Once upon a time, I also thought that the NMSS was a great organization and was beyond reproach.
I don't consider anything
beyond reproach. But in the case of a group with a proven track record, I do think a reproach should be backed by evidence rather than sentiment.
This is a multi-million dollar organization that has tremendous power in the world of MS, yet only 20% of their donations make it to the research world.
Most of their spending, as I understand it, is for services to people with MS. It's inherent in any endeavor that a person or a group have a budget. Resources are scarce. Priorities have to be set. No one, including the NMSS, can do everything. If they spent more on research and less and programs, maybe my phone call wouldn't have been returned.
In a broader sense, people can disagree with the NMSS's priorities but I'd need a lot more evidence than I've seen so far to believe that they're not operating in good faith in allocating resources.
Their 2000 income tax report showed over 64 employees making in excess of $ 50,000 a year while working for a charitable organization.
Hate to break the news, but $50,000 isn't exactly getting rich. Yes, I know that a lot of MSers subsist on a lot less than that, but that's irrelevant to the issue of how much a charity should pay its permanent staff. No group of any size is going to retain good people without decent wages, and in today's economy a decent wage is above $50,000 a year. For an executive or senior administrator, it's well above $100,000 a year. That's just the way it is.
Volunteers only go so far. I say this as someone who has been a volunteer. As such, I came to quickly appreciate the value of good administration, and that comes from permanent staff. NMSS spends only 12% on fund-raising and administration, one of the lowest non-program percentages out there.
That said, I also know that there are various ways of fudging those numbers. This isn't to say that the NMSS is one of the charities that fudges the numbers, but rather to say that their 88% spent on program activities would probably be open to some interpretation if it were to be examined closely. Still, the idea that they have 64 people making more than $50K a year is a big "so what?" to me.
When they don't agree with something or feel threatened by a medication (LDN for example) they lash out with some pretty shoddy press releases in an attempt to discredit what they don't like. I guess I just can't bring myself around to think as these people being the pilar of light for the MS patients in the US.
I agree that their statement on LDN was deficient. If you look on the LDN board here you will see what I have had to say about that.
I suppose if I hadn't been privy to some of their actions in the recent past, my opinion wouldn't be as tarnished as it is today. But unfortunately that is not the case I have lost all respect for them.
respect? You stated that you're a strong supporter of your local MS chapters. Hate to tell you this, but they are integrated into the national organization. I can understand it if someone would find fault with various aspects of NMSS. I'm interested in those criticisms, but quite frankly your blanket condemnation undermines your case at least in my eyes.