General, Personal Finance, Philanthropy 
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Tis The Season To Be Charitable

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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 CharityNavigator.org. 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).

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “Tis The Season To Be Charitable”

  1. FMF says:

    I prefer Samaritan’s Purse (at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/). It gets the highest rating as well.

  2. denon says:

    I’d like to second the comment on Samaritan’s Purse. They’re an excellent organization and very well run. I hope you got all of your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes sent in on time! :)

  3. monkeyjoe says:

    A man once said to me, anyone can donate money, but it takes real sacrifice to donate your time. I applaud your efforts on both fronts, but there is nothing more satisfying than donating your time and energy to a good cause.

  4. ncnblog says:

    Monkey,
    I think donating your time is great…
    I once took 10 teens to work on Habitat for Humanity Housing…
    They had a BLAST, helped build a house, and learned about
    helping others…
    Great Idea
    ncnblog.com
    PS… (The 10 teens were only able to do the “work” of
    3 or 4 grown-ups who would have know what they were doing…
    be sure that if you take kids to volunteer, that they
    are given just the right amount of responsibility)

  5. pfadvice says:

    A lot of local charities are hurting this year due to the hurricanes. People donated a lot there and aren’t donating as much this time of the year when they usually do, so every penny helps.

    On a side note, your site is displaying funny for me…the sidebar is all the way at the bottom.

  6. pfadvice says:

    lol…of course as soon as I say that, it starts displaying correctly again….go figure. I always blame things like that on being in Japan ;)

  7. Jonathan says:

    This is a very timely post for me, thanks for the CharityNavigator link, it’ll help me decide where to give this year.


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