The motives behind people that donate / volunteer always vary, but as someone that volunteers with a number of charitable organizations, I can tell you that plenty of people are only there for a reference. At the end of the day, even with that in mind, it's still better that we have those people helping us oppose to being severely understaffed.
In terms of this KONY campaign, you're forgetting that most people that likely saw these ads were basically bumming around on Facebook or Twitter, not dropping off a big cheque at the Red Cross. If anything, this viral marketing has highlighted poverty / children of war, and other related areas beyond just this specific campaign.
Lastly, it's not exactly a compelling argument to assume every dollar that goes to IC would have went to another charity otherwise. It likely would have went to to a Wendy's frosty or something -- you underestimate consumerist mentality.
Regardless, I can see how people would be bothered by the supposed financial figures. Yes, some people do get paid at non-profit organizations and yes, there are associated costs with marketing & travelling across the world. However, from a charitable standpoint they converted every $1 they put into marketing (funded by early donations) into essentially $10 later -- much of which will likely see a significantly higher % going towards helping directly. Realistically, that's a wiser investment with better long term success than someone outside the grocery store ringing a bell.
My previous career was in the non-profit sector with developmentally disabled people and I have also volunteered and am well aware of why people volunteer and the issues/reality behind the curtain.
You say people wouldn't donate somewhere else necessarily but would by a Frosty?
Really? Talk about exaggerating to make a point. That is the lamest tired argument and it seems to keep popping up. Hardly compelling.
You seem to miss several key issues which the most important one is Kony is no longer operating in Uganda and hasn't for some time. Never mind the intended actions by IC and the questions surrounding how they will carry out these actions.
My argument has rested on the issue of the process. No people probably aren't dropping off a big cheque at the Red Cross, I am actually unsure of what your point is, they are however ignorantly putting money towards situation they don't understand through a charity they know nothing about.
If it wasn't for some "whistleblowers" saying "hold up a minute" we wouldn't be having this discussion and more than likely people would have continued on their merry way and more donations would flow in with people feeling fantastic about their "intentions".
I can assure you, though I suggest you do your own homework, that a localized charity in Vancouver is much different than a far off charity dealing with a far off situation. There are checks and balances in place to prevent misuse of charitable donations in Vancouver and it would be backed by law.
My hope is that this debacle will highlight the importance of people needing to do their homework and not fall victim to slick marketing campaigns asking for money. This goes beyond IC.
It remarkable how people rationalize things and this is no different. People wouldn't think it OK to give $30 dollars to some Nigeria dude claiming over email that it's going to a "good cause" but they see no issue doing for a group that labels itself a charity.
Good intentions =/= good actions/results.