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Ask Slashdot: Most Efficient, Worthwhile Charity?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the cato-institute-of-course dept.

Christmas Cheer 570

New submitter yanom writes "I'm thinking about making a holiday donation to a charity, but I'm not sure where to give it. I've looked at organizations such as the Red Cross and Village Reach that promote disaster relief and health in the developing world. I want my money to have the biggest possible impact, so where should I send it?"

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Charity Navigator (5, Informative)

XanC (644172) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409260)

Charity Navigator [charitynavigator.org]

Re:Charity Navigator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409280)

Ahh, so you think he should send his money to the Charity Navigator?

Re:Charity Navigator (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409556)

best charity ever: there is one out there that offers to surgically sterilize welfare recipients at no cost to them or to the taxpayer. i mean .. if you can barely feed yourself you are hardly in a position to keep popping out kids. i bet this prevents a lot of children suffering due to their negligent parents' stupid decisions.

Re:Charity Navigator (0, Troll)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409322)

If you care about donating to charity, but don't personally have cash to spend, then I suggest using Bing [bing.com] instead of Google. Microsoft lets you donate your Bing rewards (which you gain when you search for something) to charity. Just by signing up you get 250 points, and every 100 points you get lets you donate $1 to charity.

I'd like to see Google doing similar good for the world.

Re:Charity Navigator (5, Informative)

abigor (540274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409350)

Surely you are trolling: http://www.google.org/ [google.org]

Re:Charity Navigator (2)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409374)

Well, Microsoft has other charity campaigns too. But Google doesn't let users donate just by searching, while Bing does.

Re:Charity Navigator (3, Interesting)

jdpars (1480913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409480)

Either way, some part of revenue from the search engine is going to charity. You aren't generating anything new by using Bing's donation feature, just clicking a button to do what Google apparently already does.

Re:Charity Navigator (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409580)

Or perhaps a MS fanboi [slashdot.org] or a crowdturfer [slashdot.org]

*removes tinfoil hat, ducks*

Re:Charity Navigator (5, Informative)

infaustus (936456) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409346)

In a similar vein: http://www.givewell.org/charities/topcharities [givewell.org] GiveWell does a very thorough job of vetting charities and evaluating their impact.

I just give all my Bing points to whatever charity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409264)

I just give all my Bing points to whatever charity Microsoft recommends on their Bing points microsoft charity page.

Re:I just give all my Bing points to whatever char (1, Troll)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409394)

How is the parent offtopic? It's about charity and helping them. Their reward site is here [discoverbing.com] and if you don't want to use the reward points yourself, you can give them to charity.

Save the Children (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409266)

Save the Children works on many worthwhile causes and only has 8% administrative overhead, one of the lowest of any charitable organizations. I trust them.

Re:Save the Children (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409462)

No child['s] behind left?

Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409268)

Give it to me!

10 ways - all local (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409458)

No, give it to ME. I have zero overhead - I can guarantee that 100% of the net you give me will go to the intended recipient.

I even accept chocolate!

Seriously though, if you don't know what to give or where, go ask at:

1. your local police or fire station. They get to see human misery every day, and they know about those "pockets of need"
2. your local hospital or clinic. Same thing.
3. your local animal shelter. Pets are people too, and they're going to need a lot of help dealing with the annual post-christmas "pet dump".
4. your local schools. The teachers know that there's always some kid who need a winter coat, warm boots, or something.
5. your local library. It's probably under-funded, and you can make a "donation" by buying old books from them so they can buy new books.
6. your local church, synagogue or temple - even if you're an atheist, these organizations are still good points of contact for the needy
7. your local homeless shelter. Obvious reasons
8. your local media - tv, radio, print ...
9. your local city counselor, alderman, mayor, or whatever
10. your friends and neighbors.

What all these things have in common is that they're all local, they're all just an email or a phone call or a click away, and that they'll have an immediate impact - within days - and they all benefit your community. Charity begins at home.

None (5, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409270)

I've been profoundly disappointed by all charities I gave to or came in contact with professionally.
Give your time to something close to you, not your money.

Re:None (1)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409416)

Must agree, I give time to Silver Surfer groups with two of my local libraries. Being time rich and cash poor the payback from the groups in terms of what I have done for them over the month says more about me than cash ever can. The groups and I can see exactly where the effort has gone and all parties are well pleased with the results. With rising levels of unemployment and falling local budgets giving time may well be on the rise, a win-win for all.

Re:None (4, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409532)

I give time to Silver Surfer groups

You seek out life bearing worlds for Galactus to eat? You monster!

Your time is not valuable - your money is (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409586)

Giving your time may make you feel better - but when $10 can feed a family for 4 for a day or two, with soups, breads etc., your time is inherently useless. Go use your time to earn money and then pass it on. Barter was fundamentally inefficient - and hence money came to be. Why go backwards ?

really? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409272)

How about something close to home, efficiency doesn't always go along with need.

Re:really? (2)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409332)

Good advice.

It may not be as efficient, but donate to a local Occupy movement. Particularly in the northern climates, they need money for food, clothing, blankets, etc.. as these people are camping out (sometimes without camping gear because local ordinances do not allow it).

As a gift that keeps on giving, these people are doing things that will beneift YOU in the long run.

Re:really? (1, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409550)

"donate to a local Occupy movement"

Nope. They're where they are voluntarily. And, since it's not a formal non-profit organization, no tax credit.

Instead, donate to a local food bank (they can use cash contributions, too) which serves families which are involuntarily in need.

Trees (2)

ThomasLB (1220384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409274)

I like The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation. It's good for the environment, it creates pretty parks, and it feeds people. http://www.ftpf.org/ [ftpf.org]

Happy Christmas From the Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409288)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
your heart is true you're a pal and a cosmonaut

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see, the biggest gift would be from me
and the card attached would say,
Thank you for being a friend

Re:Happy Christmas From the Golden Girls! (2)

bhengh (2029204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409348)

Was Yuri Gagarin one of the Golden Girls?

My Anus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409290)

now open wide and say ahhhh!

American Red Cross - worst? (1, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409294)

I read recently that the American Red Cross is one of several charities that "carefully walk the line" of being a nonprofit organization, and that 49% of their take goes to "administrative costs". (their "administrative staff" are very well-paid) Can anyone confirm or deny this?

Re:American Red Cross - worst? (2, Informative)

erc (38443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409304)

Confirm. My uncle retired from the ARC with a *very* good pension. I'd never give a dime to ARC.

Re:American Red Cross - worst? (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409444)

Excuse me, but what does one person retiring with "a very good pension" say about how high the administrative costs are vs program costs? Charity Navigator says ARC has a 3.9% administrative cost. The parent post claims 49% administrative cost (which is insanely high). If you believe Charity Navigator, he's only off by an order of magnitude.

Re:American Red Cross - worst? (1, Informative)

erc (38443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409570)

It should be obvious to someone who posts here. Think about it.

During WWII, ARC would give away free coffee and doughnuts to officers, and that was well-publicized. What wasn't publicized was the fact that ARC would charge enlisted men a dime for the same thing. When my father learned of this (he was an officer), he demanded that his men be given the same deal. When ARC refused, he gave them their doughnuts and coffee back, and spread the story among the other officers.

Re:American Red Cross - worst? (3, Insightful)

erc (38443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409592)

A quote from the comments section on Charity Navigator:

I have worked for the ARC for over 11 years now as both a volunteer and a paid staff member. The organization is very top heavy with mostly overpaid executives at the National Headquarters in Washington DC. Generally the volunteers and staff "in the field" are the ones who go to great lengths to serve clients. Many positions in the field have been eliminated in recent years as the executives in the "ivory tower" protect their own salaries and positions. Our Service Members and their families are now served mostly by call centers empoyees who are inexperienced instead of caring employees working alongside our military throughout the world.

Re:American Red Cross - worst? (3, Interesting)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409486)

+4 insightful?

It must be the Christmas eggnog.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3277 [charitynavigator.org]

*shakes head sadly*

Re:American Red Cross - worst? (1)

erc (38443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409576)

3.9% sounds low until you figure it out in dollars.

Re:American Red Cross - worst? (3, Informative)

heypete (60671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409316)

More like 3.9% [charitynavigator.org] .

Re:American Red Cross - worst? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409380)

Probably something like 50% go towards employees, both administrative and active. I think the CEO earns like $2 million a year.
On the other hand, the American Red Cross is bigger than 450 of the Fortune 500 companies, and to get someone who can run a company that size, you'll need to pay them well.

Re:American Red Cross - worst? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409442)

92.1 percent of revenues for program expenses is very good. So, 49 percent to administrative costs is way off, according to Charity Navigator.

However, their CEO got paid a million bucks this year - outrageous even by the standards of big name charities. I still wrote them a check, though. I figure they have the scale to get in quickly after disaster (earthquake, tsunami) strikes and make a difference.

I used to donate every year to Project Hope, but stopped when I found out how much the CEO was making (about $600K, a little less this year). International Rescue Committee is one of the smaller charities I'm now supporting.

Re:American Red Cross - worst? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409524)

Surely you are trolling: Only 3.9% in admin expenses.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3277

LiteracyBridge.org (2)

rbowen (112459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409300)

Www.LiteracyBridge.org - effective use of technology to make life better for real people. Worth your time (they're open source) and money.

Salvation Army (5, Informative)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409302)

What I like about the Salvation Army is they operate under the principle that people will always donate and they spend the money as it is donated.

The Red Cross and others seem to want to build a war chest so that when a big disaster hits they will be prepared. They take money from big events and hold some of it over for other operations. What bothers me about this is it seems like they don't trust people to donate when something happens.

Re:Salvation Army (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409338)

If only they did not have an anti-gay agenda, I would concur.

Re:Salvation Army (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409422)

Go to the following link:

http://www.charitynavigator.org

They rate charities based on many factors including over head expenses, financial stability, etc.

Good Luck!

Re:Salvation Army (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409452)

I can't mod this up so I'll just add my voice to the comment.
The Salvation Army is one of the better charities I have come across, I make it a point every year to donate either money, food, clothing or time.

Re:Salvation Army (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409464)

Have you actually read up on SA? It is called an "Army" for a reason. They consider themselves God's Army. Discriminate lots. Try to convert people. And lots of stuff that sparks debate.

To Ron Paul's Tea Party Moneybomb of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409312)

https://secure.ronpaul2012.com/

Boys and Girls Clubs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409320)

I donate to the local Boys and Girls Club directly in my community. They're mission is focused on serving kids in the community that are economically disadvantaged, so I find it to be a very worthy cause. Secondly, when I give directly, I do not incur a processing fee, which would happen if I gave through the United Way.

Cut out the middle man (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409324)

If you're just wanting to make a difference to someone, and not the tax write-off, find a family struggling to make ends meet and be their holiday benefactor, or give out sack lunches to the homeless, or volunteer at a soup kitchen. No better way to make sure your kindness does the most good than to do it yourself.

That Mormon welfare program (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409334)

I dunno what it is called, but I always hear about them after natural disasters, and I'm pretty sure none of donations go to pay anybody's salaries.

Wikipedia (5, Insightful)

Rynor (1277690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409336)

Wikipedia might be a nice option too, the knowledge they provide to everyone free of charge makes it a good charity in my opinion.

Re:Wikipedia (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409372)

Agreed, this is one of my charities of choice, the other being the local SPCA, to whom I give on a monthly basis.

Save the planet (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409344)

Without one, all the starving, deformed, orphaned, homeless, jobless, sick and diseased people are just going to die anyway.

High administrative overhead (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409360)

Unfortunately, a lot of charities have obscenely high administrative overheads, which means much of the money goes to lawyers fees, office rental in high rent districts, gala charity donation parties (granted, they pay for themselves) and other PR work. The Economist had a piece on this a while back. Even some of the UN agencies and a Lady Diana Charity Fund were some of the worse offenders.

Hey, whoever said "Charity begins in the home" was probably right . . . if you give close to home, you'll be able to see for yourself where it is going.

meta-charity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409376)

http://www.networkforgood.com/

Gamers Give Back (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409382)

http://www.childsplaycharity.org/

All donations go to children's hospitals around the world. You can even donate toys instead of money if you don't trust how your donation will be spent.

Re:Gamers Give Back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409554)

http://www.soroptimistprojects.org/ [soroptimistprojects.org]

The Plan (2)

epiphani (254981) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409384)

I did some research into this about a year ago - and decided to go with Plan International [plan-international.org] .

My criteria:

  • A large percentage of their donations had to go directly to the
  • Non-religious
  • Focused on third world countries
  • Infrastructure and educational projects
  • Long-term investment in specific locations

I give specifically to their water project. I think that while sponsoring a child is significant, I find that I'd rather put my money specifically into infrastructure. Water and Sanitary systems, in my mind, are more important than education within a community - and I figure many others put money into education.

Re:The Plan (1)

epiphani (254981) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409396)

Hum. Directly to the project, rather.

Help a neighbor (5, Insightful)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409386)

100% efficiency. No administrative overhead. Complete certainty that your gift wasn't squandered.

Kiva (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409388)

One of the best places to bring your money to if you want to help people: http://www.kiva.org/.

Microfinance where you can decide yourself which enterpreneur you loan money to. I can heartily recommend it :).

hfc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409390)

Hackers for Charity

My $0.02 (1)

thecrotch (2464404) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409392)

I used to give to the Salvation Army, but I've been avoiding them this year because I'm not sure how much of my money is going to help people vs proselytize to them, in fact I've decided to no longer donate to religious charities. Toys for Tots is my new favorite. Giving a teddy bear to a poor kid may not make the biggest impact in the world, but it's going to make that kid's Christmas a lot better.

Re:My $0.02 (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409508)

While I listed one of my favorites elsewhere in this thread, Toys for Tots is another I wholeheartedly support. They do good locally, and make a difference in a child life. The best story I heard about them was from a young Marine, who said while he as growing up, thought Santa wore Marine Dress Blues.

Re:My $0.02 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409536)

Toy shopping for Toys for Tots is probably the most fun you can have donating to charity, and by donating goods rather than cash you know all your money is going to the kids, and not to administrative overhead.

Buying dry goods to drop off at a local food bank is another way to make sure your money is all going where you want it to go.

Re:My $0.02 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409548)

The Salvation army is one of the best charities at helping people without wasting money. I never donate to a case I have never volunteered at.

A Plane Ticket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409400)

If you really want to know what to do and who to give your money to, there is absolutely not better way than jumping on a plane and heading there. Anywhere. If you want to help in Haiti, go to Haiti for a few hundred dollars and see for yourself which people are helping and which are not. I've spent some time in a few of the poorer parts of the world and I can tell you with certainty that the bigger the organization that you donate your money to, the less money will end up in the hands of the people you are trying to help.

Conversely, the highest percentage of help comes from organizations that you've never heard of because they are composed entirely of aid workers and have no one on staff that knows anything about marketing or websites or even blogs. They're just out in the streets every day giving away food and administering medicine and hoping that their family or church back home sends enough for them to live on this month.

So...go!

Also, buy fair trade whenever possible. In many cases it has a dramatically better long term effect on communities than aid organizations.

Perhaps use CharityNavigator to evaluate (1)

Doofus (43075) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409408)

You could try examining potential recipients at Charity Navigator [charitynavigator.org] . They evaluate charities based on their operational effectiveness and allow you to compare a potential recipient against others that serve similar needs.

I have used it many times and find it extremely helpful.

Tzu Chi Foundation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409412)

It's the only charity that I have see with so many actions taken against everything, from minor event like helping poor people around the country until big event like japan tsunami, taiwan earthquake, china earthquake, and etc. There's Tzu Chi Foundation at lots of countries and they all play the same role. They fund themselves by recycling materials, donation, charity sales and etc. For more information, try google and you can see how much job they have done. :)

Shelterbox is a decent one... (4, Interesting)

pryoplasm (809342) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409418)

http://www.shelterboxusa.org/ [shelterboxusa.org]

Basically, after any kind of disaster, natural or otherwise, they deploy a team out with plastic tubs filled with just about anything a family would need to start getting back on their feet like a tent, some basic food and water purification type things, along with some tools to improve what they have available. They are also constantly tweaking the box as better items become available, or in some instances they tailor the contents to where the boxes are being sent.

Decent charity that I found out from a friend. I've started to donate to them yearly now, along with some other charities for more personal reasons.

Heifer International (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409424)

This is a great organization that helps people all over the world: http://www.heifer.org/?msource=magento

Stay local (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409428)

Give to a local church. Do your research and make sure they are a 100% charity. Then get personally involved to help them spend it well. Your time might be a better donation than the money.

Donate to a Charity you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409434)

During college, I worked at several excellent nonprofit education programs which were doing fine on their own, but could make themselves more broadly accessible with more funds. I also made several donations to larger charities (planned parenthood, St. Jude, Wikimedia), and came to realize two things. First, I had no clue how much of my money was actually being spent on helping people and how much was going into a bureaucracy. Second, I started getting constant phone calls and mail from St. Jude and Planned Parenthood to donate more money. In Planned Parenthood's case, I only gave them $20 (in college, remember?) to begin with. Most of that $20 apparently went towards sending me junkmail. I understand that these programs have a good cause, and that badgering former donors is probably the most efficient way to make money, but that's still "wrong" in my book, and it left me with a terrible taste in my mouth. Wikimedia didn't spam me, fortunately, and I feel like I owe them after all of the useful information that I got out of their site, so I don't regret those donations. Still, at the end of the day, I still have no clue how money was spent.

Today, I am not a college student. Like many of you, I work in IT and have way more money than I need or deserve. I make regular charitable donations, but the only two charities that I donate to are the education nonprofits that I personally worked at. They are small and I still know the people there. I know that my money will be put to direct use in making kids smarter, and I know that the one's running the program aren't hobgoblins who will sell my personal info so I can get robocalls about donating to affiliated cause X. Get involved with a local charity, do some good work, get to know the people there, and then donate directly to them. That's my recommendation.

EFF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409446)

Donate to save the free internet. It's as good a cause as any.

The School for Kids In Laos Inc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409454)

This is a very efficient charity that relies entirely on donations and volunteer work to build schools in rural Laos. It's a grassroots organization that raises a lot of it's money within the Lao community and hold benefit concerts all over the globe. If you want to donate to a charity where virtually the entire donation (95% efficiency is their target) goes toward the result, building educational infrastructure for impoverished communities, then I'd recommend you visit http://sklinc.org

It (2)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409456)

It begins at home. My home. Please send money to Happy Dude, 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield. Don't delay! Eternal happiness is just a dollar away.

Charities (2)

SandyBrownBPK (1031640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409466)

I'd also stay clear of the United Way! I discovered that they had no clue as to where my AUTO-DEDUCTION was going! Add that to the their HIGH salaries, and there are two good reasons to go elsewhere!

UMCOR (1)

ArgumentBoy (669152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409470)

The United Methodist Committee on Relief does disaster assistance - water, blankets, some meds. They're usually one of the first on the scene. The church donates all the administration, so every dollar you give buys a dollar of relief. Just drop a check off at the closest Methodist Church.

Something small (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409478)

Find a small targeted organization. Understand their goals. Find an organization who won't spend 30+% of your donation on trying to raise more money. The larger the organization, the more fundraising they will be doing and management overhead they have.

Having said that, finding them is that much more difficult, but your $100 may be closer to 1% of their budget, not 10^-6% of their budget. That 1% has a much larger effect on the goals of the organization.
The Red Cross is great in a situation where $100m worth of relief supplies are needed now. It doesn't have the long term benefits to a targeted group of people like installing a well, providing anti-malaria bed nets, building a school or countless other projects smaller targeted organizations are doing. The real question is which model you feel is a better use of your money.

Or if you want even more personalized and targeted consider supporting a micro-lender.

donorschoose.org (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409482)

donorschoose.org - they support educational projects. I like them because you give to a specific project, can chose the type of project,location, etc, and they clearly lay out the need, what will be supplied, and their administrative fees up front. If you want to support education, they would be a good choice.

Why haven't any of you liberals suggested.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409484)

The government?

Here's the link! (5, Funny)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409552)

For those wanting to donate to the largest charity (case) in the world, here's the link [treas.gov] .

Citizens who wish to make a general donation to the U.S. government may send contributions to a specific account called "Gifts to the United States." This account was established in 1843 to accept gifts, such as bequests, from individuals wishing to express their patriotism to the United States. Money deposited into this account is for general use by the federal government and can be available for budget needs. These contributions are considered an unconditional gift to the government. Financial gifts can be made by check or money order payable to the United States Treasury and mailed to the address below.

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782

Any tax-related questions regarding these contributions should be directed to the Internal Revenue ServiceExit the FMS Web site at (800) 829-1040.

Zero Administrative Overhead (1)

bob_hymee (760691) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409490)

Try Latter-day Saint Charities http://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/humanitarian-services/ [ldsphilanthropies.org] Run completely by volunteers. They're the same people you usually see in yellow t-shirts helping to clean up after natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes but they do a lot more than that. And no, the funds don't go to buy tracts to hand out proselyting. They strictly go to those in need.

Re:Zero Administrative Overhead (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409542)

Exactly what I was going to say. 100% of funds go to relief. And the relief is handed out to all people regardless of religious affiliation.

Donate Locally (4, Informative)

dokebi (624663) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409492)

Living in the US, I think it's a gross injustice that people in my immediate area don't have enough food to eat. As such, I have decided most of my charity contributions will go to the local community food bank. It's super easy to see how the money is being used (volunteer and meet the people involved, go down and talk to the admins), it improves the lives of people who live near you, and you get a tax deduction.

National and international organizations are nice, especially for medical causes, but for me local food bank seemed best.

Cross Out Red Cross (4, Insightful)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409510)

I was centrally involved with relief for the Haiti earthquake and observed the Red Cross and many other such organizations in action. Or rather inaction. Their lack of logistical expertise and disaster planning is shocking.

But one outfit that did seem to have their act together was Doctors without Borders/Medecins sans Frontieres. They just hop on planes and start helping people, no BS. They also seem to have relatively low overhead, which is where the lion's share of every donated dollar goes at most charities. Maybe someone else on /. knows differently, but at least from the outside as a colleague they seemed effective and well deserving of support.

Go Local (1)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409512)

While I'll confess I have a fondness for "lending" through KIVA (http://www.kiva.org), you may find that your charity dollars go a lot further with local organizations, some of which are struggling. I live in Baltimore and have several favorites: The Ark, a pre-school that provides special services and a comfortable environment for kids living in homeless shelters; House of Ruth, our local women's shelter; Our Daily Bread, a formidable soup kitchen and feeding operation run by the Catholics. I've also found some fascinating new efforts. One that impresses me greatly is providing clean, properly fitted suits, shirts, shoes, socks, and ties to unemployed men, along with a grooming kit. (Jobless women have long had several "career clothing" options.) The donated suits are suitably altered for their recipients just as they would be if purchased at a clothing store. Charities like The Ark and the clothing operation strike me as effective, creative ways to fill community needs. Charities like House of Ruth and Our Daily Bread have support infrastructures in place that ensure they won't be spending inordinate amounts on fundraising or highly paid executives. Keep your eyes and ears open and you will find similar organizations meeting needs in your own area, and you'll be able to find one that fits your interests, religion or philosophy (or not), and pocketbook. You will also see the dollars you give stretched much further.

Check out religious charities (5, Insightful)

jfmiller (119037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409516)

I know that God is not popular on Slashdot, but even from a rational humanist perspective these charities are very effective. The administrative costs are usually born by regular tithing so any funds given to the charity can be spent 100% on the core mission of the charity. Especially, in the area of disaster relief, these charities also have strong connections with the local congregations who can quickly put resources to use where it is most needed. This in contrast to groups like the Red Cross usually have to spend time "getting in" to places.

I know there will be some objections voiced that the money will be used to evangelize victims rather then aid them. I cannot speak for other sectors of the religious sphere, but charities associated with Mainline Protestant Christian churches operate in perpetual fear of this accusation and copiously avoid any activity that might be mistaken for proselytizing.

I will end by plugging the charity of my own Episcopal Church: Episcopal Relief and Development [er-d.org] .

Kiva (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409518)

Have you considered Kiva.org? Technically they give the money back but from what I've seen the money goes directly to people who can use it and you can actually track *exactly* who your money is helping.

Just give (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409522)

The work that charities do is all the hard, unglamorous work that needs to get done that isn't being done by anyone else. It is inherently inefficient. This is not even counting the "administrative overhead" worries that people like to complain about.

You want to avoid administration? Give to something local, run by volunteers, that isn't a registered charity and therefore doesn't need to hire a bookkeeper, accountant, and auditor just to manage their books. Don't bother with whether something is "efficient" or not, look at what they do and see if that's something you think needs to get done.

Donating money to a local food bank, for example, is a lot more efficient than giving canned foods purchased at market rates. (and many of those are charitable)

And if you really want to contribute something effective, donate your time and skills. That's far more valuable than a couple hundred dollars once a year, and is often left out of calculations of charities' "efficiency".

- RG>

Charity: Water gives 100% (5, Informative)

viniosity (592905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409534)

I give to Charity: Water [charitywater.org] . They've got a great proposition where 100% of your donations go directly to the field to fund water projects. They're also a tech saavy group of folks and try to prove that by providing GPS signals and photos of the project you funded. Administrative costs are covered separately by a group of benefactors (who understand they are solely paying for administrative costs).

Help our forgotten Veterans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409558)

http://www.hero-dogs.org/

"Hero Dogs, Inc. is a Maryland 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation whose purpose is to train and place service dogs with military veterans who have been injured and/or disabled while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Hero Dogs, Inc. provides service dogs to disabled veterans at zero cost to the veteran. Our wounded veterans have given enough, please give anything."

One of my favorite charities! I try to volunteer with them when I have the time. A great organization!

You PEERS: Best. Charity. Ever. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409562)

I’m sure there is a lot of people in your circle of friends and acquaintances, that you know have a lot of potential but no leverage.
Support them. Because they know you personally, they will want to make it worth it, and not throw it out the window.
If you have enough money: Hire them! But allow them nearly complete freedom. With the only rule being, that they come up with something valuable in any way.
You will be surprised how much people can do in regard to their dreams, if they just have free time and a bit of money.

Best. "Charity". Ever.

Help a kid in a hospital (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409572)

http://www.childsplaycharity.org/

The guys from penny arcade set this up, you pick a hopsital and you know thats exactly where you money is going.

How about the "Let's Buy Ken a Ferrari" fund? (1)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409574)

I'd advise you and others to contribute all you can to the "Let's Buy Ken a Ferrari" fund.

Rather than wonder where your money went, you'll enjoy the sweet, sweet sound of a V12 will be echoing throughout the concrete canyon as I blast down Main Street. You'll be able to shout "This is my gift to you all!" and feel the admiring glances of those who wish they had contributed as well.

What could possibly do more to help mankind than to share the sounds of a V12 Ferrari?

Why Charity? (2)

marjancek (1215230) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409578)

Why not microfinancing, such as http://kiva.org/ [kiva.org] ?

Depends on the definition of "Charity" (2)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409594)

It really depends on your definition of "charity", and your intent - it can be defined as anything that's non-profit and tax deductible, which has a rather large scope.

Lots of things are non-profit and seen as charity donations - art museum and symphony, sports teams (kids soccer and baseball), research towards medicine (aids, MS), EFF and lawyer advocate associations, and so on.

All of these enrich our lives and make the world a better place. Donating directly instead of through a charity organization makes better sense because more of the money goes directly to the organization.

Your local Rotary club, for instance, is manned by locals who donate their time and would better know your community needs.

If your intent is to reduce the suffering of people directly, might I suggest Plan USA [planusa.org] .

Plan USA chooses a needy child somewhere in the world and uses your donations to help them grow up. Their administrative overhead is relatively low, and you get periodic feedback showing how your monies are used. They also sponsor village improvements, such as sanitation, clean water, &c.

In addition, your donation is year round instead of just during the holidays. IIRC sponsoring a child is on the order of $325 a year.

An alternative (5, Interesting)

cheebie (459397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409598)

If I may suggest an alternative, give micro loans through kiva.org instead. You can just keep recycling the money into new loans as you get paid back. The good gets multiplied many times over and communities get built up.

Copenhagen Consensus (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38409600)

The Copenhagen Consensus is group of economists that grapple with this question. Where do you allocate money to have the greatest impact on human suffering?
http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/

Apparently micro-nutrients are dollar for dollar your best bet. At least as of a few years ago.. they had a new meeting in 2011.

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