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I Donate and this annoys me

Discussion in 'TUG Lounge' started by Panina, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. Panina

    Panina TUG Review Crew: Elite TUG Member

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    I recently donated to a well know charity that I never gave to before. Within a few weeks, twice, I received address labels, notepad and stickers asking for another donation.

    Obviously money is spent to send out these freebies instead of using all of my donation for the intended purpose. My guess is they do this as they get more donations this way.

    So I let it go and now I am constantly getting freebies from other organizations asking for donations. This annoys me as it is obvious this well know charity sold my contact information.

    Ultimately I will not be mailing in any future donations to these larger charities. Instead I will do what I did before, write checks out to local charities especially the food bank and get gifts for disadvantaged children for the holidays. At least they keep my information private.
     
  2. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I've had that happen to me as well. Worst of all are the demanding email solicitations, asking for additional donations. They seem to be arriving every other day. One big recent annoyance was from a PBS station. I purchased something from their online store as a gift, and I've been inundated with demands to donate ever since. I finally sent them a NASTY email demanding they lay off. We'll see if it helps.

    My favorite place to donate is an underfunded local charity that helps homeless people trying to reintegrate into society. I give them cash and supplies when I can, and periodically purchase blankets and socks for them to give to homeless people who are still living on the street. When my coworkers sell cookie dough as fundraisers for their kid's schools and sports teams, I'll buy several boxes of dough. When it's delivered to me, I turn around and deliver it to the charity, so they can offer a treat to the people they make food for each day. It's a double-win doing it that way. (Triple-win, if you consider I don't eat all those fresh-baked cookies...)

    I find a certain amount of comfort in purchasing a dozen blankets every few months and dropping them off at the charity facility's office. They always offer me a card so I can deduct it from my taxes, but I always decline that. I don't donate to try and lessen my taxes, I donate because it's a nice thing to do. I know I can't fix the lives of those caught in that situation, but at least I can help provide something that'll make their lives more comfortable, without enabling bad behavior.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
  3. klpca

    klpca TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I totally agree. There's one organization that I probably should donate more than I do but once you give them anything they just bombard you with more requests. Now I do anonymous cash donations.

    A friend's child passed away while in college. We gave a generous donation to the university in their honor. Now we receive all kinds of mail from this university. Some asking for donations (we are happy to give to continue the scholarship in their name) but others are things such as information about the university's alumni. I have no interest. It's kind of annoying. How can they not know this?
     
  4. RonB

    RonB TUG Member

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    I only donate anonymously now or do volunteer work.
     
  5. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I also donate to local organizations like the Lion's Club and the library, as well as an environmental one and food bank.

    There are some others that are not local, but- yes- very annoying as we constantly get mail solicitations and "gifts".

    Other than that we donate through myhusband's payroll as his company matches it.
     
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  6. Gypsy65

    Gypsy65 TUG Member

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    I think it’s like the guy who hits on every woman in the bar
    Eventually one will say yes

    Same here
    If they hit up everyone they’ll eventually get a bite
     
  7. basham

    basham TUG Member

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    My wife votes an an independent. She gives very small amounts to the candidates she thinks more closely aligns with her values. On occasion, very early in our marriage she asked who I liked, since I was never able to vote in US elections, and voted that way. Ross Perot broke her of that.

    The downside is the constant begging for money from all political parties. Much worse than the charities and others. Now most of that mail goes in the trash and nomorobo helps with the phone calls.
     
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  8. pedro47

    pedro47 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I only donate to charity organization that donate 90% to the actual disaster and charged 10% toward administrative costs.
     
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  9. bogey21

    bogey21 TUG Member

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    I solve the problem of multiple solicitations by giving to only one charity, The Union Gospel Mission of Fort Worth. I contribute monthly. I check on what they are doing with my money by walking over to their facility, looking around and talking to staff and those they are helping once every 3 months or so. It doesn't look like they have shared my name and address with other charities. Maybe they don't want to diminish my contributions to them...

    George
     
  10. amycurl

    amycurl TUG Member

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    This is not the best way evaluate effectiveness. What is the definition of "administrative costs?" The cost of staff to run the after-school program? The electricity needed to keep the lights on in the building? The marketing so that the community knows the service is available? The costs to translate the permission forms into Spanish? The cost of health insurance for employees so that the organization can keep well-trained, effective staff and not keep losing them to other organizations?

    The best way is to evaluate impact. What has the organization actually accomplished? What are they trying to change? How will they know they've moved the needle on that? None of those answers have to do with an arbitrary percentage that goes towards ill-defined "administrative/overhead" costs.

    Here's two thought-provoking resources regarding the nonprofit world. I would especially encourage folks to follow Vu's blog on the regular. (This week's "Nonprofit Haunted House" is especially good.)
    https://nonprofitaf.com/

    This guy is a bit more controversial, but it definitely sheds a light on the unrealistic frames the wider culture often uses to evaluate nonprofits:
    https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong?language=en
     
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  11. davidvel

    davidvel TUG Member

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    I think the 10% Pedro is referring to are the administrative costs in raising, collecting and distributing money much of which is paid to the charity staff and "leaders", and the 90% refers to the costs of the core services being provided.

    Obviously the core services have certain overhead directly tied to them. You have to have electricity for kids to play in a gym, so these would be considered core service costs:

    - The cost of staff to run the after-school program
    - The electricity needed to keep the lights on in the building
    -The costs to translate the permission forms into Spanish

    More grey are these costs, depending if they are for fundraising vs. actually for the core service itself:
    -The marketing so that the community knows the service is available
    -The cost of health insurance for employees so that the organization can keep well-trained, effective staff and not keep losing them to other organizations

    Obviously it all depends on the type of services being provided, and some groups fudge the categories.
     
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  12. amycurl

    amycurl TUG Member

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    Because it is *all* grey area. And this is why it is waaaay more important to look at the impact that the organization is having, not an arbitrary (and highly subjective) budget percentage. Because if the "core services" aren't effective, it makes no difference if 90% of the budget is going towards them.
     
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  13. T_R_Oglodyte

    T_R_Oglodyte TUG Lifetime Member

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    We donate between 10% and 20% of our income. We donate to organizations that we know, where we know our donations will make a difference. After our local church our biggest recipients are two local agencies providing homeless relief (including our local Union Gospel Mission) and a couple of organization we have been personally involved with that work impoverished indigenous people in Central America.

    One of our key criteria is that we don't support organizations that simply hand out money. The focus must be on breaking the cycles and cultures of poverty, not enabling the perpetuation of dysfunction.

    I got a big awakening with that concept with one of the Guatemalan organizations we work with prior to a trip. In our orientation and training they were very explicit that we were to give nothing to the people we were working with in the villages. Even if we saw a barefoot child desperately in need of shoes, and we had a pair of shoes to spare. If we gave that child those shoes they were explicit that we would be immediately removed from the site and sent back to the US.

    Sounds harsh?? They said their goal was trying to break the cycle of poverty. The people they were working with for generations had been living by begging and depending on the largess of others - i.e., living in dependency. To break the cycle they needed to be self-reliant, and for us to give from our largess undercut the program. Those actions also led to problems in the communities. If one family's child received shoes, but another family's child didn't jealousies would erupt. Especially if the child who had shoes had those shoes because his family had sacrificed to provide shoes, and the other family hadn't been as willing to sacrifice.

    They were building villages with self-governance, and they said that if a child in the community doesn't have shoes, that is a problem that the village needs to deal with. And gringos dropping shoes was really disruptive in building self-governance.

    That orientation greatly changed my thinking. That organization has close to a 90% success rate in moving indigenous people in Guatemala from subsistence living to cash-crop agricultural producers with sufficient cash flow to pay off mortgages and own their own land (via deed).

    Locally I support Union Gospel because they are the single most effective organization in moving people off of the street and into permanent sheltered housing. Some people seem to be offended that the price of receiving their services is to have to listen to a sermon. But if listening to a sermon leads to a difference in moving people into permanent, that doesn't bother me. If I'm going to donate money, why would I not donate my money to the organization that has the best success rate?
     
  14. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Right- yes- I donate to two non local organizations that give 100% of the donations to the actual needs of people/disaster. Administrative costs are paid for out of funds generated from auctions/drawings they hold every year.
     
  15. Big Matt

    Big Matt TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Donate to organizations that you KNOW are going to use most of the money and who will use it wisely. Most large charitable foundations have large overhead costs.
     
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  16. Timeshare Von

    Timeshare Von TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Guidestar.org is a good resource when evaluating charities and non/not-for-profits.
     
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  17. presley

    presley TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    We tithe 10% of our income to 3 local churches, which is great, because they never give us anything other than a letter that tells us where the money went.

    I donate money to other NPs throughout the year. I only give to those who don't give me something in return. I don't want them wasting my money and if I want a Tshirt or a pack of address labels or a calendar, I'll buy it on my own. Whenever I get something in the mail such as address labels, socks, calendars, a nickle, etc., I take the item out of the envelope and throw out the rest without even looking at it. I don't think I am discouraging them, though, because I've been getting stuff from some of these places for over 10 years.
     
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  18. geist1223

    geist1223 Guest

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    A few years ago Patti and one of her Women's Groups bought a bunch of warm socks as winter was coming and took them to the local Union Gospel Mission so they could be given to their clients. They were thanked and told they would sell real well in their thrift store.

    We now focus on the local family shelter and the Marion Polk Food Share. We give cash to the food share. They prefer that to donation of food items as they can leverage the money and get more than if we gave the equivalent value in food. We give a small amount to OPB. Every time they call and ask us to increase our donation we explain that while OPB is important families having food and shelter is more important.
     
  19. bogey21

    bogey21 TUG Member

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    I'm with you 100% on this one...

    George
     
  20. Patri

    Patri Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Please don't begrudge how other people allocate their charitable funds. Sometimes even "impact" is not measurable. There are reliable watchdog organizations that track how NPs spend their donations. A great resource with high standards.
     
  21. SteelerGal

    SteelerGal TUG Member

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    I give anonymously via United Way. My company also have opportunities throughout the year to give your time. One that gets significant participation is creating food delivery boxes at our local Food Bank. The only downside is a local politician loves to use the event for photo ops instead of actually helping.
     
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  22. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    The unsolicited crap, the address labels, greeting cards, all aggravate me too. as do the 'reminders' of how much they 'need' me. I donate monthly to my PBS and NPR stations, and but still have to listen/watch during pledge drives. I have made more than one a beneficiary in my will. There is a panhandler at a nearby intersection with a dog. I drop off an occasional bag of dog food to him. I donate food to the food bank, money to the homeless shelters in both towns where we have homes, and bags of food to the animal shelters. I support United Way, and the local volunteer symphony and sing in the city chorale. Enough!

    Still, my mailbox has solicitations every day. I really don't feel badly throwing them away. Well, I do, but I throw the junk away anyway.

    Jim
     
  23. JohnPaul

    JohnPaul TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I have delete on my email and a big recycling bin so I don’t let it bug me.
     
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  24. Sugarcubesea

    Sugarcubesea TUG Member

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    I do the same and these charities are become the rarity that give 90% to the actual charity
     
  25. easyrider

    easyrider TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I am a family first person. Next in line are friends and their requests. In the last decade there hasn't been anything left over to worry about who to give to.

    Bill
     
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