Volunteering and Fiscal Conservatism

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    Jan 10, 2008 7:34 PM GMT
    I am toying with the idea, but have such a hard time with this unholy marriage between the Christian right and the republicans who are supposedly fiscally conservative.

    I volunteer a lot, and I have seen the local charities do have the best means to take care of its community. A lot of the better ones don't receive federal money. They genuinely seem to be able to help the people in their community.

    Basically, my question are for any people who work at an NPO or have a charity. Does the federal government help you? And is it possible we have wed the idea of helping others with the democratic party like the republicans have wed the religious right? Is there a better way?

    Thanks, I just wonder what you honestly think. No flames, please.
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    Jan 10, 2008 8:11 PM GMT
    I spend half of my time on non-profit work and half of my time on for-profit work. I support (both financially and through direct effort) charities in the United States, UK, India, and Continental Europe.

    There are basically no fiscal incentives for charitable activities in Continental Europe while I would say that the UK and the U.S. are the best organized. That is traceable to the deductibility of charitable giving and the availability of tax exempt status to trusts and foundations. (theoretically this is the case in Europe as well but no one is masochistic enough to go into that battle).

    India is on the receiving end of a lot of charity and accepts it graciously. That work accrues fiscal benefits in the U.S. and U.K.

    I have no doubt that what is being called entrepreneurial charity or the kind of smart garage startup variety of people directly helping people is the wave of the future. There are a host of young, smart people who have thrown themselves behind quite clever interventions.

    Governments, the U.N., and even the big NGO's haven't a prayer of creating the kind of impact that clever people can on a small scale and directly.

    What is so very cool is when people who might otherwise be starting computer companies or web 2.0 startups in their garage decide that they will teach micro-commerce to women in the Himalayas instead.

    I got my start in L.A. in the 80's working in food kitchens for AIDS patients who where shut in and had no other means to eat.

    Realizing this has gotten a little off topic, I would just beg your indulgence to say that spending a part of your time working on charity is good for your business life and really for your whole life. There is nothing I would more strongly recommend to any young person (or person a whatever age).

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Jan 10, 2008 8:23 PM GMT
    Ahah!

    Here is where the rubber meets the road my friend. The Republican party as I know it is all about reducing the size and role of government, and that social programs are the province of private charity. Sounds fine, but where are those same folks when the NPO's call for funds and help?

    I used to run a small non-profit back in VA, and let me tell you, those wealty Republicans (even the ones on my board of directors) felt that they didn't need to support me because I was receiving government assistance. Mind you, government assistance, particularly over the last seven years has been a pittance, and the hoops one must jump through to receive it are mind-numbing in their complexity and requirements for compliance.

    I must say truthfully that if the government were to be taken over by a Libertarian type person, such as Rep. Paul, I would fear for the poor, the disabled, the drug-addicted, battered spouses, those suffering from fatal diseases, and generally those nonwhite, nonmale, nonhealthy, nonheterosexual persons in our society. Also, more important to me personally, for the arts and the sustainment of culture in our country. The overarching capitalism on steroids mentality we have in America has no room for anything that is not profitable. Odd for a "Christian" nation, hmmm?

    I have no faith, NONE, in the private sector to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves without being forced to do so by the government. Government is in place to curb the worst excesses of capitalism, not to crush it.
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    Jan 10, 2008 9:36 PM GMT
    A sign of the times. We think without force, the poor and unfortunate would suffer greatly because we think everyone is to greedy and selfish to contribute to their fellow man. It's sad we have such a negative view on ourselves. Sadder still we ignore all those who do contribute in the world without being told to.

    Right here in Hartford citizens feed the homeless with private food and shelter programs, also parents contribute money to assist with awards for students on their way to college. I can never understand how some people can lose all faith in humanity to be able to stand on its own feet. It's almost as if we've accepted ourselves as a drug addict addicted to government welfare and unable to function on our own.
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    Jan 10, 2008 9:48 PM GMT
    Oh, that's right, in the 19th century, and even up to the Great Depression, no one was poor or malnourished, life expectancy was actually both higher at birth and longer in years than now, and there were no epidemics or diseases to speak of. Life was paradise, all because every American gave hugely to charity....and then came that big bad welfare state, that sadly misguided FDR, and all of a sudden: poor people everywhere, hunger, starvation, disease, and unsanitary conditions.

    DAMN that welfare state.
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    Jan 10, 2008 9:49 PM GMT
    I didn't get that anyone is advocating forced charity.

    Surely my own Rockefeller Republican, libertarian, Ayn Randish leanings are at odds with some of what has been written.

    Mostly I have no doubt that when politicians advocate private charities doing the "work" of government that is code for eliminating support for cultural institutions. To my mind that is a largely Republican phenomenon traceable to the evangelical allergy to the NEA, NPR, and so forth.

    Even the Bushites, the last death rattle gasp of Nixonian nastiness, didn't finally manage to gut the arts (though I don't deny damage has been done).

    Frankly, on a cultural level America has survived much worse than the last 8 years and seen its cultural institutions grow.

    As for unbridled capitalism, here we need to agree to disagree. My ancestors were so-called "robber barons" and for their sake some pretty godforsaken places have books and rather nice conservatories. No apologies here.

    Cheers,
    Terry
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    Jan 11, 2008 3:47 AM GMT
    Jarhead:
    Thanks for the info. Do you think that the ineffectiveness of the government helps or hurts NPOs? Especially if your fat republican friends (fat is just an assumption) use that as a way to shoot down your support. I just saw the government was insufficient, so how did you make ends meet?

    Trance: I really do agree we have lost the our sense of wonder at the human spirit. Is it possible our current sense of capitalism stifles our desire to help others?

    Ursamajor, thanks for the input too. I really appreciate it. I have definitely seen people use unique necessities of the area to meet the needs of the area.

    jprichva, no one ever said that there was no poverty before the New Deal. You took Trance's positive thoughts about the human spirit and were negative. Give people a break.
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    Jan 11, 2008 4:46 AM GMT
    I have generally believed that 'That government is best which governs least'; however I also realise that there are many problems that are far to large for most charities to have any effect.

    In the case of the US federal Governments role in being a provider of a welfare state and charitable giving...

    In 2006, according to the National Priorities Project, your tax dollars were spent on roughly the following:

    Military ($558 billion) includes the function area (referring to government categories) national defense, the sub-function area international military assistance, and Iraq War-related spending in the Executive Office of the President.

    Health ($428.5 billion) is the federal funds portion of all health spending by the federal government, including the federal funds spending on Medicare.

    Interest on the Debt ($398.6 billion) refers to the interest payments paid on the national debt. The military share of the interest payment is based on the average historical share of national defense spending. Since interest payments are on the debt which has been accumulated over time, the allocation of shares between military and non-military spending takes this into account.

    Income Security ($123.5 billion) includes federal funds outlays on the function area income security with the exception of housing assistance, and food and nutrition assistance, which are separately illustrated on the graph. This category includes Supplemental Security Income ($38 billion) which provides cash assistance to disabled, elderly and blind who have very low incomes; payments where Earned Income Tax Credit exceeds tax liability ($34.6 billion); Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ($17.4 billion); payments where child credit exceeds tax liability ($14.6 billion); foster care and adoption assistance ($6.4 billion); child care spending and a variety of other small programs for children and families.

    Education ($93.2 billion) includes all federal funds outlays on elementary, secondary, and vocational education, higher education, and research and general education aids, subfunctions defined by the government.

    Veterans’ Benefits and Services ($68.9 billion) includes the federal funds portion of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and any other federal funds spending on the function area veterans’ benefits and services.

    Nutrition ($53.9 billion) includes any federal funds outlays classified as food and nutrition assistance, including the Food Stamp program, all child nutrition programs (such as the National School Lunch Program) and others.

    Housing ($38.3 billion) includes all federal funds outlays defined by the federal government as housing assistance.

    Natural Resources and the Environment ($31.3 billion) includes all spending on the government-defined function area natural resources and the environment.

    Job Training ($6 billion) includes the total for training and employment services as defined by the government.

    Other ($254.8 billion) includes everything else not listed above and is comprised of the following function and subfunction areas: international affairs outside of international security assistance (included above in military); general science, space and technology; energy; agriculture; commerce and housing credit; transportation; community and regional development; labor and social services outside of training and employment services; justice; general government; and undistributed offsetting receipts.

    As you can see, the amount that is actually spent on what most people would consider to be 'charitable' endeavors is extremely small; especially when you remove payments made from the SS trusts from the equation.

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    Jan 11, 2008 5:19 AM GMT
    Sickothesame,

    Focusing on your questions to folks with NGO experience... "Does the federal government help you? And is it possible we have wed the idea of helping others with the democratic party like the republicans have wed the religious right? Is there a better way?"

    (Disclaimer re: brevity...this topic is the subject of studies, papers, books, even courses)

    Robert Putnam's Bowling Along and Better Together shed interesting and valuable insight into this.

    I've been involved with charities for 31 years, mostly as a chief executive (just means I have experience, doesn't mean I know any more or less than anyone else).

    The areas I've been involved with are disaster preparedness and relief, international humanitarian law, cultural diversity, biomedical services, child sexual abuse prevention and response, homeless, hiv/aids prevention and care, refugees, prisoners of war, youth deliquency prevention, community reintegration, and animal protection and law.

    The answer to your first question is yes and no. Our society necessitates a marriage of public (federal, state and local) and private entities to strenghten and evolve the Nation's "safety net." One cannot do without the other. Sure, there are problems, but overall, the marriage works. There is a downside that many would argue re: government-subsidized social services -- mostly, that an increased government role in people's ability to survive actually diminishes their capacity to survive. However, are we a Nation that will let the most vulnerable among us perish when we can prevent it?

    The answer to your second question is no. Charity (helping those less forunate than ourselves) is intrinsic to the American character. It must not be hijacked by any political party nor should "family values" be hijacked (all cultures value family). Your question compares a "thing" (charity) with a "person" (Religious Right). Perhaps, it should be posed as charity vs. religion for the comparison. I propose that there are just as many Democrats who practice religion as there are Republicans, but Democrats ceded this political ploy to Republicans in the Reagan years. Jimmy Carter was probably the most religious president of the last fifty years, but he did not politicize it.

    The answer to your third question is yes. We need to focus on cause and effect and demand our social and political leaders to do the same. Consumerism, followed by narcissism, will be our downfall unless we work toward higher ideals.

    The politicians, via soundbites, are obsessed with stating what their opponents did, but never state why they did it, and what happened as a result.

    Certainly, we can identify so much that is bad in our society, but there is much more that is good. The key is to identify trends. Overall, is the public/private sector partnership beneficial to enhancing one's quality of life? I say yes. Can it be improved? I say absolutely.

    Again, please indulge my lengthy reply. ;-)

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 17, 2011 6:33 AM GMT
    volunteerism and democracy are antithetical notions (yes notions) . . .

    . . . the democracy notion presumes intellectual parity, but volunteerism presumes hierarchy . . .

    . . . why do you volunteer? . . .because you are a misanthrope . . . live with it dude, and stop being a faceless maunderer . . .


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    Sep 17, 2011 7:16 AM GMT
    noren saidvolunteerism and democracy are antithetical notions (yes notions) . . .

    . . . the democracy notion presumes intellectual parity, but volunteerism presumes hierarchy . . .

    . . . why do you volunteer? . . .because you are a misanthrope . . . live with it dude, and stop being a faceless maunderer . . .




    Show me where the bad liberal touched you.
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    Sep 17, 2011 3:30 PM GMT
    Trollileo said
    RedheadedRy said
    noren saidvolunteerism and democracy are antithetical notions (yes notions) . . .

    . . . the democracy notion presumes intellectual parity, but volunteerism presumes hierarchy . . .

    . . . why do you volunteer? . . .because you are a misanthrope . . . live with it dude, and stop being a faceless maunderer . . .

    Show me where the bad liberal touched you.
    toy-story-woody-doll.jpg
    Show us on the Woody doll.
    LMAO.. c'mon guys.. be nice! Noren is off his meds again. icon_wink.gificon_lol.gif (damn.. they need a 'snicker' emoticon)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 17, 2011 3:32 PM GMT
    RedheadedRy said
    noren saidvolunteerism and democracy are antithetical notions (yes notions) . . .

    . . . the democracy notion presumes intellectual parity, but volunteerism presumes hierarchy . . .

    . . . why do you volunteer? . . .because you are a misanthrope . . . live with it dude, and stop being a faceless maunderer . . .




    Show me where the bad liberal touched you.


    I wanna be bad touched!
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    Sep 17, 2011 3:34 PM GMT
    The_Guerrilla_Sodomite said
    RedheadedRy said
    noren saidvolunteerism and democracy are antithetical notions (yes notions) . . .

    . . . the democracy notion presumes intellectual parity, but volunteerism presumes hierarchy . . .

    . . . why do you volunteer? . . .because you are a misanthrope . . . live with it dude, and stop being a faceless maunderer . . .




    Show me where the bad liberal touched you.


    I wanna be bad touched!
    come hither!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 17, 2011 3:45 PM GMT
    TropicalMark said
    Trollileo said
    RedheadedRy said
    noren saidvolunteerism and democracy are antithetical notions (yes notions) . . .

    . . . the democracy notion presumes intellectual parity, but volunteerism presumes hierarchy . . .

    . . . why do you volunteer? . . .because you are a misanthrope . . . live with it dude, and stop being a faceless maunderer . . .

    Show me where the bad liberal touched you.
    toy-story-woody-doll.jpg
    Show us on the Woody doll.
    LMAO.. c'mon guys.. be nice! Noren is off his meds again. icon_wink.gificon_lol.gif (damn.. they need a 'snicker' emoticon)

    Constipation.jpg
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    Sep 17, 2011 11:09 PM GMT
    sickothesame saidI am toying with the idea, but have such a hard time with this unholy marriage between the Christian right and the republicans who are supposedly fiscally conservative.

    I volunteer a lot, and I have seen the local charities do have the best means to take care of its community. A lot of the better ones don't receive federal money. They genuinely seem to be able to help the people in their community.

    Basically, my question are for any people who work at an NPO or have a charity. Does the federal government help you? And is it possible we have wed the idea of helping others with the democratic party like the republicans have wed the religious right? Is there a better way?

    Thanks, I just wonder what you honestly think. No flames, please.



    The AIDS Service Organization I work with is federally funded completely and solely.

    Community fundraising accounts for an amount roughly equal to 15-20% of our federal funding.

    We receive no municipal or provincial funding.
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    Sep 18, 2011 4:29 AM GMT
    noren saidvolunteerism and democracy are antithetical notions (yes notions) . . .

    . . . the democracy notion presumes intellectual parity, but volunteerism presumes hierarchy . . .

    . . . why do you volunteer? . . .because you are a misanthrope . . . live with it dude, and stop being a faceless maunderer . . .




    Wow! You really dug up an old one, Noren! icon_biggrin.gif

    I volunteer about 150 hours per month with the local chapter of my professional association. I am basically the unpaid CEO, and also the Chief Governance Officer of the organization which serves a professional community of over 2,500 member/owners. We are fully self funded from surplus generating programs. I believe in surplus budgeting so that programs can expand and make a greater difference in perpetuity.

    I volunteer because I would rather do "work" for free which I love, than to work for money doing that which I can't stand.

    Also, I'm going to die and I need to make as much of a difference as I can before that happens. I won't be able to make a difference once I'm dead unless they feed my body to the dogs, the vultures, or the fishes.
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    Sep 18, 2011 12:58 PM GMT
    veniceman saidSickothesame,


    The answer to your second question is no. Charity (helping those less forunate than ourselves) is intrinsic to the American character. It must not be hijacked by any political party nor should "family values" be hijacked (all cultures value family). Your question compares a "thing" (charity) with a "person" (Religious Right). Perhaps, it should be posed as charity vs. religion for the comparison. I propose that there are just as many Democrats who practice religion as there are Republicans, but Democrats ceded this political ploy to Republicans in the Reagan years.




    I think this is a wonderful politically correct answer, but as with most politically correct answers, it's false. In every organization I've ever volunteered with, I can't remember meeting a single Republican. I'm sure they exist but the numbers (from my experience) are minuscule. They will however throw money at a problem so they can deduct it from their taxes.