Last night, I again noticed fundraising playing an important theme in a TV show, this time on NBC's The Office. I don't want to ruin the plotline so let me just say that during last night's season four premier, Michael (Steve Carrell) decides to start a fundraising 5K to find a cure for rabies (It was something like, the Michael Scott Dunder-Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Fun Run Race for the Cure).
The race ends up raising about $740 of Michael's own money, which he subsequently spends on a giant cardboard check (worth $200) and a stripper dressed as a nurse ($240) to give the remaining $300.
All this reminded me that figuring out where your donation dollars are being spent is an important aspect of fundraising. I remember numerous articles examined charitable fraud surrounding Hurricane Katrina, including this one from the Washington Post.
From my experience, I've learned the best way to make sure your donations are being spent appropriately is to check third-party charity evaluators, like Charity Navigator, or to take a look at the books yourself.
For our part, Oceana has a Four-Star rating from Charity Navigator, which is something no other ocean conservation group can claim.