May 03, 2010

Charities Say No to Craigslist Cash

Craigslist expects to generate $36-million from advertisements on one section of its Web site and may donate some of that money to charity.

Sounds great, right?

Not to many nonprofit groups. The $36-million is coming from the "adult services" section of Craigslist, a place not just for legal adult activity but also prostitution and sex trafficking.

After Craigslist's chief executive said recently that human trafficking would be an area of focus for the company's charitable giving, charities that work on that issue said they didn't want anything to do with the cash.  

Rachel Lloyd, executive director of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, told The New York Times that her group would refuse any Craigslist donations because the money was coming from "pimps and traffickers who have sold many of the girls who will then walk into my door."

Salon writer Tracy Clark-Flory wondered about the dilemma that might face such charities if they were offered a big check by Craigslist. She called several groups and was told there wasn't much of a dilemma at all.

An official with the National Organization for Women said that "it's just logical that we wouldn't be accepting money from the many businesses that profit from women's suffering."

Andrea Powell, director of FAIR Fund, was more measured, according to Ms. Clark-Flory.

"If Craigslist offered us a donation, my response would be, 'Let's have a conversation about developing a good corporate responsibility model, and then we can talk about a contribution that could help benefit the girls that your ads, frankly, help victimize," she said, adding, "My gut reaction is to say no." 

How do you think nonprofit groups should respond to the offer of a donation from Craigslist?