I’m sure that most of you are aware of the Stop Kony Internet movement that is currently happening. Yesterday we reblogged a post about the issue with good intentions, but as more and more information becomes available, it seems as if the organization behind the movement, Invisible Children, is not the best organization to be supporting and/or donating money to. Basically what the information is telling us is that Invisible Children spends more money on paying their workers, paying for trips to places like Africa, and creating movies than they do actually helping people.
Invisible Children has been condemned time and time again. As a registered not-for-profit, its finances are public. Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 32% went to direct services (page 6), with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production. This is far from ideal for an issue which arguably needs action and aid, not awareness, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they lack an external audit committee.
Now I know a lot of us, including myself, have this “at least we’re bringing this problem to the forefront of mainstream media” mindset, but this is a little bit different. Invisible Children supports and uses the money they receive to help the Ugandan government’s army, and a little research shows us that the Ugandan government’s army is not the best entity to be supporting. This means that funding Invisible Children can actually hurt the children they claim to care about.
The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. Here’s a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 by their own admission. These books each refer to the rape and sexual assault that are perennial issues with the UPDF, the military group Invisible Children is defending.
We’re posting this today in hopes that, in the future, you guys will be more wary about the charities you choose to support. We admit that we made a mistake and we are sorry for jumping the gun before getting the real story. Please note that it is not inherently a mistake to donate to Invisible Children. The charity does have its flaws, but if you make the personal decision that it is the best place to allot your resources, don’t let us stop you, and don’t feel bad about it.
Thank you for understanding and supporting LxG. Please know that this post is not meant to offend or upset anyone. We are firm believers of supporting charity and helping the less fortunate, but sometimes things are not what they seem.
If you want to read more about why Invisible Children is not the best organization to support, you can visit this Tumblr blog. For information on which charities you can trust, you can visit GiveWell.org.