26/08/2014 10:04 BST | Updated 25/10/2014 06:59 BST

Are You a Charity Sheep?

We are currently in the midst of a huge almost hysterical behavioural pattern to throw ourselves under a bucket of iced water! Before I ruffle too many feathers let me just say that I am in no way meaning to belittle the suffering of those with this condition, known (mainly in the USA) as ALS. More commonly known over here as Motor Neurone Disease and also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Many years ago a friend of the family died from a similar debilitating disease, so I am fully aware of what an abhorrent disease this is.

What is happening at the moment is almost a massed sheep like behaviour. Okay yes it is highlighting a terrible disease and raising funds. But ask yourself who is behind this and if you could follow it back to its source you would find a very clever advertising executive. Yet again the masses have fallen into line, believing they are doing a truly altruistic act, when the truth is they are getting attention, not only for the cause but also themselves. Slightly unfair I guess, as I'm sure most believe they are doing the right thing for the right reasons. Let's have a look at the money side of the "right thing" they are doing.

Last year the ALS association which is the American based (not for profit) charity raised $64,661,521. The 2013 total for expenses is $61,332,720 leaving (they call it) a change in net assets of $3,328,800. Now in any other business that would be called a profit! To date ALS Association has raised $41.8 million dollars through this campaign alone! This of course does not include the millions in the UK, or for that matter worldwide. So in a campaign that to my knowledge has been running for a couple of weeks, they are very nearly at the total raised throughout the entire year 2013!

Now they haven't printed an easy to read pie chart for last year, but they have done so for this year to date. I think you'll find it quite interesting, I know I did.


Now bearing in mind this is a non-profit organisation why ONLY 28% towards research? A whopping 32% on public and professional education! Hang on, only just over a quarter on research and the nearly a third on educating the public about a disease that has no cure. Professional education. Wouldn't that be covered at medical school? Doesn't this come under fund raising?! Please don't think I'm picking on the ASL association alone, as I really am not, it is just that this was one of the first websites that arrive through a Google search and they have published these figures on their website.

My point to this article is that charity is never for non-profit and would go as far as to say that charities are now amongst the largest businesses in the world. We have seen not too long ago that many charities in the UK were in fact investing monies received in some very dubious businesses. Yes they were via investment banks and so it wasn't necessarily a conscious involvement but of course all the same it served to show what huge organisations these are. Many years ago I once fitted a bathroom for a relative of a friend. This person was employed by a very well-known worldwide charity. The house they lived in was worth at a conservative guess in today's market £2,000,000! I'm not saying he wasn't worth every penny, but you have to ask yourself at what point the message was lost and when the aim of a said charity is lost amongst the huge sums of money coming in?

When cancer is finally conquered, how many thousands (hundreds of thousands) of people worldwide will become unemployed?

Aside from all of this, when through your lifetime you have given so much to research and various charities to find a drug that cures a certain condition. Then when this wonder drug comes along you find that it is too expensive for your sick relative to afford! Even though they found this cure by it being paid for by charity and now they want to make a fortune selling it to those most in need!

It's a cruel world folks. So if you want to continue giving £3.20 or $3.20 out of every ten that you give to a charity to educate both adults and children about the condition they are supporting, rather than funding research into a cure, then crack on, but you'll not find me giving a penny to charity, or throwing a bucket of iced water over myself!

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