Whenever there’s a major natural disaster somewhere in the world, the internet rumor mill begins churning out some variation of a message that includes something like this: “Think twice before donating. As you open your pockets for the next natural disaster, please keep these facts in mind.”
Then the message quotes outdated or distorted salary figures of several non-governmental organizations’ chief executives.
The email ends with some supportive words about our national leader: “The Salvation Army’s Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a salary of only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 billion dollar organization. 96 percent of donated dollars go to the cause.”
The only problem is, it’s wrong.
For one thing Commissioner Todd Bassett retired from active service in 2006. And his “salary” – like all other Salvation Army officers – consisted of a cash allowance, as well as the use of a Salvation Army-owned house and car.
Earlier this year the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported our then-National Commander and his wife’s shared compensation at $79,389 with $53,468 in benefits.
If you want to read more about our housing and compensation model, please click here for another story called “We’re one of your neighbors,” on this blog site.
Next, The Salvation Army is a $2.6 billion per year organization and we spend about 82 cents of every donated dollar on programs and services for people in need, not 96. In the non profit world, 82% is a very healthy number and a solid indicator of our commitment to good stewardship. We’re proud of that number and work very hard to do the most good with every dollar you give us.
All that to say, when you get an email that weaves a tale that’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t. We appreciate that you want to believe the best about us so that’s why we’re telling you the truth.
We think the truth makes us look pretty good too. Don’t you?
Thanks for reading this post.