The seedy side of charity organizations

I work for a charity organization run by VVA. Part of the company's function is to provide a pick-up service for donations of items from around the city. The items are then sold in thrift stores and the proceeds go to VVA to be distributed through their veteran progams.

Today, we received several calls in a row from people who had scheduled pick-ups, complaining that their donations had been picked up but no receipts left. Others said they had "Sorry we missed you" cards (our drivers leave these when no one is home and the items are not outside), but the donations were gone. We in the office smelled a rat.

This isn't the first time this has happened. Several times over the last year we have become aware that someone else was picking up the items put out for us, and even had names of some of other organizations who'd been seen with their trucks in the scheduled areas.

We usually can't do anything about it. Until the stuff is in our trucks, it's still the donor's property. Only the donors can call the police about the thefts. And most donors don't care, believing one charity is as good as the other (until they don't get a tax receipt, that is). But this time, we got lucky. Really lucky.

Someone (I don't know whether it was a donor or one of our drivers) spotted two of the other charity's trucks. Word got around quickly, and before long three of our drivers plus the driver manager had cornered them. We called the cops. The other's trucks were opened and everything inside was labeled with our tags.

I don't know what happened after that, but I overheard my boss telling someone that the big guy owed Jake (the driver manager) a bottle of the best scotch for this. I'm fairly certain that the drivers for the other charity went to jail. I wonder who else from that well known organization will be sent up to the big house as well.

Stealing is wrong. If one wishes to get into degrees, stealing from a charity is more wrong, and a charity stealing from another charity is the worst.

Do you know where your charitable donations are really going?