Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stupid is as stupid does (the sequel)

To begin...
An Internet "genious" spouted off this gem:
"It's not just Wall Street. These non-profits and charities are all for profit and highly profitable like mega churches. Rarely do they give out money and resources to the needy when they have to overpay their employees and especially their CEOs."
In reference to this article on Non-Profit Organizations (NPO) compensation for CEOs.

Obviously his logic is flawed, and his argument based on the vast minority of NPOs that skirt the law and cheat the system. Also, through the inane discourse of his argument, is becomes apparent that NPOs must be all charities or churches, despite the information in the article singling out hospitals, the arts, and museum CEOs.

So here's the deal: NPOs are not limited to charities, churches, foundations, or hospitals. NPOs are any organization that does not pursue profits for the employees of the firms (bonuses/profit sharing/etc.). We can all go read the information on the IRS website (boy, that sure sounds like fun!), but at the end of the day, an NPO is a business, just like every other business. It has bills, employees, and rent to pay.

The mindset of some in this world that NPOs shouldn't make money, or pay it's employees a decent wage, just because it's an NPO is backwards and ignorant. What people need to look at is the money that goes to help people, or towards the NPO's purpose. NPO work isn't all about "charity" as some suggest. And taken as a whole, NPO CEO salary is still paltry compared to the top CEO pay in for-profit companies.

Maybe a better argument would have been to compare NPO CEO pay with for-profit companies of similar size. That would make sense. But to argue that just because a CEO of an NPO makes more than you is just plain ridiculous.

There are plenty of watchdog groups out there. And from my perspective, there are definitely some CEOs that are paid way too much, regardless of talent. But I doubt any CEO on their deathbed will be pulling something similar to Oskar Schindler- this week's pay could have fed a village for months! or- my vacation pay could have bought 15 artificial limbs for wounded veterans!

If you're worried about donating to NPOs that end up wasting your donation dollars on extravagant salaries or perks, look online for the charity's financial statements, they are legally required to make them available to the public. Check the watchdog's sites for information regarding the administrative costs vs. money going to those who need it.