Author Topic: A Season for Charity  (Read 13508 times)

Sailor Sam

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A Season for Charity
« on: September 20, 2016, 06:58:43 PM »
Charity, guys. Let’s get better at it. Let's celebrate the Fall, and all the bountiful harvests, by increasing the good in our communities. Let's do it together! 

Why should you join the challenge (beyond the obvious)?

1.   Donating makes people happier;
2.   Did you know that almost every Millionaire in The Millionaire Next Door donated generously to their church or community? To become a humble Millionaire, maybe we should imitate the successes;
3.   Your index funds do better when the economy does better, and the economy does better when those at the bottom income brackets do better.

The gauntlet is simple – donate 10% of your monthly spending (not income, just what you spend) to charity. The charity is completely up to you. You don't have to drop your spending to participate, just donate 10 percent of whatever you do spend to a worthy cause. If you need help finding a worthy cause, try researching givewell.org or reading Doing Good Better by William MacAskill.


Here's my personal challenge.

Monthly Spending -   $6455/month
Current Donations -  $560/month
10% -  $645.5

Yipes! I'll need to find an extra $85 dollars in October's budget. I suspect I'll spend some extra time not eating out, and forgoing a tank of gas. I'm intending to give the extra money sponsoring a family for Thanksgiving dinner. If I have any left over, I'll purchase a toy for Toys For Tots.

Who's with me?

edit: bad math
« Last Edit: September 20, 2016, 07:11:12 PM by Sailor Sam »

Allie

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2016, 09:38:21 PM »
I'll join!  Since our spending is variable, I'll have to use last month's amount as the bill for the next month.  August came in at $6500, not counting reimbursed work expenses.  So, we will have to be sure to give away $650 this month.  Sept has a bunch of travel and annual expenses, so October will be more.


TNT

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2016, 12:34:00 AM »
I'm going to join you for October, but my finances are so up in the air after that, I'll have to reevaluate every month from November on. Or is this just meant for October? For some reason, I jumped to assuming it was for a whole year.

I'm going to the MMM women's retreat in October. If I can afford that luxury for myself, I can afford this gauntlet.

englishteacheralex

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2016, 12:38:05 AM »
:) We already donate 15% of our monthly gross pay. But it's nice to see somebody on the MMM forum thinking about something other than retiring early.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2016, 06:37:18 AM »
I'm not sure we're in a place to do a full 10% this month (just bought a house), but I would like to jump in on a REALLY WIMPY GOAL. Feel free to kick me out if you want. My goal is to set up a recurring $20 donation to a charity. It's so low ball because DH never grew up donating to charity, so this is my "ease him in" plan.

In addition to my really wimpy goal, I'm hoping seeing people join will be uplifting and happy and stuff.

QueenV

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2016, 08:48:31 AM »
I'll join!  We do a lot of charitable giving so I think we might already be at 10%, but I'll double check our numbers.  It's nice to see this topic raised on this forum!

Orvell

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2016, 08:56:17 AM »
*TOSSES IN GAUNTLET TOO* Is that how this works? :P
I'm with you... in spirit!
I need to figure out what orgs I want to give to, and what orgs I want to volunteer with (since 10% might be a bit much for me, I'm going to do some money and some time instead of straight money). So I'm not quiiite ready to commit % or $ just yet. But this is super important. :)
Hell yeah! :D Making the world a better place.

Sailor Sam

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2016, 09:20:01 AM »
Great, welcome everyone. I'm glad we're all here together.

TNT, the challenge is just for October, but my highest ideal is just to help people over that final barrier to setting up automatic, recurring payments to their charity of choice. So, join for October, stay for the year!

:) We already donate 15% of our monthly gross pay. But it's nice to see somebody on the MMM forum thinking about something other than retiring early.
Yeah, I get huffy about that as well. Then again, it is a forum created around the central idea of early retirement. I think charitable giving can sometimes become collateral damage of a laser like focus on one really big goal. Other people donate time, and that impresses me because it's something I'm unwilling to commit to.

Historically, it was easy for me to feel superior over checking the charity box when my 10% was a couple thousand per year. Today, a true 10% of gross is five digits, and 10% of net creeping close to 5 digits as well. I've accepted a lot of this communities values as my own, and I'll admit that it's hard to see my savings rate hover at 40%, when a single stroke of the pen could bring me to the vaulted and sacred 50%.

So, what charities are all y'all aiming for? Right now I contribute to St Judes, the Seattle SPCA, my alma mater's scholarship fund, and I save for my nieces and nephew's fund.

Orvell

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2016, 09:32:21 AM »
I'm going to donate to Planned Parenthood, the Girl Scouts, and I need to do a bit more research and figure out what LGBTQA* youth programs are round about my parts. :)

change_seeker

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2016, 09:47:36 AM »
Thanks for the kick in the pants, SS.  Our budget (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/from-frugal-to-fire/msg1074868/#msg1074868) shows 19% of our monthly spending going to charity.  HOWEVER, I stopped my main recurring donation to our church a couple of months ago because I intended to switch to CC rather than savings accounts to support travel hacking.  I'll commit to catching up those missed donations and getting the recurring payment set back up.

Dicey

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2016, 10:21:17 AM »
Quote from: Sailor Sam link=topic=61708.msg1235992#msg1235992 date=147447120
So, what charities are all y'all aiming for?[/b
Right now I contribute to St Judes, the Seattle SPCA, my alma mater's scholarship fund, and I save for my nieces and nephew's [college] fund.
I'm a SS fan, and I appreciate the idea, but this gave me pause. First, is it fair to assume that the word I have inserted in brackets above is the correct missing word?

I'll blame the nuns for what I'm about to gently say next: Helping family members pay for college is admirable, but not the same as charitable giving. Presumably these fine young relatives could find multiple ways to achieve baccalaureate degrees; your contributions will help streamline their efforts.

I need to think on this more, as this model does not fit the image of charitable giving that was pounded into my head during my Catholic School days.

While I'm thinking on this, I will move up one of my annual planned "gives" to October. It will exceed 10%. In addition, on the volunteer side, I am organizing a City-wide pop-up Food Drive on October 8. It's one of 50 volunteer projects happening around my City that day. I'm also the Co-Chair of the whole event. The best thing about FIRE is the extra volunteer hours I have to give back to my community.

DCKatie09

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2016, 10:32:37 AM »
This is a great challenge - I've been working on getting DH to come along with me in increasing our giving. We're at $125 set recurring monthly, plus some occasional one-offs, which is like 4% of our spending. I don't know if I can talk him into 10%, but maybe we can bump it up to 5, at least! Our regular giving right now is for the local shelter, and the local food pantry. I would really like to add a women's shelter in there too.

Sailor Sam

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2016, 12:07:19 PM »
Hey Diane, great discussion! I can see why wanted to insert the word college in there, but no. It's just a general fund I keep, to give to my semi-offspring when they turn 16. When I was that age, I was given 10k in cash, as an inheritance. I felt like a king! A rich king.

Then I spent 4k on funding an IRA (thanks, dad), and 3k on a trip to Ireland. The remaining 3k still made me feel like a king, but somehow it melted away over the course of a year. By the time I was 18, the largest sum I'd ever seen had been spent. Not exactly frittered, but definitely gone. I've always been a natural saver, but that lesson in how money leaves the wallet was very important to me. My aim is to reproduce it in my nephew, and nieces. If they spent it on college, bully for them, but I kind of hope they don't. I can accept your argument that the kids' fund isn't strictly charity. I include it because it's money I'm not spending on myself, which I hope does good in the world.

I was also raised Catholic, and educated by nuns. I remember the phrase "charity beings at home" being said a lot. I always assumed the kids' fund fell under that umbrella. Do you know where your line is? I've also spent about 7k this year keeping a beloved cousin off the streets as she incubated her medically fragile twins. Would that be charity, in your definition? Please read the above with a tone of curiosity. I'm not starting a rumble, I just want to discuss.

Dicey

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2016, 01:16:52 PM »
SS, I don't mean it as a rumble at all. I think in my mind (thanks, Little Sisters of Hoboken), helping out family and charitable giving are two completely separate categories. Both are good mandatory (lol). BTW, mine were of the "If it's easy to do, it doesn't count" persuasion, which probably explains my response to that last part of your original post.

Since they were babies, I have promised my twin Goddaughters a trip to Europe upon their successful HS graduation, in lieu of pink plastic birthday and Christmas presents. It never crossed my mind to equate this with any kind of charitable giving. I blame the nuns. However, I can math, spell, write and learn thanks to them, for which I am profoundly grateful.

SS, you always make me laugh, and today you've made me think. If this conversation inspires anyone to act more charitably, however they define it, I think all of our nuns would be pleased.

Allie

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2016, 01:19:43 PM »
We usually do big chunky donations at preset times of the year and little random donations as requests and needs come up.  So, we will sponsor a family at Thanksgiving or a kid at Christmas or a friends charity run then send a big check to an organization we value.  In the past, it's been organizations we have either worked for or with that are run well and have a positive community impact like the non profit guidance organization, a school for kids out of country, a local agency that supports kids, catholic social services (which does our local homeless shelters), a DV shelter, and an organization for seniors/elders. 

I'm thinking that we will keep what we have already preplanned and the 10% of spending will be an extra payment to an organization that needs support or we decide is doing good work.  Honestly, sending out more money is something we have talked about a lot recently and this is just the push I needed to go ahead and do it.  Thanks Sam!!

The city has been struggling with a high rate of crime and has been trying to move more of the homeless population out of camps and into shelters/housing.  I'll send the Sept. amount to the brother Francis shelter.  They are the largest shelter in Anchorage and chronically over loaded.  They need more supplies, beds, support, and we have know their director and she is both passionate about the mission and good at applying funds. 

monstermonster

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2016, 05:26:55 PM »
Hey y'all! I feel kinda bad about joining this thread since it's "easy" for me (I spend $1100/month and I usually give much more than 10% of that), but like SS, I'm pro a more charity-friendly tone on this forum so I'm joining!

I mainly give to local charities - currently with the housing crisis in Portland, more of my giving is going towards services for those experiencing homelessness.

My recurring monthly donations are to an organization that works to make it safer to cross the street without dying, Oregon Walks- they are a tiny, scrappy organization that does the deeply unglamorous work of pedestrian advocacy - going to meetings about curb cuts, lobbying for better driver education, and fighting for lower speed limits on local streets. Every time someone dies crossing a street, they're the people that set up the vigils.

I also give to the Harry Potter Alliance which is a whimsically named organization that does really fantastic work, essentially a worldwide Girl Scouts for nerds. They teach young people (mainly girls and trans* youth) to use the power of fandom to make change in the real world. They actually have had local youth do all the work to  build schools in their towns in Africa using the Harry Potter fandom. They also had a (successful) 8-year campaign to put pressure on Warner Brothers to make all Harry Potter branded chocolate be fair trade. So yea - harry potter, empowering young women to be activists, I'm on board!

DCKatie09

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2016, 06:46:33 PM »
Success! Just talked to DH about this on our evening walk and he's on board for bumping our levels up a bit more - gotta go look at some more local options. Still not to 10%, but we'll get up to an even 5% of avg monthly spending in recurring donations.

TNT

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2016, 07:09:37 PM »
So, what charities are all y'all aiming for?

I'm thinking some combination of UNHCR, Doctors Without Borders, St. Jude, and Options Domestic Violence Shelter (local).

rockeTree

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2016, 07:41:07 PM »
We do food bank, mosquito nets, homeless youth shelter, and I think my partner gives to a victims of gun violence thing of some sort.

In the spirit of optimization, have any of you signed on with Giving What We Can? I can't hit their threshold and donate locally as well as to the global poverty causes, so I have not, but your moral calculus may vary.


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englishteacheralex

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2016, 09:14:10 AM »
Great, welcome everyone. I'm glad we're all here together.

TNT, the challenge is just for October, but my highest ideal is just to help people over that final barrier to setting up automatic, recurring payments to their charity of choice. So, join for October, stay for the year!

:) We already donate 15% of our monthly gross pay. But it's nice to see somebody on the MMM forum thinking about something other than retiring early.
Yeah, I get huffy about that as well. Then again, it is a forum created around the central idea of early retirement. I think charitable giving can sometimes become collateral damage of a laser like focus on one really big goal. Other people donate time, and that impresses me because it's something I'm unwilling to commit to.

Historically, it was easy for me to feel superior over checking the charity box when my 10% was a couple thousand per year. Today, a true 10% of gross is five digits, and 10% of net creeping close to 5 digits as well. I've accepted a lot of this communities values as my own, and I'll admit that it's hard to see my savings rate hover at 40%, when a single stroke of the pen could bring me to the vaulted and sacred 50%.

So, what charities are all y'all aiming for? Right now I contribute to St Judes, the Seattle SPCA, my alma mater's scholarship fund, and I save for my nieces and nephew's fund.

Love this--yes, when I spend too much time on MMM my personal values get a little distorted. When the big goal is just saving wealth, the charity piece can seem like a deterrent instead of the best part.

I always think back to Dante's Inferno, in the circle of the greedy--there are two groups of sinners in this circle, the wasters (those who spend all they have on frivolous nonsense) but also the hoarders! (those who stockpile wealth, not realizing that "their lives could be taken this very night").

I don't get huffy about this, just have to balance my reading on MMM with other books/forums that support giving a little more. Although there are many very generous people here! ALSO...how inspiring to see the many conversations coming up in this thread of people convincing spouses/partners to give more!

Guava

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2016, 09:27:32 AM »
I will join in for October. It will be between 250-350 I expect to give.  Part of that will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as I am matching donations for the last week of September for a local team participating in a walk. The remainder will go to a local food bank in some way.

I think I will also do this for November and December. I have wanted to be more charitable and now that I have paid off all of my medical bills, I feel I finally have breathing room to send those extra dollars off. November and December contributions will be for a food bank, Donorschoose.org, and likely adopt a family.

Sailor Sam

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2016, 09:49:38 AM »
We do food bank, mosquito nets, homeless youth shelter, and I think my partner gives to a victims of gun violence thing of some sort.

In the spirit of optimization, have any of you signed on with Giving What We Can? I can't hit their threshold and donate locally as well as to the global poverty causes, so I have not, but your moral calculus may vary.
I've never heard of Giving What We Can. How very cool, RockeTree. Thanks for sharing.

The local vs international charity is one that I occasionally struggle with. I always default to choosing local, because this is my community, and this is my country. I believe my own motivation is to actively choose local, and not a nationalistic and xenophobic snub to international. But, that still leaves children dying from preventable diseases. It's not a easy decision.

I also struggle with the morality of making so much money.  I never expected to make this much money, and yet my yearly salary as crept from 15k to 102k; I'm not sure it's entirely moral to make this much money while others exist in a state of want; but it's hard to express my discomfort without sounding like an out of touch brat. In fact, there might be elements of my personality that is an out of touch brat. There's absolutely nothing inside me that makes me deserve this money more than someone struggling, it just happens to be mine.

rockeTree

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2016, 06:45:41 PM »
Yeah, I get the math on maximizing the quality adjusted life years per nickel but I can't square it 100% with walking past hungry, homeless, ill  people in my community I do nothing for. I know I eat while others starve and that in a world of scarcity, real or artificial, almost any comfort at all comes with complicity in systems I don't feel great about, but I live around a lot of real need. So it's 50/50 for now.

I dropped my overall percentage last year to stay liquid for a move and this is a good reminder to increase my recurring contributions!


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TNT

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2016, 10:11:25 PM »
Y'all. I just found out I will be paying $3,500 tomorrow because I have two teenagers who both need their wisdom teeth out RIGHT NOW. This gauntlet...I dunno. I'll try.

englishteacheralex

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2016, 11:34:42 PM »
Y'all. I just found out I will be paying $3,500 tomorrow because I have two teenagers who both need their wisdom teeth out RIGHT NOW. This gauntlet...I dunno. I'll try.

Ouch. For them, and for you. I think paying for healthcare for your children qualifies as at least...unselfish, worthwhile spending? Maybe not exactly charity, but not just blowing money, right?

Bracken_Joy

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2016, 08:15:41 AM »
I'm not sure we're in a place to do a full 10% this month (just bought a house), but I would like to jump in on a REALLY WIMPY GOAL. Feel free to kick me out if you want. My goal is to set up a recurring $20 donation to a charity. It's so low ball because DH never grew up donating to charity, so this is my "ease him in" plan.

In addition to my really wimpy goal, I'm hoping seeing people join will be uplifting and happy and stuff.

Well, I underestimated my husband. And now I'm staring at the uncomfortable truth that I was using him as an excuse to avoid giving. When I discussed it with him, he was like, "yeah, that sounds great. Pick something and we'll get that set up."

Sailor Sam

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2016, 08:33:08 AM »
Well Happy Plant, I think they call that being hoisted on your own petard. What charity will you be choosing, hmmm?

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2016, 03:12:47 PM »
Oh, oh...a thread I can participate in (I'm looking for these since my place is now defunct)!.

My DW donated $400 to the Terry Fox foundation just before we did the 10k run famously associated with the charity. Since we kinda freak out if we spend more than $3000 in a month, $400 is pretty decent I think.

Lady Snow has always been more attuned to charity giving than me. I will try to do better.

I'm in on this challenge from this point forward.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2016, 05:41:44 PM »
Well Happy Plant, I think they call that being hoisted on your own petard. What charity will you be choosing, hmmm?

100% having analysis paralysis. Really struggling. In the past, I've given to local animal shelters and mosquito nets primarily. Not sure why I'm so "stumped" right now. So much need, and so hard to choose.

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2016, 05:53:36 PM »
I used to literally give almost all my money away, and live with nothing, so I've had to learn to balance this in the other direction. Then I started feeling I was giving too little. Here's the approach I use now: https://financialtipsforthebroke.com/2016/09/20/charitable-protest-ill-give-4-of-8-thanks/

I aim to designate for:
local
regional
international
those I benefit from directly
those I don't benefit from directly

My primary focus is on "biggest bang for the buck", giving to groups that will do infinitely more with each dollar, stewarding it skookumly well.

southern granny

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2016, 09:09:56 PM »
I like it.  We already do church tithes and donate to several charities, but I will give an extra donation in October in response to your post. 

Dicey

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2016, 10:00:59 PM »
Okay, one of the causes I support is holding their annual gala on Oct. 1. We will be out of town*, so I let the Executive Director know I was sending a check with a mutual friend who will be attending. My 1k check will go for a program called Arts Access. They bus kids from all over the county to live theater performances. For many of them, it's the first time they've set foot in a "real" theater. Bonus: I often usher these shows, 'cause I love seeing the looks on the kid's faces, plus I can usher during school hours because I am, well, FIRE.  Win-win. I made sure to date the check for Oct. 1, so it counts on the Sam Scale, right?

Okay SS, remember upthread where we talked about helping family vs. charity?  Ask my why I'll be out of town... ooh, thank you for asking... DSD and her husband just 1) got married 2) had a baby and 3) bought a tiny condo in the very expensive place where they live. (Not necessarily in that exact order.)

*To celebrate these milestones, we are 1) redoing their kitchen, including refinishing the cabinets, new hardware, and all new appliances 2) replacing all the flooring and 3) painting the whole place. Plus it's an 18 hour drive each way. And yes, we are doing all the work ourselves. We have a week. (No sleep for us.) DH has done most of the ordering and purchasing of supplies and materials, but I'm sure it's safe to say we're going to end up in the $3-5k range.

As mentioned above, due to early and frequent brainwashing in Catholic school, my brain separates "giving to charity", i.e. people you don't know, from "helping others" i.e. family members (who are not mooching), i.e. people you do know. On the Sailor Sam Scale (See how much I learn here?), these two may be grouped together. Therefore, I conclude that we have pulled a Scrubbyfish and given nearly all of our net earnings away this month. Or will have, by the end of this trip.

Sailor Sam

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2016, 10:25:25 PM »
Diane! Despite your early nun traininig (were there rulers? they were pretty much gone by my era), the Sailor Sam Scale has been pegged by your combination of 'outer' and 'inner' charity. You're beating the pants off my 10% net, and no personal involvement.

It does make me chuckle a little bit, because I can feel the vortices of the wider forum spinning up over the 'economic outpatient care' you're offering to a grown child. And I can see you flapping a hand, and the vortices collapsing under the inherent dignity of Ladies of a Certain Age who Know Their Own Mind. I haven't quite reached that venerable state yet, but I sure as heck intend to reach it.

Sailor Sam

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2016, 10:31:19 PM »
Scrubster, thanks for the link. It made me feel better about loathing volunteering my time. It makes me fell selfish to be 'stingy' with my time, but I find the process of volunteering so excruciating. I'm introverted, and have trouble chatting, and the tasks I'm assigned as a infrequent volunteer are usually least common denominator and don't play to my skills.

I never walk away feeling uplifted, and that makes me fell miserly and unengaged. But maybe I'm framing it incorrectly. Maybe for me forcing myself to volunteer through the pain is the sensory/emotional equivalent of another person's impulse to impoverish themselves monetarily. Or maybe I'm blowing smoke right up my own ass, and rationalizing selfish behaviour. Thoughts?

edited for clarity (unfortunaly edited as scrubby was responding. oh well)
« Last Edit: September 23, 2016, 10:50:03 PM by Sailor Sam »

scrubbyfish

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2016, 10:41:36 PM »
Scrubster, thanks for the link. It made me feel better about loathing volunteering time.

Oh good!! :)

I volunteer a LOT. A lot. But, not at my son's (past) public school, for example. I give in different ways in different places. Right now I scrub a building every week, host, co-lead some meditation groups, do some marketing, etc. But I do feel it's healthy for me to draw a line, and I like to give consciously—whether that be of cash, time, whatever—cheerfully, sustainably, and in a way such that "the gift keeps on giving."

I would say I'm passionate, even, about "giving well" vs just "giving."

Dicey

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2016, 11:32:12 PM »
Diane! Despite your early nun traininig (were there rulers? they were pretty much gone by my era), the Sailor Sam Scale has been pegged by your combination of 'outer' and 'inner' charity...

It does make me chuckle a little bit, because I can feel the vortices of the wider forum spinning up over the 'economic outpatient care' you're offering to a grown child...

1. I remember rulers.
2. I love the concept of inner and outer charity. Well put, SS!
3. Ah, yes, I could see how it might look that way. But this project is kind of a wedding present to them. You see, they took our sage advice (!) and eloped, just like we did. So, zero OOP for their wedding. Also, we offered, they did not ask. Hopefully this distinction will quell the rising tide of forum fury.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2016, 08:34:53 AM »
How did you all choose where you give?

Allie

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #37 on: September 24, 2016, 11:40:32 AM »
While they may not be posted, there are plenty of ways to volunteer that don't involve interacting with people.  Shockingly, I'm not much of a people person, but I do things like:

- researching grants,
- writing stuff for websites, applications, letters, etc.
- helping prep for activities (I can cut and paste and assemble packages and such all by my lonesome)
- cleaning up after events
- doing hard labor for big projects (I don't do too much of this because I'm a wimp, but you seem pretty capable) like building gazebos or signs or whatever.

If there is an organization you like, it doesn't hurt to call and see if they could use help with something you can do at home or alone!  Not that you have to, but it's possible!

scrubbyfish

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2016, 11:50:48 AM »
How did you all choose where you give?

I set out my starting points a couple of posts above (local, regional, int'l, etc).

From there, I look at some factors:
Top dog takes $200k/yr? Nope. (I know some people believe they should, etc. But I do narrow by massive salaries.)
Imposes its own religious or cultural ideas? (e.g., "Children must sit in school desks.") Nope.
Promotes nonsustainable approaches? (e.g., "Better one struggling person have 3000 sq foot house than 6 to have 500sq ft.") Nope.

What I seek out to give to:
Direct case advocacy. (I donate $500, agency does direct case advocacy that brings client $40k.)
Access to nutrition (because I believe this heals more than most medicine, mental health classes, etc).
Second-stage housing (because I believe that longer-term safe housing is what gets people out of terrible situations).
Spiritual groups I participate in (because I need them and they're not going to get money from anywhere else).
Cool, progressive schools that honour and support kids.

scrubbyfish

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #39 on: September 24, 2016, 11:52:26 AM »
While they may not be posted, there are plenty of ways to volunteer that don't involve interacting with people.

Yes! lol, most of mine avoid people. I love doing things FOR people; not so keen on the being with ;)     My activities have a lot of overlap with Allie's.

Allie

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #40 on: September 24, 2016, 02:02:10 PM »
My list is like scrubby's...

I look for organizations that have professional, appropriately compensated staff.  It doesn't bother me if the specialized medical director of a nonprofit makes a lot of money or an amazing CEO who does a great job managing and growing the organization...but if a moderately incompetent CEO makes a ton or if the staff is paid very poorly and has turn over or unskilled staff, I'll skip it. 

Then I like to pick where I can see a need and where it makes me happy to donate.  I like the idea of supporting the vulnerable humans in my community.  But, that doesn't mean it's the best place to donate.  With babies on the brain, you may find joy in supporting a shelter for pregnant teens, buying supplies for the local NICU (when my son was in the NICU, a couple of the babies were abandoned and needed outfits, and such), an organization that provides advocates or mentors for kids in foster care, an addiction treatment program for pregnant women, a DV shelter for kids and moms, March of dimes, or any of another million great organizations that focus on babies and moms who need help.

Just see what feels good and go from there!

Bracken_Joy

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #41 on: September 24, 2016, 04:41:24 PM »
Thank you guys for the detailed responses to your approach. Where do you get information like CEO compensation and employee turnover for making those choices?

scrubbyfish

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #42 on: September 24, 2016, 06:11:38 PM »
re: CEO salary and other stats, I use charitynavigator.org or ask the company directly. I don't generally give money to an org that doesn't provide me with a financial statement. (I've never monitored for employee turnover.)

I've become a fan of orgs that maintain assets for perpetual self-funding. It's hard for orgs to rely on grants for everything, especially as those are often project-specific. An org needs a source of income independent of grants. I look for social enterprise, endowment funds, etc.

Allie

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #43 on: September 24, 2016, 06:55:10 PM »
In the US, guidestar has info about organizations and IRS 990 forms posted, which you can balance against what you feel comfortable with supporting.  Hope that helps!

startingsmall

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #44 on: September 24, 2016, 07:26:20 PM »
We currently give 18% of our monthly spending to charity. For us, that breaks down as follows (per month):

$96 automated draft to Food for the Hungry, a Christian organization through which we sponsor 3 children in Guatemala

$300 to our church

$400 to another charity of our choice. We have a few standard go-to organizations - we give mostly to our local domestic violence organization (which helped me escape a previous abusive marriage), but also rotate between a handful of others. Sometimes we give to an organization for which a friend of family member is fundraising, if it's a good cause. Sometimes my alma mater calls, asks for money, and I decide to give them a bit. Some months we don't feel called to give to anything and then give $800 the next month. It all just depends.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #45 on: September 24, 2016, 07:44:00 PM »
Okay! DONE. $20 recurring monthly to our local animal shelter. They had a great rating on charity navigator, which is a good bonus. Thanks for the link- it was the sort of thing I needed but didn't know where to look for.

Again, I know it's not 10%. But it's a start!

Dee

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #46 on: September 24, 2016, 07:55:50 PM »
Sailor Sam, I absolutely love this concept of linking giving to spending rather than earning. I'm in.

At the end of October, I will calculate my spend for the month (I will look at all transactions that happened in October rather than, e.g., the amount I pay on credit cards in October) and will donate 10% to charity. I will likely split my donation between a local program called "Serenity Renewal for Families" (a secular organization, which is important to me, but set up by an amazing nun named Sister Louise) and Leprosy Relief Canada.

Thanks also to those self-identified introverts who posted about how to help people without being with people. That was some useful food for thought.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2016, 08:21:38 PM by Dee »

scrubbyfish

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #47 on: September 24, 2016, 08:13:17 PM »

cheddarpie

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #48 on: September 28, 2016, 08:16:31 AM »
Lover this. I think I am already over 10% of spending for the year, but for this challenge I will calculate my giving rate, up it to 10% for the year if I'm not there already, and either way give a little something extra for October.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: A Season for Charity
« Reply #49 on: September 28, 2016, 09:25:46 AM »
Great idea Sailor Sam. I've just had a pay bump so this is perfect timing as I needed a kick to update my giving.

I'm a huge fan of The Life You Can Save and Giving What We Can. I understand the preference lots of people have in donating in their own country (or to their family), but the idea that I can help more people who need it most speaks to me more. There is poverty on my doorstep, but just because I can see it doesn't mean it is more deserving. Maybe my relentless quest for value-for-money extends to charity too?

Anyway, I'm doubling my donations to Schistosomiasis Control Initiative. Deworming, keeping kids in school and getting more from nutrition.