Where can I find a list of charities that do not advertise?
January 21, 2008 8:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a list of charities that do not spend any of their budget on advertising. Is there a directory of them somewhere? I'm in the UK, but that's more of a starting off point; deserving non-advertising charities elsewhere, or lists of them, would be just as good.

I'm aware of the charity commission but their search doesn't allow me to specify criteria like advertising budget.

I'm aware that non-advertising charities will be inherently harder to find, but I'm hoping word of mouth, (free) charity directory listings, and actual news of their achievements will be sufficient to find them.
posted by fvw to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think you're going to be hard pressed to find a list of all charities which don't advertise - they all spend money on 'fundraising' which is, essentially, advertising. The best you're likely to get is a list of how much/what proportion of their income they spend on administration.

You could try hunting around or asking at one of these sites:
Intelligent giving
posted by ComfySofa at 9:26 AM on January 21, 2008

What do you consider advertising? Every non-profit has a fundraising wing. If they didnt they would fold. Fundraising is arguably advertising. I'm sure you'll find some trust fund kiddie "charity" that doesnt need fundraising, but I doubt you'll want to give your money to someone's tax dodge.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:36 AM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Charity Navigator is a good place to look. This example shows how a given charity uses their money, how it is distributed, and so forth.
posted by wowbobwow at 9:39 AM on January 21, 2008

2nding damn dirty ape. The reason charities advertise is because not everyone has an Ask MetaFilter account.
posted by mpls2 at 10:03 AM on January 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

In addition to fund development, charities need to do outreach to their target clients. That is often a form of advertising - posters in community centers, newsletters to places that might give client referrals, etc. They couldn't help people if no one knew they existed.

Also, a fair amount of advertising is actually donated as gift in kind. The ads you see may be at no cost to the charity.

Perhaps we're misunderstanding you - are you looking for a list of lesser known charities or ones that don't pay for media?
posted by 26.2 at 10:47 AM on January 21, 2008

What is your goal? What are you trying to accomplish by finding charities that do not promote themselves? I ask because if you have a particular concern about how funds are spent or charities promoted, we might be able to provide more specific and useful answers.

What 26.2 says is very much correct: much of what looks like 'advertising' is media trade or in-kind donation for which no money changes hands. For instance, my organization is mentioned as a program underwriter on our public radio station. In return, we promote the public radio station on some of our materials. The same kind of arrangment is often made with print advertisers. Just seeing advertising doesn't mean money has been spent.
posted by Miko at 12:44 PM on January 21, 2008

Good point, I mean those that don't spend money on advertising, to maximise utility per unit of currency donated. If more advertising makes people donate more it stops being a zero-sum game and advertising will actually improve the utility of donated money, but beyond a certain point that has to cease being true, and it's certainly not a desirable state of affairs. And then there's the whole eyesore/annoyance aspect of advertising.
posted by fvw at 3:45 PM on January 21, 2008

beyond a certain point that has to cease being true,

Why? If more advertising continues to result in more donations, and donations and marketing budget increase proportionally, then you can scale up and provide more of the same services to a greater number of clients, or initiate more services. Think, for example, of Habitat for Humanity. They maintain a pretty high media profile, both locally in areas where they run projects, and nationally. Their growth has enabled them to become a significant force in low-income housing, doing what they do at a scale that would be impossible had they never increased their marketing budget.
posted by Miko at 5:05 PM on January 21, 2008

I think what you're after is fund raising expenses and fund raising efficiency. Charity Navigator gives a decent explanation in the middle of this page.

You're correct in that some charities aren't terribly efficient in how they advertise services or raise funds. As a general rule, the charities that pay for profit companies to do phone solicitations are woefully inefficient - paying the fund raiser 50 to 80% commission.
posted by 26.2 at 7:21 PM on January 21, 2008

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