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1. Patricia Pomerleau CEOExpressSelect Member
     Forum Moderator
     (11/8/2017 8:05:20 AM)
     Message ID #293256

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In Charles Dickens' time, the mid-1800s, the concept of [Christmas] charity really didn't exist as we know it. Many people believed the poor brought poverty upon themselves.

Today, the reverse is true, and charities abound. We give and volunteer, but should we be wary? What should we think when funds are diverted, paid staff salaries are in the six and even seven figures, and fundraising expenses approach levels of the distributions that actually reach the intended?

We like watchdogs such as journalism in general and Charity Navigator in particular that report on the goodness of giving. They use metrics like transparency in the form of leadership salaries, fund-raising expenses, and benefits to the intended, all of which measure stewardship of your donation. From the NYT:

Do your homework.

Find an organization with a clear mission and demonstrated results.

Treat your donations like your investments and have a balanced portfolio.

Above all, follow your passion, all the way to the next emergency.

That’s the advice experts give on effective giving for disaster relief. And it’s exactly the way Dr. Craig Granowitz of Morristown, N.J., approached his decision to donate more than $10,000 to help victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

A supporter of many Orthodox Jewish causes, Dr. Granowitz said that he had not normally given to disaster relief efforts. But this time he was moved to action. He contacted a rabbi he knew in New York and was referred to Rabbi Mendel Zarchi at Chabad of Puerto Rico, the local chapter of the international Jewish advocacy and educational organization.

Dr. Granowitz liked what he heard from the rabbi. 'I told him ‘I’m going to give you some money, see what you do with it, and then maybe give you some more,’' he said.

That approach, said Stacy Palmer, editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy, underscores one of the first rules of effective giving. 'Do your research,' she said. 'Our natural inclination is to say, ‘What can I do?’ and reach for our wallets. That’s the time to pause and do a few minutes of research and really make sure that the organization is doing the work you’re interested in.'

More, NYT:
What prompts you to give money or time or both to a charity?
  • Has anyone helped you if you've had a time of need? How? What form did the help take?

  • Have you paid forward or paid back help?

  • Do you respond to appeals, or do you initiate giving on your own?

  • Do you assume there will be some 'slippage' in the form of waste or corruption (the Red Cross has been in the news lately) and let it go as the cost of doing good?

  • Have you noticed similar-sounding names: Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust vs. Disabled Veterans Association? Hmmm ...

  • With government entitlements driving federal debt and deficit deeper and deeper, it appears charities — formal and informal — have to pick up the slack. What do you think?

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Message edited by user at 11/8/2017 2:36:27 PM
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