Author Topic: Anonymous Giving  (Read 3163 times)

EricL

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Anonymous Giving
« on: February 27, 2017, 11:15:21 PM »
How do I give money to charities anonymously?  I don't really care about declaring it on my taxes.

Edit: What follows is a rant.  (I should've mentioned that.)
It seems half the nation's charities are chasing me like starving beggar children in a third world country.  Quite a few of them are just short of reprehensible.  Even the good ones auto subscribe to charity harassment 101: email, send mailers plus crap, rinse, repeat.  The bad ones I can weed out and emails I can delete.  I'm more challenged by environmentalist organizations that kill a rainforest every year to send me letters, calendars, mailing addresses and consumer crap.  Or children's charities who send me nickels in the inane hope I'll reciprocate with dollars.  And finally political causes with polls that inevitably end with pleas for money.  I ain't humble bragging here: I didn't give that much - and went Scrooge this past year thanks to all that.  But you'd think I was Bill Gates by the attention I receive.

« Last Edit: March 01, 2017, 02:52:18 PM by EricL »

englyn

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2017, 11:37:33 PM »
I only donate to one charity, regularly, but I told them I'd stop donating if they ever called me or sent me any more physical mail again. It worked.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2017, 12:20:37 AM »
I, too, hate that crap. I don't want more stuff to process, nor charities to waste donated dollars. So, I do it these ways:

1. Cash. So stealth :)

2. Online, to places that don't request my address. The merchant service has my address, but they don't give it to the charity.

3. To places I already know won't spam me.

protostache

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2017, 08:02:03 AM »
One option that I've been considering is opening a donor advised fund and having that give anonymously to the causes I support. The only drawback is that it can only give to 501(c)(3) charities, which means political donations are out.

PJ

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2017, 08:46:42 AM »
Unfortunately, charities know that the numbers are in favour of spamming their regular donors, because they receive a better response rate from people who have donated to them previously, than from cold calls / mass mailings.  They still come out ahead, even when taking into account the people (like us) that they annoy with their mailings!

I agree with what englyn said - tell them.  Call up the organizations you don't want to support anymore, and get taken off their list.  Call the ones you do, and let them know what your standards are - nothing, except for your tax receipt?  Or no more than X contacts per year?  When/if you give to someone new, include a note or message instructing them that you do not want to be put on their mailing list.

I can't remember who it was that I had contacted years ago - I remember that I didn't mind getting some contact from them, but it was getting really excessive.  So they moved me to some kind of minimal contact list.  Not none, but only a few times a year.  It totally worked for me.

(And, you may not care about getting your tax receipts, but why shouldn't you?  If that ends up giving you more money - which you can give to charity if you don't need it - then it's a win/win!  As long as they also respect your no contact wishes...)

PoutineLover

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2017, 09:00:01 AM »
I just heard of a charity called give directly that gives money to poor people (what a revolutionary idea!)
It's pretty effective at giving people the tools to make their own choices and generate more income, instead of loading them up with stuff they don't need.
I've seen that some charities send out stuff like a notebook for a kid you sponsor - write your name and send it back so we can send it to Africa! What a waste. I won't contribute to a charity that wastes donation money like that.
https://www.givedirectly.org/
NY times did a feature about it https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/magazine/universal-income-global-inequality.html?_r=0

dcozad999

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2017, 10:21:17 AM »
I just got a call (and have gotten them in the past) in which the caller (sounds like a grandmother) asks for someone of a different name.

When I tell them they have the wrong number they say, "Oh. Well maybe you can help me..." and then go on some spiel about how their with the Donations team of something.

I just hang up on them. If you are going to be dishonest about who you are calling don't try to hit me up for money. And if you called a wrong number, leave them the hell alone and don't try to hit them up for money.

This is just one of several reasons I don't usually answer a phone number I don't recognize.

I don't mind getting mailers, but phone calls just piss me off for some reason.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2017, 10:33:14 AM »
NY times did a feature about it https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/magazine/universal-income-global-inequality.html?_r=0

Exciting! I do a lot through Kiva (no spam!) and am excited about an option for interest-free gifting. Will check that out more thoroughly.

And, you may not care about getting your tax receipts, but why shouldn't you?  If that ends up giving you more money - which you can give to charity if you don't need it - then it's a win/win!

Most of my favourite orgs don't have a presence through Canada, so the tax receipts are useless to me. I had to make a choice between giving via what I see as the most effective organizations and getting no (applicable) receipt, or giving to somewhere less effective in order to gain a receipt. The former made more sense to me.

PJ

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2017, 10:44:00 AM »
And, you may not care about getting your tax receipts, but why shouldn't you?  If that ends up giving you more money - which you can give to charity if you don't need it - then it's a win/win!

Most of my favourite orgs don't have a presence through Canada, so the tax receipts are useless to me. I had to make a choice between giving via what I see as the most effective organizations and getting no (applicable) receipt, or giving to somewhere less effective in order to gain a receipt. The former made more sense to me.

Oh, for sure!  If that's the case, then don't even worry about the tax receipt.  I've done that at times too, donated to an organization outside of Canada.  But the way I interpreted the OP, I assumed that having no contact from the organization simply outweighed the desire for the tax receipt, or that they felt the tax receipt would make a negligible difference from a tax perspective.

EricL

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2017, 02:55:18 PM »
Thank you for all your responses!  No, I don't care about tax receipts.  Maybe if I do become a big giver they'll be important.  But for now I'd just as soon as get back to giving.  Per the suggestion, I think I will try to dictate terms to the charities I like and actively tell the rest to get lost. 

misshathaway

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2017, 06:41:54 AM »
I've seen that some charities send out stuff like a notebook for a kid you sponsor - write your name and send it back so we can send it to Africa! What a waste. I won't contribute to a charity that wastes donation money like that.
https://www.givedirectly.org/

That irks me too. Plus then you have to figure out what to do with the unwanted "gifts". Thanks for the givedirect link.

PJ

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2017, 09:06:56 AM »
I've seen that some charities send out stuff like a notebook for a kid you sponsor - write your name and send it back so we can send it to Africa! What a waste. I won't contribute to a charity that wastes donation money like that.
https://www.givedirectly.org/

That irks me too. Plus then you have to figure out what to do with the unwanted "gifts". Thanks for the givedirect link.

I'm not saying that I necessarily think that sending items like that through the mail is the best use of money, but I do understand what they're trying to do.  Many people "need" (want!) to feel a sense of connection with where their money goes, and those techniques, though Mustachians may disapprove, do get more donor dollars.  It's a form of engagement between donor and recipient.

That's what a charity is supposed to do - convince people that their cause is the one worth supporting, so that they get more donors to do more of their charitable work.  If those techniques didn't result in more donor dollars, the charities wouldn't do them.  It's a trade-off, for them, between convincing people to support their work so they have more money with which to do that work, and putting the money to work most efficiently. 

Often those techniques are used by charities where there is already a direct one-to-one link between a donor and a specific recipient (like Foster Parents Plan, World Vision, etc).  Depending on the organization, the recipient may be largely symbolic - some of those agencies do use the money for individual children, but for most, the money actually goes to support work across an entire community, like wells, schools, medical clinics, etc.  But there, building the relationship between donor and recipient is key to the ongoing support of the larger project, and as well, serves a psychological purpose for people in a developing nation - that there are people halfway across the world who care about me, want to see me succeed and get an education etc.  Considering the money they invest in community projects in the sponsored children's communities, the cost of those gifts and even mailing them is really minimal.  Looking at the overall ratio of direct work to admin costs, IMO, is a more helpful indicator of whether the charity is doing good work.

One final thought.  In the latter case (sponsored or "foster" children).  There's a natural inclination, when you are building a relationship with a child - even one halfway around the world - to want to send gifts.  But there are major limitations on doing so, so as not to set up an inequality situation within the child's family and community.  You can basically send stickers and other small paper things like that.  When the organization then makes bulk purchases of notebooks, flat packed "birthday crowns" and other gifts that are cheap to mail, they are then being more cost effective than if each individual donor was to purchase similar gifts, while still letting the donors mark normal gift giving times of the year, such as birthdays, and Christmas.

This is just a slightly different perspective on the way those charities operate.  Everyone of course will have their own criteria for choosing what charities they're going to support.  I'm just saying I think that gifts automatically = waste is a fairly un-nuanced perspective.  Though you are free to disagree!  Isn't that the beauty of this community?  So many different perspectives :-)

A more general contribution to the thread - can't remember if anyone has linked yet to this website that rates and ranks charities by a number of criteria:  https://www.charitynavigator.org/  They also have blog articles on things like what to consider when choosing a charity, and how to get charities to stop contacting you!

bogart

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2017, 10:46:07 AM »
Someone pointed me toward https://www.justgive.org/, which is an extant donor-advised fund that you can give to, and direct where you want your money to go.  It's deductible (and anonymous, in terms of the actual organization that gets your contribution once it's transferred), the downside is that there is a 5% (IIRC) fee deducted before you're money's passed along.  But, you might value your privacy more than you worry about that -- you can check out the site if you're interested (and of course check the info. I've shared; I scanned it briefly but won't swear to the accuracy of this post).

misshathaway

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2017, 07:31:11 AM »
That's what a charity is supposed to do - convince people that their cause is the one worth supporting, so that they get more donors to do more of their charitable work.  If those techniques didn't result in more donor dollars, the charities wouldn't do them.  It's a trade-off, for them, between convincing people to support their work so they have more money with which to do that work, and putting the money to work most efficiently. 

Gift cards, address labels and stationary. Could fill a boat with them. I'm not convinced that all of these places are so well managed that they can measure the ROI, or that they have done so recently and not back in 1950. A while back I axed most of the ones that do the gifting and just use charitynav or other rating sites to look at % going to direct services.

bacchi

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2017, 08:16:56 AM »
Many larger cities will have a community foundation that can be used to give anonymously.

A 5% fee is pretty standard. The credit card fee alone is 2-3%.

AMandM

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2017, 01:39:36 PM »
It will cost you money, but you can have a money order or teller's cheque made out to the charity without your name and address on it, and send it to the charity by postal mail.

PoutineLover

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2017, 01:26:21 PM »
One final thought.  In the latter case (sponsored or "foster" children).  There's a natural inclination, when you are building a relationship with a child - even one halfway around the world - to want to send gifts.  But there are major limitations on doing so, so as not to set up an inequality situation within the child's family and community.  You can basically send stickers and other small paper things like that.  When the organization then makes bulk purchases of notebooks, flat packed "birthday crowns" and other gifts that are cheap to mail, they are then being more cost effective than if each individual donor was to purchase similar gifts, while still letting the donors mark normal gift giving times of the year, such as birthdays, and Christmas.

This is just a slightly different perspective on the way those charities operate.  Everyone of course will have their own criteria for choosing what charities they're going to support.  I'm just saying I think that gifts automatically = waste is a fairly un-nuanced perspective.  Though you are free to disagree!  Isn't that the beauty of this community?  So many different perspectives :-)
I can see where you are coming from, but I still think it's an ineffective use of resources. In this case, the notebook was only about 20 pages, so basically useless, and I don't think the kid really cares if it was signed by the sponsor or not. The general waste of sending mail from charity to donor to charity to recipient bugs me too. I would rather see them get many full sized notebooks of higher quality, preferably bought from a local supplier if possible, or money so their family could buy what they needed. Obviously we have different perspectives on it, but for me getting junk like that makes me stop donating, while maybe for someone else it motivates them to donate more.

PJ

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Re: Anonymous Giving
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2017, 01:37:51 PM »
One final thought.  In the latter case (sponsored or "foster" children).  There's a natural inclination, when you are building a relationship with a child - even one halfway around the world - to want to send gifts.  But there are major limitations on doing so, so as not to set up an inequality situation within the child's family and community.  You can basically send stickers and other small paper things like that.  When the organization then makes bulk purchases of notebooks, flat packed "birthday crowns" and other gifts that are cheap to mail, they are then being more cost effective than if each individual donor was to purchase similar gifts, while still letting the donors mark normal gift giving times of the year, such as birthdays, and Christmas.

This is just a slightly different perspective on the way those charities operate.  Everyone of course will have their own criteria for choosing what charities they're going to support.  I'm just saying I think that gifts automatically = waste is a fairly un-nuanced perspective.  Though you are free to disagree!  Isn't that the beauty of this community?  So many different perspectives :-)
I can see where you are coming from, but I still think it's an ineffective use of resources. In this case, the notebook was only about 20 pages, so basically useless, and I don't think the kid really cares if it was signed by the sponsor or not. The general waste of sending mail from charity to donor to charity to recipient bugs me too. I would rather see them get many full sized notebooks of higher quality, preferably bought from a local supplier if possible, or money so their family could buy what they needed. Obviously we have different perspectives on it, but for me getting junk like that makes me stop donating, while maybe for someone else it motivates them to donate more. 

Well, those things don't make me donate any more, but it does obviously work on some people! 

And I just really want to +++++1 on the "sourcing things locally" bit. 

I love when charities do make a point to employ and promote local workers.  And remember how eyeglass donation boxes used to be everywhere, and the glasses would be sent to developing nations where someone would match them up best as can be with recipients?  I think they still do that, somewhat, but I've read about other organizations that work with local providers to get customized glasses made, which stimulates the local economy as well as getting the exact right fit for the recipients.  The former is a bandaid, and better than nothing for someone who can't see well enough to read, drive, etc.  Plus reduces waste.  But the latter has definite benefits as well, and is a more lasting solution.

In other words, I'm not sure we're all that far apart on what we think is ideal.  :-)