[Finances] Sweet! Charity!

mental_floss is a good blog and a good magazine for those of us who are fond of minutiae. They are also fond of lists, as all people who are fond of minutiae do.

Yesterday, Timothy Mercer posted a list: 5 Reasons to Be Skeptical of Charities. It got my dander up.

Sure, there are charities out there that suck, and suck *hard*. Timothy does a good job of pointing them out. However, there are charities out there that are doing freakin’ awesome things every day of the week (and twice on Sundays).

Today being Payday at Big Ol’ Hospital, I did my Dance of Money Transfer and Bill Payment. It’s like the Dance of Capitalist Superiority, only it happens in a desk chair in front of a computer. As part of the Dance of Money Transfer and Bill Payment, I wrote four checks to charities. And I felt good because I know my money’s going to good causes.

How do I know? Because all four charities I am involved with on a personal level. I don’t just send off the money and hope it gets to the causes I support, I get off my butt and volunteer for two of the groups. Shoot, one of those local groups I’m on the Board of Directors.

By the way, if a nonprofit ever asks you to be on the BoD, ensure that you are really, really, ridiculously good looking committed to the cause because BoD meetings are like pulling teeth during the most dull macroeconomics class ever. But, because I’m on the BoD, I also get my own, fresh, shiny copy of the nonprofit’s budget every month and two to three times a year I get to vote on revisions.

Another group is located out of state, and the other is international. BUT they both present financial reports every year with detailed budgets. BoD duty has taught me how to run a scrutinizing eye down those lists, and if the advertising and mailing budgets are higher than the project budgets, I start asking questions like, “Do I want this group to have my cash?”

Another thing I did was ask one of the groups that I send a relatively small amount to every pay period to stop acknowleging the gift with a handwritten note. It’s nice and all, but I promise, I will continue to send my pittance without the note.

My committment to charitable giving is driven by my spiritual beliefs and religious practice. So I’mna gonna give unto you a Word:

If you have a choice in food for a meal, you are rich.
If you have a choice in what clothes to wear today, you are rich.
If you can turn a tap on and have water that won’t make you sick, you are rich.
If you are rich, you should share that wealth.

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