How do you decide which charities to donate to?

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    Jul 13, 2010 3:15 AM GMT
    When I start thinking about all the different needs the world has, it’s really kind of overwhelming. I’m trying to decide for myself but it’s an interesting choice problem just abstractly too. TigerTim and I had been discussing whether the traditional philanthropist approach (to donate to causes close to the donor’s interest) was better than Bill Gates’ approach (which was to identify those causes his donations would help to alleviate the most suffering and donate to those). I’m definitely in Gates’ camp, but the donation scale most of us could consider is so drastically smaller than his is that my contributions’ marginal benefit to each charity would be different than Gates’ is, so his donation patterns can’t be a guide.

    I decided to put this in the Meditation forum because, for those people on a limited budget at least, charity is really a discipline of compassion.
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    Jul 13, 2010 3:17 AM GMT
    My partner & I follow this general formula:

    - close to our interests, therefore gay community and/or HIV/AIDS
    - high % of money raised goes to the target charity recipients, low % to costs & overhead (one of our non-profits operates 100% directly to charity)
    - local presence, local recipients
    - opportunity for us to offer our personal services, see how they operate from inside, not just give them money blindly from afar
    - avoid combined campaigns, which gives us less say how our money is used, and that channel more money into more admin pockets
  • calibro

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    Jul 13, 2010 4:51 AM GMT
    whichever one has the best tote bag
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    Jul 13, 2010 5:07 AM GMT
    I read this thread title as "decide who charlitos donates to" and I'm like can't Charlitos do that himself icon_confused.gif
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    Jul 13, 2010 5:33 AM GMT
    Wilton saidMy partner & I follow this general formula:

    - close to our interests, therefore gay community and/or HIV/AIDS
    - high % of money raised goes to the target charity recipients, low % to costs & overhead (one of our non-profits operates 100% directly to charity)
    - local presence, local recipients
    - opportunity for us to offer our personal services, see how they operate from inside, not just give them money blindly from afar
    - avoid combined campaigns, which gives us less say how our money is used, and that channel more money into more admin pockets


    I like your strategies all sans the first one...

    I like fellow gays like anyone else but I find that there could be more unfortunate ppl out there than "our" community.

    I hate admit this but I give to homeless ppl on the regular. Even though I was raised not to give them money and ignore them, my heart aches seeing someone sleep outside and in the rain while I have a car and apartment doing very well off by their standards. I try to give whatever extra I have to those who don't ask or do ask for it even if it's out budget. It's the age old "They'll only use it for drugs/boose" but I put it on faith I'm helping them buy some food, clothes or at least get enough for some clean water.

    I would want someone to do it for me. Not quite an organized charity but I know at least I'm doing something, hopefully. Homeless ppl have away been a weak spot for me... I think maybe cause it's my worse dream come to life.
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    Jul 13, 2010 7:35 AM GMT
    I usually donate to environmental and animal causes, children in poverty in the third world, and providing prosthetic limbs for people who lost theirs due to war/torture/disease etc.... basically I picked the ones who I thought suffered the worst and needed it most...

    What I've learned in the process, is that regardless of who you donate to, be sure they are fully legit and that they dont hold back alot of the incoming donations for their own profit... I heard something like that was happening with one of the "adopt-a-child for a dollar a day" programs where you pay that amount and all the money is supposed to provide one child with food, medicine, books etc and they would have the child write letters to you and all that... when they were found out, they were forced to close down the organisation... but later on the same people just reopened another one under a different name icon_sad.gif I dont want to scare you, cause there's a lot of legit organisations, but just do your homework on them before you entrust them with your donation ;)
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    Jul 13, 2010 7:51 AM GMT
    A local United Way office realized that the organization had never received a donation from the town's most successful lawyer. The person in charge of contributions called him to persuade him to contribute.

    "Our research shows that out of a yearly income of at least $500,000, you give not a penny to charity. Wouldn't you like to give back to the community in some way?"

    The lawyer mulled this over for a moment and replied, "First, did your research also show that my mother is dying after a long illness, and has medical bills that are several times her annual income?"

    Embarrassed, the United Way rep mumbled, "Um ... no."

    The lawyer interrupts, "or that my brother, a disabled veteran, is blind and confined to a wheelchair?"

    The stricken United Way rep began to stammer out an apology, but was interrupted again.

    "or that my sister's husband died in a traffic accident," the lawyer's voice rising in indignation, "leaving her penniless with three children?!"

    The humiliated United Way rep, completely beaten, said simply, "I had no idea..."

    On a roll, the lawyer cut him off once again, "So if I don't give any money to them, why should I give any to you?"
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    Jul 13, 2010 11:57 AM GMT
    Ricovelas saidI hate admit this but I give to homeless ppl on the regular.
    Don't walk through downtown St. Petersburg, then, unless you have a couple hundred ones on you. You're going to need them, because if you give to one, the rest flock to you in 2.5 seconds.
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    Jul 13, 2010 11:59 AM GMT
    Personally, I don't give to any charities. Instead, I just help out my friends when they're down and out.
    If more people did that, there would be no need for charities. icon_wink.gif
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    Jul 13, 2010 12:27 PM GMT
    I request a financial statement and donate to those where majority of funds go to actually help charity participants.
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    Jul 13, 2010 1:01 PM GMT
    Ricovelas said
    Wilton saidMy partner & I follow this general formula:

    - close to our interests, therefore gay community and/or HIV/AIDS...
    [etc]


    I like your strategies all sans the first one...

    I like fellow gays like anyone else but I find that there could be more unfortunate ppl out there than "our" community.

    I hate admit this but I give to homeless ppl on the regular. Even though I was raised not to give them money and ignore them, my heart aches seeing someone sleep outside and in the rain while I have a car and apartment doing very well off by their standards.

    In my attempt at some brevity in my reply (for once) I did not expand on what charities in our gay community I support. Don't hate to admit you give to the homeless, because so do we. Funny, just yesterday I was at a facility for the homeless I help out, getting a TB skin test read (I was neg).

    They have one of our medical offices on site there. Because our homeless clients are considered at risk for TB, and some also have weakened immune systems, testing is done on everyone who comes into contact with them. That both protects us, but also reduces the risk of our becoming carriers and infecting this vulnerable group in return. My visit there should therefore have made me more mindful of all the areas our charities help.

    So here's some of the specific areas we assist, both directly & indirectly, when I say "gay community":

    - homeless
    - abandoned gay youth, many also homeless or living marginally
    - food bank for gay needy, including Thanksgiving & Christmas meal drives
    - drug & substance abuse treatment
    - HIV/AIDS treatment (mostly gay but all demographic groups, including pediatric)
    - outreach programs to gay youth regarding safe sex & drug use
    - gay youth counseling
    - GLBT senior citizens programs

    But I didn't mean to imply our "formula" is rigid & exclusive, just a general guide. Some of the areas above already crossover into the straight community, but we do some other things that aren't gay at all. Just as one example, we participate in a couple of "toys for tots" drives each Christmas, not only providing toys & clothing ourselves, but helping to organize one of them. I can't tell you how surrealistic I find it to be inventorying & sorting about 150 Barbie dolls according to type, though I suppose some gay guys would love it. LOL!
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    Jul 13, 2010 10:32 PM GMT
    Ricovelas saidI like fellow gays like anyone else but I find that there could be more unfortunate ppl out there than "our" community.

    I hate admit this but I give to homeless ppl on the regular. Even though I was raised not to give them money and ignore them, my heart aches seeing someone sleep outside and in the rain while I have a car and apartment doing very well off by their standards. I try to give whatever extra I have to those who don't ask or do ask for it even if it's out budget. It's the age old "They'll only use it for drugs/boose" but I put it on faith I'm helping them buy some food, clothes or at least get enough for some clean water.

    I would want someone to do it for me. Not quite an organized charity but I know at least I'm doing something, hopefully. Homeless ppl have away been a weak spot for me... I think maybe cause it's my worse dream come to life.


    Our thinking is similar. You get a certain amount of suffering-reduction per buck donated and some donations provide a better return than donating to the homeless. I donate to the homeless all the time, though, and it's because I think if you harden yourself to them you impair your tendency to practice compassion in other contexts.


    Thanks for the responses guys ^_^
  • Regina_Guy

    Posts: 406

    Jul 13, 2010 10:40 PM GMT
    Our family has a history of cancer, so we tend to make donation to the Canadian Cancer Society. We also donate money to the Hospital Foundation of Regina. They fundraise to improve medical equipment at our city hospitals.

    We also donate to Camp Fyrefly, which is a summer camp for LGBT youth.
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    Jul 13, 2010 10:48 PM GMT
    My decision is based on whether or not they first send me free address labels in the mail.
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    Jul 13, 2010 11:03 PM GMT
    http://www.charitynavigator.org/
  • safety43_mma1...

    Posts: 4251

    Jul 18, 2010 9:34 PM GMT
    i go with what has affected my life the most and then go with that. mostly it is anything animals dogs more specific and cancer. have lost many friends and family members to that disease so i holds a spot in my heart.