Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Santa Claus gets poor rating from Charity Watchdog

The largest charity scoring service in the US has given Santa Claus a poor rating. The jolly old elf received a zero star rating from Charity Watchdog Trust – the lowest rating possible.

In its annual release of charity ratings the Trust cited a number of concerns about Santa’s North Pole operations, especially transparency and financial accountability.

Santa received just 18 out of a possible score of 70. The Trust noted that fundraising efficiency – the key measure used to rate financial performance – was just $0.90.

“More than 90 percent of this charity’s budget was taken up by non-program expenses, including 66 percent spent on reindeer food. Program budgets haven’t risen in decades. This is a charity that spends very little on charitable activities,” the report noted.

“In fact, a review of this charity’s filings shows it only carries out charitable acts only once a year – there is no evidence of any charitable activity on the 364 other days of the year.”

The report also faulted Santa for not providing audited financial statements to donor, listing key leaders or listing the CEO salary. It also criticised the practice of hiring relatives of the CEO into key management positions, especially Mrs. Claus, who was recently made privacy officer on top of her current role as Chief Financial Officer. The Trust also was critical of non-humans in key operational roles, such as Rudolph and various snowmen.

The Trust noted that a review of Santa’s tax filings found most of the charity’s labour was provided by unpaid, indentured servants in violation of international labor agreements. “The work of this charity rests largely on small, human-like creatures who apparently work for no or little pay besides room and board and green work outfits and hats.”

Santa’s ageing infrastructure and supports also came in for sharp criticism. The Trust rated the North Poles data management system as the worst it has ever seen.

“The entire system appears to run on paper, powered by a crystal ball. There is no provision for quality controls, access barriers or privacy standards. The system is centuries old and substandard,” the report noted.

The overall poor rating puts Santa at the bottom of the trust’s charity rating list, even lower than several hospital foundations and Tea Party political organizations.

In response, Santa Claus called the Trust report “disappointing”.

In a related story, Trust officials found all of their Christmas presents replaced by lumps of coal.

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