Cancer charities, like the Cancers themselves, are not created equal.  Cancer charities range from home-grown, grass-roots, patient support, to behemoth global mega-corporations that are trying to corner the market on all things “Cancer”, and spend millions on funding research and technology that many of us will never see.  The multitude of choices actually cause problems for the charity fundraisers as there is such a dilution of the options, and donors may find difficulty to ensure that their donated funds actually help in the fashion they desire.  This may cause potential donors to not donate their hard-earned funds to a cause.  Here is a quick (I repeat quick – I am considering a more detailed post in the future with assessments of groups) look at some of the main differences that I have found.

The bigger charities are registered with the government and can give tax receipts.  They are also required to have their financial statements publicly available – so, if you can find them on the website, and decode them – even you could ask questions like:  why have expenses gone from 11 to 26 % in the last year?  How many paid staff and what is the salary expense? Smaller groups have no such regulation or capacity to give receipts, and are usually run by volunteers.  Provincial regulations do not require small volunteer groups that only hold one event a year to submit annual reports.  So by giving to the large foundation/corporation are you giving it to a group that is more accountable?

One of the things that I had completely cemented into my brain (feel free to comment about cement in my head) while in Yellowknife was the question – what does this group support locally?  That has become a large part of my thinking in the last couple of years.  Yellowknife tried to have a “Ride for Dad” fundraising event one year…. It did poorly and never happened again.  The main reason why is that the funds from Ride for Dad disappears into the HQ located in the south, and there is no benefit seen for members of the NWT. So people there don’t know why to support it.  As simple as that sounds – it makes perfect sense.  I started asking some of these questions when I look into supporting causes now, and it is interesting to research the details of some charities.

I am not writing this to bash any specific groups – (as mentioned) that will be a later post, but to highlight efforts that are taken towards the grass-roots goals.  The main difference with the grass-roots initiatives and the large corporate organizations is that they impact the individuals specifically and openly, whereas the large groups are not as individually visible, and their support for the small guys (MIA) example is that I can’t even get them to retweet about our support group meetings –again, topic for a different future blog post.

These initiatives are a little harder to control and follow-up on.  The good news is that occasionally the fraudsters get caught.  I point to this example of trying to screw the system where a woman tried to fake a terminal cancer in order to get all the funds that friends, family, co-workers and charities would send her way.  Of course, faking something properly means following through; so if you fake a terminal condition, you need to die in order to maintain the ruse….. seems like a bad choice to me.

An example of the other side of the coin is a local Edmonton charity that I will talk about later in the summer, which works to help cancer patients with one of the most annoying facets of dealing with Cancer in Edmonton – the cost of parking at the Cross Cancer institute.  I personally am only there for about 30-45 minutes at a time, but have to spend 4.50 to 6 bucks on parking costs each time (as you need to allow for them to be running late.  For others, they need to spend 14 bucks for the “day pass” as once you go over 2 hours; you just pay the daily rate.  I emailed in a nomination of a Cancer buddy, and the group delivered (to his door) around 6 days of parking passes to his door.  That is almost $90 value to him.  May not seem like much, but it makes a difference.

Now I get to a charity event spotlight – in advance this time!!!!
30 April, Drumheller, Alberta. Ride for Brandon

This event is to help a Drumheller family deal with the impacts of their son who is undergoing Cancer treatments in Calgary.  This is an event that directly supports the patient and caregivers.  This local small town initiative is one of many events that can’t provide tax receipts, but you the donor, are much closer to the results of your donation.  The event is held on a Saturday, and I hope to make an overnight/weekend run once I figure out my best logistics.
They have a Go Fund Me page if people are just willing to make a donation.  Keep in mind, a Drumheller family needs to travel from to Calgary for treatments.
This event goes with a title that I am fond of.  I can’t make my computer match the symbology in their logo(so I made it the feature image of this post) but FUCK CANCER goes a long way in representing an opinion on the subject.  Hopefully, planet alignment allows me to attend – and report back.   I also hope to be able to highlight the details in a video update of my 20k riding goal as this weekend could easily encompass almost 1000 kms depending on the route I take there and back.

Thanks again for coming along this far – please check out the YouTube page that I have associated with my riding goal.  As always, spread the word.