Devil's Advocate 

Don’t Donate Money To Charity

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This is a Devil's Advocate post.

Donation BoxThis Devil’s Advocate post will cover something that’s bound to elicit a lot of discussion – here are four reasons why you shouldn’t donate money to charity. That’s right, you read that correctly, I have four reasons why donating your hard earned money to a charity is a bad idea and chances are there is at least one reason here that you didn’t even consider. If there was ever a Devil’s Advocate post to end all Devil’s Advocate posts (don’t worry, it’s not the last one), this would probably be one of them!

Americans are one of the most charitable groups in the world, having donating $306 billion in 2007 according to the Philanthropy Journal, an increase of 3.9% over the year before. While the donation amounts in 2008, a period of economic uncertainty, are not yet known, chances are Americans will still be sending hundreds of billions to philanthropic organizations… so in the face of that, I present to you four reasons why you shouldn’t donate money to charity.

(Click to continue reading…)


Fight Poverty: Donate to Food Banks

Today, October 15th, 2008, is Blog Action Day. It’s a day when over 2,000 bloggers, myself included, will direct the conversation towards a subject that needs greater attention – poverty.

Here in the United States, there is defined “poverty line” (also known as a poverty threshold) published by the Census Bureau for statistical purposes and the Department of Health and Human Services for administrative purposes. That poverty line is used for a variety of benefit calculations and for 2008 it’s set at $10,400 for an individual in the 48 contiguous states. $10,400… that’s it. That’s $866.67 a month.

The federal minimum wage is currently set at $6.55 an hour (effective July 27th, 2008; though increasing to $7.25 an hour July 24th, 2009). If you take a “standard” 2,000 hour work-year (though most work far more to subsist), that’s $13,100 – or a mere $2700 above the poverty line.

In a world where CEOs get hundreds of millions of dollars, can’t we as a society do something about it?

Don’t worry. This isn’t a post about hating CEOs, celebrities, athletes or anyone else who succeeds, public record has shown that many are doing a tremendous amount in terms of giving back. What I’m mean is that we should do more to help our fellow American. Consider donating to your local food bank. With Thanksgiving on the horizon and the holidays coming up, food banks will be under a tremendous amount of strain and they need our help.

The $10 you thought about donating to Barack Obama or John McCain’s presidential campaign? Send that to your local food bank, it will directly impact several lives in your community. The $50 you wanted to send to the American Cancer Society? Consider a food bank or soup kitchen. You aren’t worried about cancer if you don’t know where your next meal will come from. I know the recent financial turmoil has probably made you reconsider your charitable contributions this year, that’s perfectly normal. You are not alone. However, you don’t have to donate $100 or $50 or even $10 to make an impact.

$5 can go a very long way.

Find a local food bank.
Feeding America

 Personal Finance 

My Favorite Charities

NCN asked for everyone to name their favorite charity and it was difficult to choose only one so I’m going to list all the ones I support on any significant level.

Make A Wish Foundation – I’d known about them before my friend Scott started doing his Charitable Ghent Bar Tours down in Norfolk, VA and always thought their mission was very admirable. My friend Scott has been running a bar tour for a few years that has raised a significant amount for the Make A Wish Foundation and I was happy to play a small part in that. This year marks the first year in which they’ll be doing a pub crawl in downtown Norfolk, this time for benefit of the ALS Association.

American Cancer Society – I don’t really have much I can say about this other than I support the work that they do and hope that everyone recognizes that cancer is a disease that affects everyone. Under the simple premise that cancer develops after a cell replication/mutation goes horribly wrong, you can see how no one is safe unless we figure out a cure for this.

There are a few more that we support as well but those I believe are the big two. If you’re looking for a charity to support, Charity Navigator is a great place to compare them.

 Personal Finance 

American Cancer Society Charity Drive

When I grew up, I never really thought about donating my hard earned money towards any sort of charity or cause outside of buying some raffle tickets or dropping a dollar or two into the Salvation Army bucket. Now that I’m a little bit older and with a little more discretionary income, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of “large donations” (anytime you pull out a check or a credit card, I consider that large) because a lot of organizations rely on that income in order to continue to do their good works.

So, as I’ve done in the past, I’ll be donating money to the American Cancer Society and I ask that you find it in yourself to put a little bit extra in their stocking as well. Why the ACS and not some other organization? My grandmother suffered from and ultimately succumbed to cancer several years ago when I was in college and so it’s a cause I find myself easily supporting.

Originally, I was trying to get other personal finance bloggers to chip in $100 to the ACS and I was going to do a series of posts highlighting those bloggers but perhaps due to the Thanksgiving holiday or bad timing, only four bloggers took me up on the offer. So, I wanted to especially thank Ricemutt of Experiglot, Tricia at Blogging Away Debt and Nickel at Five Cent Nickel, all of whom sent generous donations to the ACS without even asking what was up my sleeve. I also wanted to thank Blunt Money for telling me that she would chip in some once I solidified what I was going to do.

So instead of a “twelve days of giving” as I originally planned, I’m just going to ask you all to find it in your hearts send a little money towards the ACS this holiday season. I’ll also be compiling a list of donors after the jump. (there are also the rules for appearing after the jump)

Donate To The American Cancer Society

Rules For Donor List:
Readers: If you’re just a reader, just send me an email of how much you’ve donated to the ACS and whether this post led you to donate and I’ll put you on the list (You can say you’re Mike from Baltimore if you’d like).
Bloggers: If you are a blogger and want to appear on the list, plus a link, simply send me a screenshot (you can blank out everything except your name, the date and the amount) of your donation over $20 to the ACS and you will be listed. I also ask that you link to this charity drive post as well. (If you don’t care about the link, just send in your info like a reader) Thanks!

Donate To The American Cancer Society

Total Contributions: $1170

Generous Donors:

  1. Ricemutt of Experiglot – $100
  2. Tricia at Blogging Away Debt – $100
  3. Nickel at Five Cent Nickel – $100
  4. Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity – $500
  5. Blunt Money at Blunt Money – $100
  6. Frugal Frugalson at Picking Up Nickels – $250
  7. Hydroponics & Grow Lights – $20

Thank you!

 General, Personal Finance, Philanthropy 

Tis The Season To Be Charitable

This was the first year I ever donated anything financially substantial ($200+) to a charitable organization mostly because financial philanthropy wasn’t something instilled in me as a child at no fault of my parents (my father bought a one-way ticket from Taiwan to the U.S. and when asked “What happens if it doesn’t work out?” he responded “It has to.”). I had donated my time to local hospitals, various drives, and naturally some pints of blood but never straight up cash. But in reading an article in the news today, I saw that various health/medical charities received tons of money for research but not as much to fund things like screenings and tests – considered an overlooked “niche.” I was surprised only in that I didn’t even think about it like that.

When I sent a donation to the American Cancer Society (and the Red Cross for Katrina), I wanted it to go towards research… to find a cure for cancer. But as the article pointed out, it’s hard to see the “results” of your donation. The ACS does a great job of explaining what your money funds –

– A donation of $250 funds 83 hours of service at our toll-free National Cancer Information Center
– $1,000 can ease the financial burden of a patient needing lodging near a cancer treatment center
– $2,500 can provide 25 breast cancer patients with support from trained survivors through our Reach to Recovery program

from ACS website

But if you were to take that same money and donate it to an organization offering free screenings/examinations or free lodging or something like that, you know that your money will be used to possibly help identify cancer at an early stage and quite possibly save someone’s life.

A great resource for finding out more about charities is I highly recommend this resource even though, sadly, I found out that the American Cancer Society is a relatively inefficient organization (however, the American Red Cross is great). 🙁 But… two organizations I am familiar with have four star ratings: Make-A-Wish Foundation International and Locks of Love (I never heard of them until my girlfriend donated some of her hair to them).

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