Dieuwer
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Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:07 am

Seeing more and more instances of charities asking for donations (at the front of the supermarket, at the checkout register, in the mail, etc.) I wonder: "How do you know your donation actually has a measurable, fact-based impact in the field the charity operates?
For example: how do you know your donation to the Breast Cancer Society factually will bring a cure much closer, instead of filling the pockets of another crony or billionaire? Talk is cheap: representatives of a charity can say whatever they like. Doesn't mean your donation will actually have any measurable impact.
 
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fr8mech
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:25 am

I don't donate money to any charity "on the street". I buy Girl Scout cookies, Scout BSA (Boy Scouts) popcorn, and give to the firefighters collecting for Metro United Way.

I give money to various established organizations.
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Ken777
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:11 am

We give to LLS because my wife had close to 2 years fighting Leukemia AND they have achieved a lot with their funding of research. I've talked to a guy at the VA Clinic who went through the Wounded Warrior Project and was sufficiently impressed that I'll send money now and then. I also joined the DAV and have taken food baskets at their local office now and then, but wouldn't be surprised if the people in the small office kept the food. I get around $50 in $1 bills at Christmas and feed a few into each Salvo Red Kettle I pass - feel if they are standing out in the cold it's the least I can do.

The most important place I spend money is in tipping. I know how poorly the people serving food are paid and I go 25% or higher for tipping, rounding that up to the next dollar.
 
SanDiegoLover
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:20 am

Dieuwer wrote:
Seeing more and more instances of charities asking for donations (at the front of the supermarket, at the checkout register, in the mail, etc.) I wonder: "How do you know your donation actually has a measurable, fact-based impact in the field the charity operates?
For example: how do you know your donation to the Breast Cancer Society factually will bring a cure much closer, instead of filling the pockets of another crony or billionaire? Talk is cheap: representatives of a charity can say whatever they like. Doesn't mean your donation will actually have any measurable impact.


Do your homework. Or check them out on sites like https://www.charitynavigator.org/
 
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Aesma
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:24 am

If any kind of religion or cult is involved, I stay far away.

Also, I only give to established charities that I have researched, have transparent books, have mostly volunteers and little overhead.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
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Pellegrine
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:23 am

Go Fund Me charges 2.9% of the donation straight to their coffers + a $0.30 fee. So those small donations really are going straight to their bank account. If you have to raise money locally amongst a tight-knit community or family I would not use Go Fund Me.
oh boy, here we go!!!
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:07 am

If you want the biggest bang for your buck, then donate to charities giving out mosquito nets to poor people, like in some regions in Africa. That is the number one effective way to safe lives.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
LittleSprocket
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:28 pm

I wouldn’t say all charities are scams but I’d definitely be weary of any that actively seek out your money, whether it’s at the grocery store or through social media. I personally donate to the local children’s hospital as well as to St. Jude’s. I know that what I’m donating to is going to a good cause. There is one additional one that is close to my heart, it’s called the Gary Sinise Foundation. They do a lot for veterans and first responders in need.

A few years back I saw a page where it discussed popular charities where the majority of the donations went to making the board members rich. I can’t find it right now but I believe that the United Way was one of the worst offenders.
 
LittleSprocket
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:35 pm

LittleSprocket wrote:
I wouldn’t say all charities are scams but I’d definitely be weary of any that actively seek out your money, whether it’s at the grocery store or through social media. I personally donate to the local children’s hospital as well as to St. Jude’s. I know that what I’m donating to is going to a good cause. There is one additional one that is close to my heart, it’s called the Gary Sinise Foundation. They do a lot for veterans and first responders in need.

A few years back I saw a page where it discussed popular charities where the majority of the donations went to making the board members rich. I can’t find it right now but I believe that the United Way was one of the worst offenders.


Scratch what I stated about United Way, their total admin expenses are only 16%. What I found was that the CEO was ranked 7th highest paid for CEO’s of charities at just under $1,000,000 per year.
 
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casinterest
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:15 pm

Dieuwer wrote:
Seeing more and more instances of charities asking for donations (at the front of the supermarket, at the checkout register, in the mail, etc.) I wonder: "How do you know your donation actually has a measurable, fact-based impact in the field the charity operates?
For example: how do you know your donation to the Breast Cancer Society factually will bring a cure much closer, instead of filling the pockets of another crony or billionaire? Talk is cheap: representatives of a charity can say whatever they like. Doesn't mean your donation will actually have any measurable impact.


You usually don't know at the time. Charity is by default a trust based voluntary effort by yourself or an organization. You can hope that those that are running the charity are doing so with true intentions, and not just to profiteer off of people's good natures. Give what you can afford, and hope that it comes back some day.

Every now and then you will see that new research has yielded advances in Cancer, you may see a habitat for humanity home go up, you may see charitable organizations cleaning the side of the road.
The act of giving has an effect one everyone, and everyone can give more.

One time i saw a bunch of teenagers that couldn't fill up their car for some weird reason( probably blew it on sodas or other stuff). So I filled their car up and sent them on their way. I am not going to get anything from that other than doing something good( which is important), but they got home, and they got a good story to tell for a bit.
Where ever you go, there you are.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:34 pm

In my country, charities have to publish their finances. There is an annual event where high schools collect money for a day for one charity. Long story short, my high school decided to force us all to participate. A bunch of us were a bit disgruntled at this, and looked into their finances. Turned out 50% of the donations went to "administrative costs", and a fair amount of the remainder went to parties. That was the final year that school participated in the event.
 
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einsteinboricua
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:50 pm

Dieuwer wrote:
Seeing more and more instances of charities asking for donations (at the front of the supermarket, at the checkout register, in the mail, etc.) I wonder: "How do you know your donation actually has a measurable, fact-based impact in the field the charity operates?
For example: how do you know your donation to the Breast Cancer Society factually will bring a cure much closer, instead of filling the pockets of another crony or billionaire? Talk is cheap: representatives of a charity can say whatever they like. Doesn't mean your donation will actually have any measurable impact.

By definition, any non-profit charity foundation must make its records public if they've qualified for tax-exempt status. That way you can tell how much is going into overhead and how much is going towards its cause(s).

Pellegrine wrote:
Go Fund Me charges 2.9% of the donation straight to their coffers + a $0.30 fee. So those small donations really are going straight to their bank account. If you have to raise money locally amongst a tight-knit community or family I would not use Go Fund Me.

Nothing is ever free, so it makes sense that a website designed to collect funds would try to charge something for their services. Besides, GoFundMe isn't the charity but rather the vehicle to establish a charity.

fr8mech wrote:
I give money to various established organizations.
Even established organizations can become murkier than expected, and if not, just their cause can make people question its impact. Planned Parenthood and the NRA are two examples.

As for me, the only non-profit I give money out to on a regular basis is my engineering honor society, but only because I'm a member, I'm a facilitator (so I work with them), and I know where the money is going to. The only other charity I would give money to is St. Jude's. But other charities, especially those that try to guilt me into donating or make me feel bad...they stay on my "No" list. As an example, I know UNICEF is an established fund and I have nothing against them or their spokespeople, but the commercial with Alyssa Milano with a boy crying...nope. You're telling me you film them doing the stuff you want to help them steer clear of? And then use sad imagery? Convince me of your mission; don't guilt me into it.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
Dieuwer
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:59 pm

I suggest everyone reads my first post again. Especially the part about "measurable, fact-based impact".
 
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casinterest
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:35 pm

Dieuwer wrote:
I suggest everyone reads my first post again. Especially the part about "measurable, fact-based impact".


Charity is not about measurable , fact-based impact. You either volunteer your time or money if it matters to you. Your measure and facts are going to be different than everyone else.
Where ever you go, there you are.
 
Dieuwer
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:15 pm

casinterest wrote:
Dieuwer wrote:
I suggest everyone reads my first post again. Especially the part about "measurable, fact-based impact".


Charity is not about measurable , fact-based impact. You either volunteer your time or money if it matters to you. Your measure and facts are going to be different than everyone else.


Sorry, but in the age of "Fake News" and "Alternative Facts" I want real proof and real facts before donating to a charity. I am not interested in being hoodwinked by a tear-jerking phony TV commercial.
 
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einsteinboricua
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:34 pm

Dieuwer wrote:
I am not interested in being hoodwinked by a tear-jerking phony TV commercial.

Well, this is one instance where it's appropriate to say "search for it yourself". None of us are representatives of said charities/orgs so it's not up to us to answer questions. At most, all we can do is give our perspective but that's also subjective.

I may brag about how Planned Parenthood is an excellent cause to give to (I get tested through them) but you may have a different opinion, which, depending on how it's based and how open minded you are, I may be able to change.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
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casinterest
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:36 pm

Dieuwer wrote:
casinterest wrote:
Dieuwer wrote:
I suggest everyone reads my first post again. Especially the part about "measurable, fact-based impact".


Charity is not about measurable , fact-based impact. You either volunteer your time or money if it matters to you. Your measure and facts are going to be different than everyone else.


Sorry, but in the age of "Fake News" and "Alternative Facts" I want real proof and real facts before donating to a charity. I am not interested in being hoodwinked by a tear-jerking phony TV commercial.

Then start your own. Charity begins with yourself. You want to be sure, then you provide the charity.
Where ever you go, there you are.
 
B777LRF
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:28 am

Charities are one of the few "industries" which are allowed to cold-call private individuals in my country. They are regular callers or, rather, they used to be; I think they've cottoned on the fact I'm a nuisance.

You see, every time they called me my first question would be "How much of your collections goes to cover overheads"? and while the caller is looking up her script for an answer, I'll have googled the number and laid it bare. It usually comes as a shock to them, and the call is quickly ended. Another favourite tactic when someone calls and ask for money 'to Africa', I ask them "How many times have you been to Africa"? The answer is usually zero, after which I tell them of my experiences in SSA and, just for good measure, throw in the fact 'we' have been sending them billions upon billions over the last 50 years, for little to no apparent good.

There's one charity I support, and it's one I've set up myself with a couple of former colleagues. We pay all costs associated with a boarding school for orphaned kids between 0 and 16 in Asia and, for those students who have pass the entry exam, we pay for their education through college. The total overheads are a big fat zero, and all the money we donate are coming straight out of our own pockets. We don't solicit, not even from family members, and we keep our contributions as far off the radar as is possible. We're not doing this to look good or gain brownie points; we're doing it to make the lives of a small handful of children a little bit better, nothing more or less.

One of 'our' first kids is making her way through medical school and is still involved in the boarding school, to the point of having organised bi-annual check-ups of all the kids. And, yes, we cover medical expenses too.

So if you wish to make a difference through charity, here's an idea: Start your own. There are plenty of worthy causes to pick from, and you certainly don't have to be either rich, clever or have too much free time available. For us it all started with a business trip to the country in question, where we witnessed first hand the effect a small charity can have. Our annual donations are around 1K USD each for the 6 of us, which is more than enough to cover housing, feeding, schooling and medical expenses for 25 kids, a headmistress and a teacher. It also covers the mandatory bribes to the local plod which, sad as it is, is one of those things one must simple accept in order to "do business" in this area of the world.

I'd rather burn a thousand bucks than give them to the likes of Oxfam, MsF or the IRC.
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Pellegrine
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Re: Charitable donations: Real impact or scam?

Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:24 am

Pellegrine wrote:
Go Fund Me charges 2.9% of the donation straight to their coffers + a $0.30 fee. So those small donations really are going straight to their bank account. If you have to raise money locally amongst a tight-knit community or family I would not use Go Fund Me.

Nothing is ever free, so it makes sense that a website designed to collect funds would try to charge something for their services. Besides, GoFundMe isn't the charity but rather the vehicle to establish a charity.

I'm saying a tight-knit unit like a family tragedy. It doesn't make sense to use Go Fund Me for that. They take too much. Just ask for checks and cash.
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