california attorney general jerry brown recently released a report indicating that over half of charitable contributions in the state never end up in charities' coffers. most of the funds raised are used to cover the cost of fundraisers. having attended some of these lavish galas, i can tell you first-hand how disheartening it is to calculate how many lives the money spent on the floral centerpiece could have saved.
but it doesn't have to be that way! philanthro productions in los angeles is a non-profit event production company that throws social events to raise money for charity, and in 2009, over 95% of event revenue went directly to charity. in fact, at many events, 100% of cover charge goes to the non-profit partner.
philanthro (which also has chapters in san francisco and san diego) is part of the solution, not the problem. the attorney general recommends that you find out what percentage of donations will go to pay for fundraising expenses before you contribute. be a savvy giver, and party with philanthro. by attending philanthro events, you can have the peace of mind that your money is being spent transparently and efficiently.
(full disclosure: i currently serve as president of philanthro productions los angeles and sit on the corporate board of directors)