With Charity for All: Why Charities are Failing and a Better Way to Give

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Doubleday, 2013 - Business & Economics - 258 pages
23 Reviews
Vast and largely unexamined, the world of American charities accounts for fully 10 percent of economic activity in this country, yet operates with little accountability, no real barriers to entry, and a stunning lack of evidence of effectiveness. In With Charity for All, Ken Stern reveals a problem hidden in plain sight and prescribes a whole new way for Americans to make a difference.

Each year, two thirds of American households donate to charities, with charitable revenues exceeding one trillion dollars. Yet while the mutual fund industry employs more than 150,000 people to rate and evaluate for-profit companies, nothing remotely comparable exists to monitor the nonprofit world. Instead, each individual is on his or her own, writing checks for a cause and going on faith. Ken Stern, former head of NPR and a long-time nonprofit executive, set out to investigate the vast world of U.S. charities and discovered a sector hobbled by deep structural flaws. Unlike private corporations that respond to market signals and go out of business when they fail, nonprofit organizations have a very low barrier to entry (the IRS approves 99.5 percent of applications) and once established rarely die. From water charities aimed at improving life in Africa to drug education programs run by police officers in thousands of U.S. schools, and including American charitable icons such as the Red Cross, Stern tells devastating stories of organizations that raise and spend millions of dollars without ever cracking the problems they set out to solve.
   But he also discovered some good news: a growing movement toward accountability and effectiveness in the nonprofit world. With Charity for All is compulsively readable, driven in its early pages by the plight of millions of Americans donating to good causes to no good end, and in its last chapters by an inspiring prescription for individual giving and widespread reform.

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Review: With Charity for All: The Terrible Truth of Charitable Failure

User Review  - Maren - Goodreads

I'm going to try to write this review without sounding like a jerk. On p. 175 it says, "The picture I've drawn of the charitable world may be bleak, but it is not without light." That is EXACTLY what ... Read full review

Review: With Charity for All: The Terrible Truth of Charitable Failure

User Review  - Jana - Goodreads

I really enjoyed this book despite how messed up charities are. The only thing that would have made it a little better is adding more options about how to make changes at the end. Read full review

About the author (2013)

Ken Stern is a media and nonprofit executive best known for helping to build National Public Radio into a global news and information power. He is currently the CEO of Palisades Media Ventures, a Washington D.C.-based public affairs company.

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