though information is sparse, so I could be wrong):

        1. Mobile Accord is the parent for-profit corporation.
        2. mGive is a for-profit subsidiary of Mobile Accord.
        3. The mGive Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation created to certify other non-profit corporations to use the mGive platform.

        I'm not saying that mGive isn't a great idea even as a for-profit company (most mobile marketing companies are disgusting IMO), but it would be

    • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ProppaT (557551) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:12PM (#35601524) Homepage

      This is one of the reasons all the news outlets told people to wait until the smoke settled to donate to the relief effort. Profiteers sit around waiting for these types of disasters. Even if this isn't necessarily profiteer related, you should always know where your money is going when you donate and you never will with these "txt xxxxx to donate $10" numbers, unless they're spearheaded by someone like the Red Cross or another charity that has a plan outlined.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      And the company handling these donations, mGive.com, has not waived the transaction fees it charges relief agencies.

      These companies profit from situations like this. This is their business case. What did you expect?

      Mega Corpco - Helping people in need - just send us your donations and we'll eventually route them along, meanwhile being recognized for the fine work we've done. Thanks little nobody person for making it all possible. By the way, we get to write this PR campaign off, too. Great advertising, huh?

    • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GooberToo (74388) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:21PM (#35602688)

      Exactly.

      People are also suffering from massive ignorance about how things work here too. Firstly, texting DOES NOT donate money. Period. End of discussion. Texting actually PLEDGES to donate. Your carrier will never release uncollected funds based on a pledge, to which they legally could hope to recover transaction fees (which is far less than the pledge).

      So, once you pledge, via texting, that's all you've done. You've not actually donated any money. When you pay your billing, at the end of the billing cycle in which you pledged money, you actually have the option to fulfill your pledge. After the money is collected, your carrier will likely pay their collections at the end of their billing cycle. So right there, you're very reasonably out 30-60-days out.

      Once your carrier releases their funds, you're now looking at roughly another thirty days before that party actually gets organized, commits, and releases the funds to the cause.

      Also, what appears to be part of the confusion is traditionally, when you donate to a cause, you are not actually donating to a cause. Traditionally, you are donating to an organization in the name of a cause; whereby, the organization is free to do what it likes with the money it receives. So long as they donate something to the cause, they have fulfilled their legal obligation. This is true even with major non-profits like Red Cross.

      What also seems like a likely source of confusion is non-profit does not mean what most people believe it means. For whatever reason people tend to associate non-profit as being the preferred form of company for these types of things because all of their money goes toward the underlying cause. Realistically, nothing could be father from the truth. A non-profit only requires their profits to be re-invested into the corporation. That doesn't mean employees work cheaply or even for fair market prices. That doesn't mean executives are not paid huge salaries and receive massive bonuses and benefits. In fact, many non-profits donate exceptionally little to their causes, frequently as little as 10%-20% of their income. IIRC, with Red Cross, as much as 60-70% (I'm pretty fuzzy on that number but the point is, a good chunk does help others) of what is donated actually helps people outside of the Red Cross organization.

      Really this article should be called, "Damn you Net-30!"

  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:06PM (#35601414)
    So we should text F' You! to mGive.com?
  • Uhm, I thought the same thing happened for Haiti. Wasn't that why people on the news were advising against texting in donations?

  • Shouldn't surprise you, a corporation has no reason to be ethical in a relief situation. Everyone can point at everyone else in the corporation, and still all reap some nice profits.
    • Shouldn't surprise you, a corporation has no reason to be ethical in any situation.

      FTFY

      • Shouldn't surprise you, a corporation has no reason to be ethical in any situation unless it boosts revenues.

        FTFY

        FTFY

    • Somewhere, lurking behind this decision, is a substantial personal performance bonus.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Shouldn't surprise you, a corporation has no reason to be ethical in a relief situation. Everyone can point at everyone else in the corporation, and still all reap some nice profits.

      Yep, the interest the collection while sitting on your donation should give you further warm fuzzies. Want money to go to a charity? Go directly to the charity website, local office or mail them a donation. Corporate cooperation with charity gives them some sort of PR for being a middle-man. Sounds rather indecent when looked at that way, doesn't it?

      • by CFTM (513264)

        This reminds me very much of what I saw occur following the financial meltdown; suddenly every major retail outlet I shopped at was soliciting donations for the latest fad. At the end of every transaction at stores like Safeway and Target, I would be asked if I wanted to donate $2 to breast cancer awareness or prostate cancer awareness. And when I'd say no, invariably the clerk behind the register would give me a dirty look.

        At the end of the day, I'm not so interested in giving my money to Safeway so that

        • by N3Roaster (888781)

          To be fair, it does make a lot of sense to do something like that if you're going to be getting a large number of small dollar amount donations. There are costs associated with processing a donation and it's a lot cheaper for the charity to process a single $2M donation than 1M $2 donations. A retailer collecting that along with a purchase will have most of those costs to make the sale anyway. Doing it this way also provides a way to do that charitable donation as something like an impulse purchase, probabl

      • by bws111 (1216812)

        The 'delay' seems to be the time between someone texting a donation, and the time the carriers give the money to mGive. The guy from mGive says that is 30 days. Are you suggesting that the carriers are earning interest on a text message? Until you pay your bill the carrier does not have the money, so they are not earning interest. It seems like what you really expect is the carriers to make an interest-free loan to mGive on your behalf, until such time as you get around to paying your bill. If you want

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:09PM (#35601476)

    the easiest thing to do is to text a donation to our favorite relief organization

    Why would any true geek text a donation? We're geeks. We want what's most EFFECTIVE, not what's easiest.

    • Even geeks are lazy. If 'easier' results in more donations it is more effective.

    • by Duradin (1261418)

      I would say "true" geeks want convoluted and esoteric over effective.

      • by idontgno (624372)
        "True" geeks want the Right Thing, whether convoluted or simple. Effectiveness is part of the measure of Rightness, but hack value and elegance counts. As well as relative ease. We are lazy, after all. (My personal philosophy is to emulate the noble Lion: sleep 23 hours, and then eat whatever the huntresses have caught.)
    • Huh? So, I guess texting $10 for aid relief made less sense than Googling for some victimized survivor and mailing him a $10 bill? Besides volunteering your time, what would you consider more effective? The whole point of aid organizations is that they "organize aid."

    • by skids (119237)

      Because their pre-pay balance has accrued to a large number due to the fact that they always have to "top up" but don't have any friends to use minutes on.

      But then, Virgin's managed to break the 90999 shortcode anyway, so forget about it taking a long time, it doesn't even go through at all.

  • by Itesh (1901146) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:09PM (#35601478)
    I wish there would be greater disclosure about this and many other things. It can take up to 3 months for the US, but some other countries such as Latin America and Asian countries not called China and Japan it can take up to 6 months. In the EU, some people don't have to pay their bill monthly, there are quarterly and bi-annual billing cycles. It's a shame, because if there was full disclosure many people would have donated via another method. Hopefully all this exposure will get them to declare this a "crisis" and get the funds moving immediately.

    P.S. Please be careful when giving your child a cell phone, it's as easy to buy virtual goods with it as a credit card and companies like mine have no way of knowing that you have given it to your child. If you would like to block these types of purchases, contact your local wireless company and have them remove "Premium SMS" from your child's phone. I wish all wireless carriers were forced to disclose this whenever anyone purchases a "Family Plan".
    • by hedwards (940851)

      That's what I was wondering about. In order to give the money right now, the carriers would have to divert funds from elsewhere or take on debt to make it happen. The delay, or at least part of it, has to do with the time it takes them to collect the money that's been pledged. Then there's the time it takes to disburse the money and so it can easily take at least a month or two even without dragging ones feet.

      OTOH, with CC donations directly to the organization they get the money or or less immediately beca

      • I fail to really see the problem. Not everything can be free and mgive needs money to continue operating. If it takes the cell companies time to collect payment in the billing cycle, its going to take time for that money to get moved over. Why should the cell company or mgive front the costs? For mgive its likely they dont have the assets to do so if they wanted to. Would people rather have no corporations with the ability to processes stuff like this?
        • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

          Not everything can be free and mgive needs money to continue operating.

          Non-profits can take in money to continue operating. The difference is, if they have a surplus at the end of the year, they can't call it "profit" and award it as bonuses to their employees/shareholders.

          mGive.com is a for-profit organization.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:14PM (#35601570)

    I've had a problem in the past with the Red Cross because they do not segregate donations to specific causes (or, at least, they haven't in the past). That means that if you make a donation to the Red Cross for the Japanese disaster, that doesn't mean that your money necessarily even goes to Japanese relief. And if there is any left over after their (often very limited) efforts, it goes back into their coffers--irrespective of how it was supposed to be earmarked.

    My grandfather always used to tell me that he would die before he ever gave to the Red Cross. When he was in Korea, the Red Cross used to show up and sell soldiers coffee and donuts (at a profit, no less). No money meant no coffee and donuts for you, G.I.

    I'm not disparaging their work (I don't know enough to comment on that). I'm just saying that they need to be much more upfront with people about where their money is actually going.

    • This is of course the exact behavior that I prefer. I mean, you donate $300M to Haiti. Haiti is 70% stabilized in $120M, and it will take $20BN to make a full recovery. Now Chile gets hit; Chile is 70% stabilized in $150M, and they have $180M on hand BUT it's earmarked for Haiti. Red Cross knows the most effective way to use these funds is to immediately stabilize Chile, minimizing human life and livelihood loss in total; but it's not allowed to do so, and must wastefully spend money continuing to help
      • by nomadic (141991)
        "and must wastefully spend money continuing to help Haiti." I guarantee you that in terms of Haiti specifically any money you spend in excess of what is required to repair hurricane damage is money well-spent.
        • Probably people in Chile wouldn't agree with that sentiment. Limited resources means making tough choices.
          • by nomadic (141991)
            Chile has a functioning government and society. Haiti does not.
            • So does Japan. Does that mean we shouldn't help them? If you're arguing that all available support should be sent to the current most needing party, then you're going to go crazy trying to decide which tiny impoverished nation is currently the most screwed.
        • I like to use the magical 10/90 number, completely made up but the law of diminishing returns is what's illustrated.

          Let's say we implemented a different healthcare system than what we have. Instead of spending the money on an effective health insurance plan for everyone--a huge money sink--we spend the money on free clinics. So let's imagine this right?

          Let's say we outline this plan as follows: free clinics are non-OR and non-ER providers that perform check-ups, lab work, and prescription writing. Y

      • This is why you make two donations ... one for the specific disaster, and the other for the NEXT disaster (general fund).

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      I've had a problem in the past with the Red Cross because they do not segregate donations to specific causes (or, at least, they haven't in the past).

      After the tsunami in 2004 their web-site did allow you to earmark it specifically for that.

      I have seen them do this on other campaigns as well.

      Of course, that doesn't mean they use it all for the selected purpose or that it doesn't go into their general coffers afterwards.

    • by joelsherrill (132624) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:24PM (#35601762) Homepage

      My grandfather always used to tell me that he would die before he ever gave to the Red Cross. When he was in Korea, the Red Cross used to show up and sell soldiers coffee and donuts (at a profit, no less). No money meant no coffee and donuts for you, G.I.

      My grandfather was in WWII and had the same feelings for the Red Cross for the reason. Never heard anyone else mention it.

      • by similar_name (1164087) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:41PM (#35602044)
        My grandfather complains about everything.
      • by mcmonkey (96054)

        My grandfather always used to tell me that he would die before he ever gave to the Red Cross. When he was in Korea, the Red Cross used to show up and sell soldiers coffee and donuts (at a profit, no less). No money meant no coffee and donuts for you, G.I.

        My grandfather was in WWII and had the same feelings for the Red Cross for the reason. Never heard anyone else mention it.

        How many bees for a cup of coffee?

      • by mr_jrt (676485) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @04:50PM (#35604020) Homepage
        Good 'ol Snopes. http://www.snopes.com/medical/emergent/redcross.asp [snopes.com]

        "There is truth to one of the rumors, however. During WWII the American Red Cross did indeed charge American servicemen for coffee, doughnuts, and lodging. However, it did so because the U.S. Army asked it to, not because it was determined to make a profit off homesick dogfaces.

        The request was made in a March 1942 letter from Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson to Norman H. Davis, chairman of the American Red Cross. Because American soldiers were fighting as part of the Allied Forces, matters had to be considered on a Force-wide rather than solely American basis. The Red Cross was asked to establish club facilities for U.S. servicemen overseas where Allied troops would be welcome. Because English and Australian soldiers were being charged for the use of such facilities, it was deemed unfair that Americans were to get similar benefits for free, especially in light of their pay already being higher than that of their Allied counterparts. For the good of the alliance, the American Red Cross was persuaded to exact nominal charges from American GIs for off-base food and lodging."

        ...so they don't seem to deserve the bad rap.

    • For any large charity, there's a fair amount of staff and infrastructure to maintain. I'd be surprised if 50% of a donation makes it to the people in Japan.

    • by LurkerXXX (667952)

      I wasn't aware a function of the Red Cross was to give coffee and donuts to soldiers. I thought the army/navy/air force/marines were supposed to feed them.

      I thought the red cross was supposed to supply food/medicine in emergencies or to POWs. Wanting coffee and a donut is not an emergency.

      I don't put much stock in your grandfathers preferences there.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        What REALLY irked him was the fact that the Red Cross used the "We're helping out our boys over there!" type advertising to solicit donations back in the U.S. So they would ask people to give money to help them with their troop relief efforts, then turn around and charge the troops for that relief. Oddly enough, none of their advertising ever adopted the slogans like "We're helping out our boys over there, if they pay!"

        • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

          I'm pretty sure the "help" they were giving was more in the line of providing medical necessities. Selling coffee and donuts to the soldiers was probably considered fund-raising to help offset their real costs.

        • by JoeRobe (207552)

          The problem there is that the Red Cross should never have slogans along the lines of "we're helping our boys over there!" One of the central principles of the IFRCRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent) is that they are neutral, even if there is a clear moral right and wrong. This is more of a means to an end in the sense that it allows them to help as many people as possible. Because they don't support any specific side of a conflict, they can go into very dangerous areas and help ci

          • by elrous0 (869638) *

            I would be very curious to know how much the RC charges compared to the private companies. It might help them make their case a little better if they would publicize how much cheaper their blood is than the blood from the private market.

    • Coffee and Donuts (Score:5, Interesting)

      by StikyPad (445176) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:35PM (#35601940) Homepage

      The Red Cross sold coffee and donuts instead of giving them away to military personnel during World War II.
      This unfortunate policy came into being because service agencies in Britain helping British military personnel were less well-financed than the American Red Cross. Thus, these agencies were forced to charge British military members for the same items that American service members were getting free from the American Red Cross.

      To avoid further embarrassment to the British, who were playing host to thousands of U.S. troops, the U.S. Secretary of War requested that the American Red Cross begin charging American service members for such items as coffee and donuts in its canteens. The Red Cross interpreted this request as a wartime demand and complied so that it could continue aiding U.S. troops. However, the Red Cross sold items at or below cost and never profited a penny from these sales.

      Since the end of World War II, the American Red Cross has not charged military personnel -- not in the Korean, Vietnam, or Persian Gulf conflicts, for example.
      -- http://www.redcross.org [redcross.org]

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Well, according to grandpa they did it in Korea too, And I've heard a few other Korean vets echo that too, when I was growing up. He called the trucks that would bring them in "Donut Dollies" and was particularly pissed about his buddies who didn't have the money (he said he used to try to help them out unless he was broke too). He was still pissed about the whole thing decades later.

        • by StikyPad (445176)

          I certainly wasn't there, but I can think of several scenarios that might give the impression that the Red Cross was selling when they really were not:

          1) Independent operators who donated a portion of the proceeds to the Red Cross.
          2) Independent operators who posed as the Red Cross.
          3) The Red Cross themselves with a donation jar which was interpreted as obligatory.

          At any rate, the idea that they *were* selling things is not particularly insulting to me. The military provides 3 squares, as they say, and the

          • by elrous0 (869638) *

            As I indicated in another post, I think if was their dual nature as a charitable organization and (perceived) for-profit vendor that really irked him.

            And, yes, he could have been mistaken. But he seemed pretty adamant that it was actually the Red Cross running those trucks (and by "adamant" I mean don't get him started unless you wanted to hear him yelling for several minutes about where the Red Cross could stick their goddamn bloodmobile).

    • by Americano (920576)

      Why would you want to constrain their use of the funds to a single relief effort?

      Donor: "Hi Red Cross, here's $100 to use for the Japan earthquake relief."

      Red Cross: "Thanks for your donation. But you know, we've received SO MANY donations that we really don't have anything to spend the money on right now in that relief effort. But Myanmar was just hit with an earthquake, and we could really put that money to good use helping in some relief efforts there."

      Donor: "No, sorry. I gave for relief in Japan.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        That's fine as long as they're upfront about it. But they shouldn't tell people that their donation is going somewhere specific unless it's actually going there.

    • by Tenek (738297)

      My grandfather always used to tell me that he would die before he ever gave to the Red Cross. When he was in Korea, the Red Cross used to show up and sell soldiers coffee and donuts (at a profit, no less). No money meant no coffee and donuts for you, G.I.

      I'm not disparaging their work (I don't know enough to comment on that). I'm just saying that they need to be much more upfront with people about where their money is actually going.

      Ten seconds on Snopes; http://www.snopes.com/medical/emergent/redcross.asp [snopes.com]

      There is truth to one of the rumors, however. During WWII the American Red Cross did indeed charge American servicemen for coffee, doughnuts, and lodging. However, it did so because the U.S. Army asked it to, not because it was determined to make a profit off homesick dogfaces.

  • My favorite part... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:16PM (#35601618) Journal

    "Note, too, that when you typically text a donation, the organization receiving it has to pay a transaction fee which may or may not be passed along to you on your bill. The mGive Foundation is a non-profit, that charges nothing to certify a charity to the carriers. The carriers forward 100% of the donation amount to the charitable organization. But both the carrier and the similarly named "mGive.com" may still charge a transaction fee. mGive.com is a for-profit arm of the company Mobile Accord. It runs the technology involved in taking text donations (and performing other mobile fundraising campaigns for non-profits). In addition to setup fees and monthly fees it charges a per transaction fee of $0.35 + 3.5 %."

    So mGive Foundation - the one you'll probably find if you do an internet search, is a non-profit who will certify the charity and tell you that 100% of the donation goes to the cause, but mGive.com - a separate entity - is for profit and takes their cut off of the top, then forwarding the remaining "donation" to be sent along. Nice. I wonder which MBA thought that one up. Whoever he is, he's probably sitting on a beach somewhere safe, sipping a Mai Tai right now.

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:20PM (#35601672) Homepage Journal

    The day the Tsunami hit I scampered out the door to give a pint of blood. Later that day I thought of putting a item on an eBay auction to raise some fundage for American Red Cross. Ebay listing page allowed me to pick a charity and a percentage to go there. Wonderful. The listing was published and had a big banner about the Red Cross added to it.

    After the auction ended the trouble began. The buyer paid and I found the money sitting in my PayPal account, with their customary cut removed from it. WTF?!? I drop a note to PayPal that this must be some sort of error, the money should have gone straight to American Red Cross. No reply, typical.

    Then I get on the online support with someone and tell them about it and ask them to send the answer to my email (the one I provided) and again I get nothing. Bother.

    Finally over the weekend I spend 2.5 hours waiting through the queue for help by apparently the only on-line customer support person they had working (this smells like the business model: we have few complaints to our customer support so satisfaction must be nearly 100%, but I digress) It is finally explained to me that I had to set up a Mission Fish account first so the payment would have been routed to them. Excuse me? You let me list an item where 100% was to go to a registered charity, but didn't establish a precondition of publishing the listing that the Mission Fish account be set up first, while the charity logo and mission are splashed all over a listing - yet the payment for it can completely bypass the charity? Hello, this looks like enabling Donor Fraud.

    I finally have had enough of their stupidity and go over to American Red Cross website and donate directly, including the sum I received for the auctioned item. I'm beside myself with the stupidity of corporations, but with eBay this is nothing new. Since 1999 they've gone from good to bad to worse.

    Be wary of donating via eBay. No guarantee the funds you pay do go where you think.

    • Be wary of eBay

      FTFY

    • by randomaxe (673239)
      FWIW -- and please don't take this as a slight, as clearly your heart is in the right place -- donating blood is not as big a help as people tend to think it is when it comes to disasters that occur outside the US. That blood will not go to Japan. The expense of properly storing and transporting it overseas would make it impractical.

      That said, if you were donating blood for its own sake, good on you. Just know that if your goal is to aid the victims of a foreign disaster, making a monetary donation to
  • It never goes to the intended need anyways. If it is not lining someone's pocket it gets slapped with administrative costs, etc.

    Charity has to be the next biggest scam to organized religion.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      It never goes to the intended need anyways. If it is not lining someone's pocket it gets slapped with administrative costs, etc.

      Charity has to be the next biggest scam to organized religion.

      That's rather unfair. I'm a volunteer myself and often give. I usually do it directly, which is the best way to see it gets where it's needed.

      • by mcmonkey (96054) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:05PM (#35602390) Homepage

        That's rather unfair. I'm a volunteer myself and often give. I usually do it directly, which is the best way to see it gets where it's needed.

        Whenever I donate to the local single mothers and young women working their way through college, I always do so directly. I usually place the dollar right in her g-string, which is the best way to see it gets where it's needed.

    • I wouldn't say that about all charities. I work at a large non-profit daycare / before & after school program / family services that was started by two nuns, and granted the majority of money goes to staff and facilities, the staff and facilities are what benefit the children, families, and employees all at the same time. I think the difference is that we're all paid very poorly and nobody is getting rich off the system over here -- even our CEO (The nuns now hold honorary and speaking roles as they a

    • by iceaxe (18903)

      Cynicism, like optimism, is rarely completely correct. The reality almost always lies somewhere between the extremes.

      There are certainly scammers, opportunists, and fraudsters in the world, and always will be. However, this is a minority in the 'emergency relief' field of endeavor, as well as most other forms of charitable organization. The people who create and operate the vast majority of these orgs are doing their imperfect best to help people under often very difficult and never simple circumstances.

      It'

  • Japan (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Japan is a rich, technologically advanced, first-world country. I feel very bad for the people who have been affected by the recent events there, it's truly awful... but there are so many poor countries with horrible conditions, lack of food, basic human rights... who need money much more than Japan. ALL THE TIME.

    If you really want to help Japan, go there and start digging through the mess and help them rebuild. If you want to donate money, donate to someone who actually needs money. Or donate in general to

    • Yeah, that's why I was even more cynical about the Japan relief drive than usual. You'd think they'd have the money and manpower to primarily handle their own disasters.

  • There are alot of companies that will match donations that employees give through the Red Cross. You can see here if your company has signed up.

    http://www.matchinggifts.com/redcross/ [matchinggifts.com]

  • by DMoylan (65079) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:30PM (#35601854)

    the money was just resting in my account.

  • The best way to stop this nonsense is to make it a huge story. Twitter it, facebook it, whatever... post it everywhere. The media doesn't care unless they think the people do. So make it go viral so the worthless people we call "the press" cover it... then all the companies involved will look like idiots and may fix it.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      The best way to stop this nonsense is to make it a huge story. Twitter it, facebook it, whatever... post it everywhere. The media doesn't care unless they think the people do. So make it go viral so the worthless people we call "the press" cover it... then all the companies involved will look like idiots and may fix it.

      I think that only applies to politicians using Craigslist.

    • Better yet, post a rumor that mGive has nude Natalie Portmann pics on their website, and watch as their servers are /.'d to steaming piles of goo. Not one dime will get through!

  • Donations sent to the Twitter user "ReallyNotAScam" are taking forever to get to their intended recipient, Japanese aid victims. Hmm, go figure. www.redcross.org didn't seem like a safe place to send my donation so I texted it to a 900 #.

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