Instagrammer who raised $7M to evacuate Afghans struggles to use funds effectively

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Digital technology does have a tendency to lead some people to believe they’re more talented or competent than they actually are. The various crowdfunding platforms and channels can be a powerful tool, but fundraising is only one aspect of running a reputable charity. Unfortunately, some of those nickels have to go to (gasp) actual experts who know what the heck they’re doing.

I hope this money finds its way to re-settlement efforts run by established charities in the U.S.


I see this is another symptom of the continued undermining of respect for expertise that seems to be happening. People don’t believe anything is hard or that experts know what they’re doing in nearly any field, it seems.


My red flag is a user who goes by someone else’s name trying to raise money for a proper cause.

I wouldn’t send a cent to @DeezeNuts69 to raise money for Haiti earthquake victims. No matter what passion Deeze may have for the cause, there’s a credibility issue in the name - a disconnect between the juvenile handle and the serious matter at hand.


Nailed it.
Most considerate people historically, if they wanted to support this effort, would donate to an established organization with a track record and oversight. But no more.


I know there is a lot of concern about how charities spend money, and there is a lot of anger when people find out that people who work for charities do, in fact, make a living at it. (And depending on what they do for the charity, they can sometimes make a very good living doing it. And one person’s “making a very good living” is another person’s “they are vastly overpaid”…)

But this is the alternative: charities that are completely and utterly ineffective at performing the task that they raised money for.

Let’s assume positive intent with this dude, and that he hasn’t knowingly wasted or stolen any money. $7MM is enough that he could have done some real good with it. Instead, all we know is that he’s spent about $500K on supporting other flights (probably good), and $3.3MM on tickets for flights that have been canceled and not refunded.

And this is certainly a “strike while the iron is hot” kind of thing. Not to be too grim, but… the people who needed out needed out four months ago, not now. To get them out now is going to require working with the Taliban, which is expressly banned by US law, since they are on the disbarred parties list.

He just doesn’t have the knowledge or the experience or the connections to get this done effectively. And he’s going to have to pay people who have this knowledge, experience, and connections to get them to help him.

So essentially the money is wasted. It would almost have been better if he would have just embezzled it…

Please, people: if you find a good cause and feel the need to donate to it, check out Charity Navigator - Your Guide To Intelligent Giving | Home and find a good, established charity that covers the need, doesn’t have horrible overhead (non-program) charges, and donate to them. It will do a lot more good.


There are other ways, but they are illegal in Afghanistan so they try to stay below the radar and are a word of mouth thing. They don’t go around trying to raise $7M because that will get them noticed, arrested and closed down by the Taliban, they raise small amounts to get the most vulnerable people out of the country, then shut down and change names before anyone realises who they are.

If you don’t know who they are don’t try donating to them, there is a risk of giving money to scammers instead.


Everyone always gets upset about the idea of administration and overhead costs in charities. But overhead and administration involves paying people to make sure that funds are used properly and accounted for.

I know of one viral crowdfunding effort that quickly raised millions of dollars. The organizers were smart enough to know that they were in over their heads and started to frantically contact charities to help them administer the money. In the end, they still ended up in court over distribution of funds.


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