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Amnesty International [Mar. 5th, 2014|05:34 pm]
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I have been asked to raise money for Amnesty International.

Although I will get an income in return, I have heard a lot of criticisms of this group, as well as good, charitable work. I'm iffy of foreign aid, so...

What do you all know about this organization? Can you vouch for any of the rumored criticism? Or of its amazing, world-changing work?

[User Picture]From: lied_ohne_worte
2014-03-05 07:05 am (UTC)


For starters, I'm not sure if their work is accurately classified as "charitable work" or "foreign aid". They focus on making human rights violations public and campaigning against them, particularly when it comes to people being imprisoned and mistreated while imprisoned - likely including in your own country.

As for criticisms, perhaps it would help if you could be more precise what exactly you've been told.
[User Picture]From: xxflyingsoulxx
2014-03-05 07:39 am (UTC)


What I learned today was that we are supposed to classify their work as charity work. I agree I thought it was a good organization, but I read on wikipedia that there are many criticisms against them, and I wanted to make how credible Wikipedia is in this case.
[User Picture]From: lied_ohne_worte
2014-03-05 07:54 am (UTC)


Hm, that's interesting. I'd consider it activism, rather.

Well, you can find "criticism" sections in Wikipedia articles on almost anything. I mean, the "bread" article has one! I often find it hard to decide how weighty those criticisms are, as some articles seem to take one single news report and create a controversy, while others contain very valid and important points.

The "criticisms" in that specific article... hm, as for countries complaining, if AI points out that abuses happen in a country, of course that country's government will criticise them for it, because not doing so would mean admitting some wrongdoing. The "policies regarding abortion" seem to mean that AI is for better access to them, so I suppose what you make of that would depend on whether you think that access should be improved. For me, it's not a point "criticism" I would worry about in the slightest.

Other points made against them may be more troubling - really, what I'd recommend would be to read as many of the source articles linked in Wikipedia as you can, try to find out who the authors/publications of those sources are and whether they are biased one way or the other, and make up your own mind; that will also help you to evaluate the Wikipedia article. I fear nothing anyone here can tell you, unless they've done research on the matter themselves, will be more helpful than that. Even if they've worked with AI, they'll only have seen a small part, whether positive or negative.
[User Picture]From: xanya
2014-03-05 09:03 am (UTC)


Actually, I'm fairly certain Amnesty International are one of the best organisations of this type out there. I would help raise money or them. I've had a number of friends volunteer for them and they've always had only positive things to say.
[User Picture]From: radiantsoul
2014-03-05 09:37 am (UTC)


I think the main criticism is probably that it tends to argue for human rights above all other values. So national security is not a reason to torture or imprison. They are also against the death penalty, which rather depends on your politics.

[User Picture]From: kinkakinka
2014-03-05 10:49 am (UTC)


If your fundraising will be standing on a street corner or in a mall nagging people for money, then I encourage you not to do that.
[User Picture]From: xxflyingsoulxx
2014-03-05 11:39 am (UTC)


Yeah sadly that's the job I was offered. Really not looking forward to it but it is my only source of income at the moment.
[User Picture]From: sofriggencoolx
2014-03-06 01:59 am (UTC)


Keep looking for something else if you can. If you don't make enough sales they will fire you within the first week. A lot of my friends haven't made it very far in jobs like that :(. A friend of mine lasted a month and was decent at making sales but they were keeping her at unreasonable sales goals and paying her minimum wage when they promised her more
[User Picture]From: xxflyingsoulxx
2014-03-06 02:12 am (UTC)


Yeah, I am still looking and about to apply for a job that in my career path as opposed to just something to pay the bills. We have to make 10 sales/week but more as time goes on...
[User Picture]From: kissofcinnamon
2014-03-05 01:06 pm (UTC)


Anything with as much political volatility as Amnesty International is going to have both blind praise and harsh criticism. A lot of their "worthiness" score is going to be a subjective thing as far as their actual activity is concerned.

Some of the criticism associated with AI lately is in response to their widening net of activism. They used to be very specific with their focus, choosing what they deemed to be unjust captivity and atrocities against individuals rather than a broader class (used loosely) of people, and they spent a great deal of their resources on attempting to eradicate the death penalty (which, in itself, is going to cause criticism). In the last few years they've been calling on the U.S. government more and more (for instance, their push for government action in Darfur) to get involved and some people are concerned they're lobbying for just that (bigger government) that's a hot-button issue. AI is also broadening to larger, less specific causes like violence against women rather than focusing on specific individual political prisoners or persons they deem victims of tyranny, and some people believe that it weakens their efficacy.

To do a little research on how they stand as a charity, start at Charity Navigator: Their actual score--42 out of 70--is kind of low. They only score two stars out of four with CN (as opposed to say, Unicef, which stars four out of four, just for comparison). Most of that appears to be its financial score. They spend about 76% on actual program expenses, which is decent but not ideal, and little (4%) on administrative expenses, but they spend a lot (18+%) on fundraising. But, this is only the U.S. section of Amnesty Intl, a London based company and CN doesn't have the numbers for the AI as a whole.

Edited at 2014-03-05 01:07 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: bunnikins
2014-03-06 10:51 am (UTC)


I think they're a good organization, but the job is probably harassing people on the street for donations, and you will hate it, annoy people, and not make any money. Because they'll have ridiculous targets you have to meet and charge you for supplies or some shit or maybe transportation and in general just weasel out of having to pay you because the companies that organize chuggers do that.