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Time Running Out for My 2007 Charity Goals

This article was written by in Charity. 13 comments.


When I laid out my goals for 2007 at the end of last year, I set my sights on donating $1,000 to charity — $2,000 as a stretch goal — in addition to my normal volunteering efforts. Neither of these two options are going as well as I expected.

Clarinet Band Practice

I decided to sever ties with the organization with which I used to be heavily involved. They are no longer local to me, but more importantly, I don’t believe that what the organization does is always in the best interest of those they believe they are helping. I’ve decided to pull back my support, but I need a replacement.

My support will probably be redirected to a small foundation that supports arts and music education. I know that my support at the organization I formerly supported made a difference for the group and the young people in its purview, and it will be much more difficult to make such a difference with a foundation with which I am not as intimately familiar.

I’ll be reaching out to my contacts in the industry to ask for their suggestions as well as researching organization online. I’d like to find a local foundation with only a few programs that support the same values I feel are important in terms of education.

How do you choose the recipients of your charitable funds?

Image credit: StuSeeger

Published or updated October 3, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Modern Worker

Have you taken a look at kiva.org? I highly recommend it.

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avatar Rebecca

I look for groups who work on causes that I care about but for which specific skill sets are needed.

For example, I support planned parenthood with money rather than with time because I am not a doctor, nurse or pharmaceutical company. I tend to support amnesty international with money because I am tied to the US.

On the other hand I support the local habitat for humanity with time because I can swing a hammer or paint a room as well as anyone else.

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avatar FrugalTrader

I have a fundraising campaign on my blog where basically I donate the proceeds of the link sales to charity. When I collect $100 or so, I have a poll for my readers to vote on. That way, the readers can get involved. Perhaps you can do the same, have a poll of various charities and let the readers decide.

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avatar Mrs. Micah

I give to some people I know whose work I want to support. Also I give to organizations with a good track record which do all kinds of international development/emergency work. Mostly World Vision, which I see as an expression of Christian love that doesn’t force Christianity on the people it serves.

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avatar Michelle

My money only goes to animals:

BestFriends.org (mends & cares for animals abused by humans -people seem to like abusing animals).

InDefenseOfAnimals.com (proactive group using legal means to stop animal abuse).

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avatar t

I agree that this is much more challenging than is usually acknowledge, and appreciate your bringing up the topic!

It really is hard to find someplace you really trust without knowing some of the people involved directly, sometimes. There are other good resources out there, though – for example, charitynavigator.org does financial reporting on companies, and while I don’t rely on its review alone, I do check places I give there at least once, usually.

An example of how my husband found someplace he feels good about giving is ASHA (ashanet.org). It’s someplace that (a) gets great ratings on charitynavigator, (b) he has volunteered with personally, and (c) he knows people who are deeply involved with it and have been for a long period of time.

It really is more difficult than one would expect, though. I’d love to see more posts on the subject!

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avatar Monica

I have three requirements:
The cause/work/organization has to tug at my heartstrings. (Without passion about a charity, I won’t stay committed.)

It has to do something that others don’t do, or it does it particularly well. (That makes me feel like my money is well spent.)

And it has to really need my money and
be able to make a significant and/or identifiable difference with it. (Though I believe wholeheartedly that they are worthwhile causes, I don’t get the same sense of satisfaction donating my “pittance” to a huge organization like breast cancer or alzheimers, where millions of dollars are needed to make a medical difference.)

I agree with Michelle: Best Friends and In Defense of Animals are great orgs. Also, Animals Asia (www.animalsasia.org).

Good discussion you opened!

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avatar The Dividend Guy

I give to organizations that have impacted my family – Breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. I have seen the impact of these and feel passionate about helping to find cures or make life easier for those with these diseases.

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avatar Sasha ♦644 (Dime)

I pick 2 or 3 causes each year to donate to in addition to making conscientious daily spending decisions all year long(at least 80% of my groceries come from local farms and small businesses because I believe in supporting them)

Last year I donated to Oceana and Conservation International because I believe in the works they do and feel they help maintain the delicate balance of this planet and its species. This year BirdLife International will be added to the list (help prevent avian species extinction) as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists.

I’m constantly signing petitions and sending e-mail to government officials re: their various causes as well.

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avatar amy

I donate to Modest Needs, an organization that helps prevent people who are one paycheck, one car payment, etc from falling into a debt spiral. Small amounts really make a difference. Check it out. http://www.ModestNeeds.org

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avatar the Cerebral Assassin

Hey, Flexo, based on an earlier entry about your growing net worth, I’d say just do something and refine from there.

Not to go biblical to push a view, but merely use what the Bible says as a starting point, tithing 10% of your income is what is laid out. Now, I’m not saying that 10% is the number that’s right for you, I’m just saying that $1,000-2,000 for the year wouldn’t appear to make much of a dent in your situation.

Another way to look at it is the 1% of your net worth. I know there are clubs around the country where truly rich people conspire to give 1% of their net worth. By that measure, you’re solidly within the range you were hoping to be in.

In the end, I’d simply implore you to do something and fine tune from there. Basically, it same process you’ve used with this website over time. From your earlier versions of your website to today, the improvements have been dramatic. So, don’t let the quest for finding the perfect charitable scenario stop you from reaching your charitable goals.

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avatar thomas

I choose my charities based off of things that have affected me personally. My Grandmother passed away from Progressive Supranuculear Palsy (PSP), a rare disease, so I send money to them to find a cure. I find it’s easier to give when I know how the recipients feel because I’ve had a similiar experience. I may not know what it’s like to have cancer or diabetes, but I do know how it impacts everyone’s life.

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avatar Adam

I direct the New Year’s Eve festival for Providence RI, so I am on the opposite side of the charity equation (although I am also on this side also)

It’s always hard for me to ask for money to fund what is essentially a community party when there are so many good causes to give to. (although not to sell ourselves short– we provide an affordable community arts event that is a family friendly New Year’s Eve Celebration. We employ over 160 local artists, etc, etc. But we are not curing cancer, or feeding people that have needs right now)

One thing that we’ve been doing (and I bet your readers can do this in a similar way) is collecting money for other causes through our cause. A couple of years ago we raised money for the Tsunami victims, and the Katrina victims as well. One year, some discounted tickets benefitted the local food bank. And we give out a number of tickets to deserving organizations to give to (mostly ) kids so they can come to the festival.

Personally, I give (either performances) or money only to causes that I am intimately involved with.

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