I have to direct your attention this morning to a monster piece in Tampa Bay Times titled: America’s Worst Charities.
Aside from the obvious Pulitzer Prize potential, the series is a fantastic look at the massive waste of money — donated in good faith by people who have reasonable expectations that the cash would actually do some good to people in need. Instead, the worst charities are simply treadmills, raising more money to apply it to the not very important business of raising more money.
The finance industry has deep ties to the world of philanthropy (aka charity industry), as wealthy clients very often engage in major “gifting.” Foundations and donations are a major part of tax and estate planning.
As the series makes clear, intelligent philanthropy is much harder than it looks. I always advise that before writing a check, you do your homework. Start with GiveWell and Charity Navigator (also check out Evaluating the Charity Evaluators). Focus on what actually helps people, rather than poorly run, self-interested shops that are borderline scams. (Also, check your ego and avoid trying to have a building with your name on the side of it).
And for heaven’s sake, stop giving money to outfits that pocket 90% of the donations, leaving little or no aid for its intended purpose.
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Source: Tampa Bay Times