They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We start out with a goal of making a positive change in the world — and sometimes we succeed. Other times, though, we get sidetracked. Things get out of control, and we end up doing more harm than good. Or, as another popular saying goes, you either die the hero or live long enough to become the villain. That’s the reality for executives and founders of many charities and nonprofits in America.
These organizations start with good intentions. But as organizations grow, things get more complicated. You need talented people to help steer the ship, and those people want to be paid handsomely. They need staff members who want parties. And large organizations also need to keep the revenue streams open, which sometimes requires attention-grabbing stunts or advertisements.
The following organizations all play some sort of vital role, be it raising awareness for a disease or simply warning consumers about shady businesses. But before you donate or spend money on these organizations, know where your money could be going.
1. The Better Business Bureau
- It has more than 100 regional bureaus and a national office — and raked in $200 million in 2013.
You have probably seen the Better Business Bureau’s little flyers around. Many businesses will put a sign in their windows that says “BBB approved!” or something similar. But you might be surprised to learn the BBB is not an official or government organization. It’s just a private company that makes money by taking complaints and selling “approvals” to business owners. A CNNMoney investigation found the BBB makes the bulk of its money by selling “memberships” to companies for prices as high as $10,000 per year.
Next: A nonprofit focusing on autism