40 of the world's billionaires have just signed a proclamation pledging to donate at least 50% of their fortunes to charities. So, I've been thinking about donations, charities, giving, etc.
- How much do I give each year?
- To whom do I give?
- Are those groups really making the difference and impact that I want and care about?
Here's the truth: I am a spur-of-the-moment donator. I sometimes give to my college. I used to give to Heifer International. I always give to KCLU (my local NPR affiliate). I donate as I am motivated. For example, I hear of a cause I care about so I donate some small amount. Then I don't donate to them again. When I read Monique and the Mango Rains I was moved to donate to the author's group that works with women's health care. When I read Three Cups of Tea and Stones for Schools I was moved both times to donate to Greg Mortensen's Central Asia Institute.
Here's my new plan: I'd like to find a few groups whose mission and purpose with which I whole heartedly agree. I'd like to decide what I can afford to give in a year and then divide it by three (or however many groups I pick) and just write the checks once in the year. Then I won't be tempted by the multitude of groups I hear about all year. I can tell myself that I've done my choosing and sent my money. I'd also like one of those groups to be the kind where I am hooked up with an individual person that I "sponsor" and can see their progress. My daughter and I are going to pick one of those from Half the Sky's list of groups.
My question to you: How do you decide to whom to donate? Are you a spur of the moment donor or do you have a plan? I'd love to hear about it.
Resources: Here are some of the general websites that Kristof and WuDunn listed as places to go to find groups working with women in developing countries:
- Global Giving--allows you to choose a grassroots project to which to give money in education, health, disaster relief (people to people)
- Kiva--lets you do the same as Global Giving for microlending
- Plan International--has you pick a specific person to sponsor
- Charity Navigator--is a database of charities where you can find out what percentage of the donations are put to the actual women versus the cost of overhead
This just in: a friend of mine is an elementary school teacher and went to Uganda this summer with a sports outreach program and just sent me this vimeo video of her photos. It's long, but really cool. I'll ask her which groups she saw at work in the schools.
Uganda 2010 from Vicky Harbison on Vimeo.