The cost of giving

‘No one has ever become poor by giving’, so wrote Anne Frank.

When we give to those who are in need we shouldn’t count the cost. But when we give to organised charities do we know what the ‘cost of giving’ is? How much of what we give to charities is actually used for charitable purposes (rather than for administration, payment of salaries etc)? Figures from the Charities Commission show a wide variation in the charitable purposes/administration ratio:

CHARITY                                                              % OF DONATIONS USED FOR CHARITABLE PURPOSES

Royal Mencap Society                                                                                    96%

Action for Children                                                                                          93%

Save the Children                                                                                            89%

Barnardo’s                                                                                                        80%

RNLI                                                                                                                 78%

Oxfam                                                                                                               76%

Cancer Research                                                                                              70%

British Red Cross                                                                                              67%

Age Uk                                                                                                                 49%

British Heart Foundation                                                                               46%

That’s right – for some major charities less than half of your donation goes to the charitable purpose you want to support. For other charities the percentage is significantly higher. However, none can match the LDS Humanitarian Fund – 100% of all donations is used for humanitarian purposes. No administration costs, no rent for expensive buildings, no executive salaries. The LDS Philanthropies website ( says:

‘Last year, LDS Charities responded to 111 requests in 50 countries. They included response to earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan, relief to 55,000 refugees in Libya, and emergency aid to mudslide victims in El Salvador.

One hundred percent of every dollar donated is used to help those in need without regard to race, religion, or ethnic origin.’

Last week’s Deseret News featured a report on the Humanitarian Aid Fund’s sending food and emergency supplies to Sierra Leone during the recent Ebola related state of emergency – see

Other examples of Humanitarian Aid funded initiatives include:

Providing nets and other fishing supplies to Japanese fishermen whose livelihoods had been destroyed by earthquake and tsunami – see

Helping to eliminate preventable diseases in 34 countries – see

Training doctors, nurses and midwives in neonatal resuscitation in Ghana – see

There are many ways in which we can help others through our charitable donations but in terms of ‘value for money’ and the cost of giving the Humanitarian Aid Fund is a great option.


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