My wife and I like giving. Giving to people, giving to noble causes, giving to strangers in the hope that you did some good. We try to give intentionally, and regularly, but not automatically. There are several websites that help the determined giver to give smarter, and better. I have been kicking around the idea for a couple of months now of using this blog to encourage others to give and help them see how it can be done intelligently.
One of the things holding me back from doing this, however, was the fact that my Weekly or Recurring Features on this blog seem to have been some of the least appreciated parts of it, and I hesitated to start another "Regular Feature" only to see it become a "Semi-Regular" feature, and then scrap it altogether, as has already happened with an embarrassing and demoralizing number of items in this space.
But a "Weekly Charity of The Week" feature is still worth doing, I feel, even if it isn't the most popular part of my blog. But I am not starting it now. I will be starting it in January, at the beginning of the year. In the meantime though, I ask you, dear reader, to think about your charitable giving. Many of you give to church, some of you even give 10% of your income away. I would be willing to bet, though, that most of you don't. Quite likely many of my readers don't know what 10% of their income is, because they get paid so irregularly.
So... Between now, and the end of the year, think about how much you do give to charity, how much you should give to charity, and how much you can give to charity. Also, think about the groups you support. not the causes you support, but the groups. Does the environmental group you are helping send you 20-40 pounds of dead-tree mail every year? Is the poverty-aid group you support spending millions of dollars on advertising during the Super Bowl? In Short, are the charities you have been supporting still worth supporting? Do you still feel good about supporting them or do you just renew your commitment to avoid the awkwardness of "Breaking Up" with the organization.
I recently visited the website of one "Charity" organization based out of Nashville, TN with pictures of starving foreign orphans on their site's front page. A little further in, however, their site reads like a pushy investment brokerage, with details of the complex tax-shelters that will protect your wealth, and pay it back out to YOU, in the form of a Tax-protected, sheltered, diversified, sanitized, well-laundered, annuity. (while at the same time giving you the knowledge that you are somehow-or-another helping those adorable little foreign kids with their rice bowls. probably.)
This same organization wants to spend untold thousands (more likely Millions) of dollars mowing down the forests in my little town to created a humongous Gated Community, complete with lakeside condos, a golf course, clubhouse with swimming pool, physical fitness complex, and other amenities. How many of those little foreign starving orphans could they have given a new lease on life with all that money? (Incidentally, the company in question is barred from doing business in Maine And Washington, and has been censured in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, as well.)
So to keep you from supporting these investment brokers doing just enough charity work to maintain their tax-shelter status, and others of their ilk, I will be doing the (sometimes rather intensive) research to bring you some of the best charities you can support. One a Week, to be precise. And I won't just tell you about them; I'll be putting my money where my Keyboard is,
donating $52 to each charity I highlight.
Why $52? Glad you asked! Because that is $1 a week. Because I will be covering 52 different charities throughout the year, a single $52 donation is the equivalent of throwing a dollar in their plate every Sunday. So at the end of the year I will be able to look back at 52 Frank-Endorsed organizations which I gave a dollar to every week of 2008. Can You match me? I hope so. I work at a gas station, and I can afford it!
And as a preview, let me tell you about where my money is going This week. I (potentially) donated to a campaign to combat malaria through an innovative website called ThePoint.com , and I'll tell you all about it in the next post. If you can't wait 'til then, check out their video intros, and look for the malaria-related campaign.
And to those of my readers already doing good in the world (and you know who you are...) Kudos, to all of you. I'm proud of you.