Yesterday I bought this

When I was little, there was a commercial that for some strange reason I had managed to memorize. I can still recite the entire thirty seconds of dialog today.

(In case you didn’t press play, the video is about a kid who buys a walkman and then sees it for a lower price in the paper. His dad makes him go back to the store to make it right. Side note: Imagine my surprise years later when I ended up in the same class in college with the child actor from the commercial.)

That commercial aired in the early 80s and has nothing to do with diabetes, but just like diabetes a lot has changed since the commercial first aired. We aren’t really buying portable devices to play our cassette tapes anymore and we certainly aren’t buying them from Circuit City.

99 percentI didn’t have diabetes in the 80s, but I have seen a lot of changes in the world of diabetes in just the past decade. One significant change is the number of nonprofit organizations advocating for various causes on behalf of people with diabetes. There are organizations dedicated to education, organizations dedicated providing social and emotional support, organizations dedicated to finding a biological cure for diabetes, organizations that are dedicated to supporting artificial pancreas projects, organizations dedicated to preventing new diabetes diagnoses, and organizations that fund a combination of all those things.

An article recently popped up online that included information about the percentage of money that certain diabetes nonprofit organizations were spending towards research for a cure. The number stated did not seem accurate compared to other data that I’ve seen published. And it wasn’t accurate – or it was accurate but only based on odd definitions of the data by the organization behind the article.

statistics quoteI don’t have an unlimited supply of money, so I have to decide which organizations I am going to support and where my money is going to go. Nonprofits are required to provide information about budgets, spending, salaries, and other information I would like to know before committing my money. The easiest tools I use to find out more information about nonprofit organizations are Guidestar, The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Navigator.

It’s important to me to know what my money is funding and whether or not a story is true before sharing the link. I don’t want to be the Circuit City kid. It won’t be quite as easy for me to get the balance back.


  • Ooh, I remember that commercial! It used to air constantly!

    With regards to the numbers, I think anyone with a particular agenda can find numbers to support his or her mission. I don’t doubt the numbers are accurate, and they might be the truth, but perhaps not the WHOLE truth. One of the neutral sources of information may be better.

  • Wow, blast from the past video! Love it. Years from now, people will show commercials that were popular now, and I’ll have no recollection of them…thank you, DVR 🙂

    I’ve seen that article you are talking about, and checked my blog email box the other day to find a message from someone with that organization, touting their statistics and asking me if I wanted more information from them about the report’s findings, etc. Something about it just sounded fishy to me – like, they are trying a little bit TOO hard. Could be completely above-board, but I’m not drinking their KoolAid quite yet.
    Thank you for those links to Guidestar, etc – definitely a good idea to check out the 990s and other information of non-profits BEFORE getting involved with them, just so you know for sure what your time and money are going towards.

  • P.S. And watching that commercial made me think: would people today send their kid out on his own to walk across town like that BY HIMSELF?? My, how things have changed!

  • I probably shouldn’t be commenting because I’m a little jaded in the non-profit world. I used to work for a non-profit and often times I feel like the money they raise goes more to administrative costs (like accounting, IT, etc) than it does to the actual cause. Also a lot of causes spend a TON of money trying to get money with advertising.

    With that being said, I’m sure if you find the right organization, any amount helps. I’ve found I like donating to smaller more local charities more where I feel like the dollar goes a little further.

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