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As you open your hearts and wallets — especially during the holiday season — do you check out charities before giving?

Not if I 'know' them
I don't give to charities
Bah! Humbug!

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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

2. Noel Meyer
     (11/9/2017 6:04:41 AM)
     Message ID #293285

This message is in response to Patricia Pomerleau ( message id #293256 )  View All Related Messages

America has never enjoyed so much as now. How do you create a debt of $20 TRILLION and still not have enough to take care of problems.

That THE GOVERNMENT can no longer or no longer has a priority to help the needy but apparently has the mandate to spend all it needs to on endless war shows a conflict in priorities.

Americans need help. The mentally ill gun-related mass shootings show Americans are on their own and aren't getting the help they need. That Americans are SELF-MEDICATING with alcohol and heroin only shows again how there is ACTIVITY but few SOLUTIONS.

Charities are like MERCENARIES - stop gaps of a broken system, short-term band-aids to cover for failures in those systems.

Charities like mercenaries are necessary, even vital but if Governments are going under for the cost of dealing with the needy, how can private individuals sustain such help for very long.

Like doctors fighting plagues, help is needed.

When 1% of the population has as much wealth as the rest something is wrong. God love those who try to fill the gap and God curse those who in the name of helping scam those willing to help for their own greed.

3. D Robb
     (11/9/2017 6:42:50 AM)
     Message ID #293286

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I normally donate where I volunteer and can best judge the effectiveness of a charity, but even then I check to see how the money is spent, and how much goes to overhead. For example, I volunteer at our local Veteran’s Outreach Center but do not donate to the Wounded Warrior Project because so little goes to support veterans. Similarly, I volunteer and donate to our local food pantry, especially around this time of year.
I have been blessed in my life and never needed assistance, but there have been periods early in my marriage when we lived from pay check to pay check so I can appreciate the fear of unexpected financial demands.
During the draft the majority of soldiers were unmarried and lived in the barracks, and all their needs were met by the Army. After the draft was ended the majority of young soldiers were married, and qualified for food stamps.
The country doesn't lack the resources to take care of its own. The country lacks the desire, empathy and will to do so.

4. Polly j
     (11/9/2017 8:22:24 AM)
     Message ID #293287

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We primarilarly donate to our local area, church, and volunteer places. We also enjoy other anonymous giving. We avoid those huge organizations that only give 10% to the needy and keep the rest for salaries and "overhead".

5. Tams Bixby CEOExpressSelect Member
     (11/9/2017 8:40:12 AM)
     Message ID #293288

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First off, I don't donate to charities "UNLESS I know them" and my list is a fairly select one groomed from long association.

Second, I don't even "respond to appeals" but instead I donate "WHEN I can".

Third, I usually stipulate what/how my donation is to be used (for) within the respective charity.

And fourth, I follow up and watch how it's used after it's given.

Future donations are then given, or not, based on said charity's performance.

6. Andy White CEOExpressSelect Member
     Forum Moderator
     (11/9/2017 9:07:51 AM)
     Message ID #293289

This message is in response to Patricia Pomerleau ( message id #293256 )  View All Related Messages

I watch my charitable giving and give often to charities I know.

Just as important is not giving to charities I know.

My father, now passed on, told horror stories about how he and fellow servicemen were treated by the Red Cross back in WWII. I chalked up his stories to the fogs of war, time, and, finally, dementia. I also paid attention, because the stories started long before time influenced and dementia stole.

Fast forward. Remember Haiti? Turns out my father was right about non-response, waste, and corruption — both internal and local. One of our last discussions about respectable journalism pointed out the reliable investigative work done by ProPublica. Read what they found:

The Red Cross raised $500 million for Haiti and built six homes.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF CAMPECHE sprawls up a steep hillside in Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince. Goats rustle in trash that goes forever uncollected. Children kick a deflated volleyball in a dusty lot below a wall with a hand-painted logo of the American Red Cross.

In late 2011, the Red Cross launched a multimillion-dollar project to transform the desperately poor area, which was hit hard by the earthquake that struck Haiti the year before. The main focus of the project — called LAMIKA, an acronym in Creole for 'A Better Life in My Neighborhood' — was building hundreds of permanent homes.

Today, not one home has been built in Campeche. Many residents live in shacks made of rusty sheet metal, without access to drinkable water, electricity or basic sanitation. When it rains, their homes flood and residents bail out mud and water.

The Red Cross received an outpouring of donations after the quake, nearly half a billion dollars.

The group has publicly celebrated its work. But in fact, the Red Cross has repeatedly failed on the ground in Haiti. Confidential memos, emails from worried top officers, and accounts of a dozen frustrated and disappointed insiders show the charity has broken promises, squandered donations, and made dubious claims of success.

The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people. But the actual number of permanent homes the group has built in all of Haiti: six.
After the earthquake, Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern unveiled ambitious plans to 'develop brand-new communities.' None has ever been built.

Here's the link:
It chaps me to see the jars on the counters at Lowe's or Home Depot and to be asked when I go through the check-out line if I want to donate to the Red Cross. Nope.

Our local Food Bank, City Rescue Mission, and direct, in-hand contributions to my local Masonic lodge. That does it for me.

7. D Robb
     (11/9/2017 9:25:28 AM)
     Message ID #293290

This message is in response to Andy White ( message id #293289 )  View All Related Messages

I share your bias against the Red Cross. I used to give them blood 4-5 times a year, but they decided I had spent too much time in Europe, and won't take it anymore.

8. Joe Delcampo
     (11/9/2017 9:43:44 AM)
     Message ID #293291

This message is in response to D Robb ( message id #293286 )  View All Related Messages

WWP is back under its founders. They’ve made great strides in getting things right. However they have a long way to go to regain trust.

9. D Robb
     (11/9/2017 10:00:02 AM)
     Message ID #293292

This message is in response to Joe Delcampo ( message id #293291 )  View All Related Messages

Good to know. Thanks, Joe.

10. Thomas C CEOExpressSelect Member
     (11/9/2017 10:29:10 AM)
     Message ID #293294

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I agree with Mr. Robb, donating money is not always the answer as there are many scams in that industry.

Food pantries, helping the elderly couple down the street, even giving the addict a few bucks now and again, should be a year round effort, not limited to the "Holidays"

Small acts of kindness to fellow citizens.

My oldest daughter has volunteered at the Food Pantry for years, 1 Saturday a month. Recently she has taken up "extreme" couponing, it's actually a sport. It's all about the hunt and the rush in getting stuff for free.

All of it goes to the food pantry.

But even that place has it's scammers. Her job is to chase away the folks that pull up in an expensive SUV to "shop".
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