How do you know if a charity is any good or not? I did a lot of research on Food For The Poor. At the time I checked them out, they were an ECFA (Evangelical Council For Financial Accountability) member, which meant they had to meet certain standards of belief as well as financial stewardship. They also helped in the Carribean and Latin America. They spent almost all their donations on actually helping people, not on themselves. They checked out pretty good.
So not too long ago, at the end of last year, I get a fundraising letter with a picture of the Pope! I was stunned. They were taking my donations and spending it to send people pictures of the Pope? In a large measure, the Pope is responsible for the poverty in Latin America in the first place. (How many works of art, gold cups, etc has he ever sold to help the poor? Ironically, about this time, the Wall Street Journal weekend edition had a front page article on how Catholic nuns had to go begging for food for their hospital!)
As if mailing people pictures of the Pope wasn't bad enough, I was at their web site trying to check them out. The ECFA symbol is gone, and I can't find them listed on the ECFA site anymore. More alarmingly, their fundraising is done by an organization called Kintera, which apparently specializes in emptying people's pockets with donation solicitations, and they are frightening. The FFP site says they are "a marketing infrastructure service provider offering advanced Internet fundraising solutions". The Kintera web site for their product offerings (http://www.kinterainc.com/) looks like something out of George Orwell's or Tim LaHaye's wildest dreams of 666 conspiracy theories. I have trouble breathing when I look at a page like Solutions - Industry - Faith-Based Groups and see "Donor Management" and "Wealth Screening". The former has listed "Opportunity Management - Track and carefully manage the long-term relationships of working with constituents to gain their support" which sounds a lot like manipulating you to empty your pockets. The latter says "Multiple Data Sources - Use data from a number of different resources including Kintera's exclusive relationship with Echelon". (See http://datasheets.kintera.com/EchelonPS) Not only that, but this speaks for itself: "Kintera's Social CRM system enables organizations to drive all interactions based on comprehensive knowledge of constituents and provides a single, interactive system to manage relationships." George Orwell never thought up anything like this. This is scary stuff!
I would avoid Food For The Poor at all costs. I would further avoid any charity listed on Kintera's web page as a client.