Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

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HoosierJim
Posts: 600
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:11 pm

Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by HoosierJim » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:48 am

Looking to update/reevaluate our time donations (volunteering) and charitable giving. In effect a rebalancing for "CA" (charity allocation).

Don't need any suggestions on the non-secular side since this is already allocated.

Wondering what specific secular charities & volunteering you have found to be efficient and personally rewarding. By "efficient" I mean that most of the $$$ or hours end up doing the most good.

NotWhoYouThink
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:24 am

No particular suggestions, but I am reading Doing Good Better by MacAskill to help think through priorities.

stan1
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by stan1 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:32 am

- Local organizations that make a visible difference in your community
- National organizations that focus on something that is important to to you

Does require each individual to make their own choices.

retiringwhen
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Location: New Jersey, USA

Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by retiringwhen » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:46 am

If you have a skill or hobby that is part of a club with 4H, they are a wonderful youth development organization if you want to spend time helping shape youth. Totally dependent upon good skilled adults with whatever skills their clubs need ranging from small animals, horticulture, shooting sports, robotics, cooking, dog training, etc. you'd be surprised the breadth of skills they can use...

They normally have small if any financial needs, it is almost always skilled volunteers.

Rus In Urbe
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by Rus In Urbe » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:05 am

Find your local Literacy organization and spend a few hours a week teaching an adult to read, one-on-one.
Best gift you can give anyone. Such gratifying work. And you learn so much.
I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money. ~Pablo Picasso

mak1277
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by mak1277 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:13 am

stan1 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:32 am
- Local organizations that make a visible difference in your community
- National organizations that focus on something that is important to to you

Does require each individual to make their own choices.
This, without question. I have no real interest in knowing what anyone else donates to, because to me it's an entirely personal decision. I donate time and money to organizations that have meaning to me. Period. I'm much less concerned with "efficiency" of donation than I am in finding a cause that I care about.

Topic Author
HoosierJim
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:11 pm

Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by HoosierJim » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:26 pm

mak1277 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:13 am
I have no real interest in knowing what anyone else donates to, because to me it's an entirely personal decision.
That wasn't the purpose of the posting. Would like to thank the posters for the 4H and Literacy suggestions as I never would have thought of these.

Previously, I volunteered for a local large organization (abbreviation UW) and found that local management was indifferent and completely disorganized. So I would looking for ideas that others have found fulfilling.

Iridium
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by Iridium » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:49 pm

On the time side, my main charitable volunteering is coaching a FIRST robotics team at the local high school. On top of being generally a good experience, where the volunteers largely run the program, I am really in tune with the national organization's philosophy and approach.

In addition to charitable volunteering, I run a board games Meetup group, am an officer for a Toastmasters club, and am looking to organize events for my Alma mater's alumni association.

On the charitable giving side, I have not really settled on one quite yet. However, having seen some charities up close, the standard ratios are less than worthless: the charity brings in an overpriced consultant to replace a volunteer; their ratio actually improves because they are considered to be spending more on programming now, even if the consultant does a worse job than the volunteer. A charity that spent all its money on pulling permits, doing background checks, and paying insurance premiums, while volunteers did all the 'real' work would likely have a terrible ratio, but would be my type of organization. Instead of looking at program spending %s, I try to compute from the charity's annual report the cost per <unit of good thing they do>. Often, supposedly efficient charities have shocking numbers.

Bruce T
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by Bruce T » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:57 pm

Hi Jim,
We use https://www.charitynavigator.org/ to evaluate our charitable giving choices... has useful data ... also might drive some ideas on $ or time giving just by browsing around...
Cheers,
(fellow Hooiser) Bruce
PS - our secular volunteer efforts (time and some $) have gone to mostly local efforts like Boy Scouts, land trusts, local park board and recreational sport coaching, project mentors & reviewers for high school senior projects... more on the basis of interest or following our kids around than efficiency...

sport
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Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by sport » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:04 pm

I have been donating to Smile Train. They provide free cleft palate surgery in third world countries. For $250, you can provide a normal life for a child that would not otherwise be available.

BlueCable
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by BlueCable » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:08 pm

The Life You Can Save is a quick read that helped me answer this question for myself.

RudyS
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by RudyS » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:28 pm

Time donations that I like and get satisfaction from:
AARP TaxAide
Meals on Wheels driver.

Golf maniac
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by Golf maniac » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:15 am

I agree it varies depending on your location and interests. I have been retired for 3 years and the first year I spent a lot of time trying to find organizations that had their act together and would return calls and emails (it was amazing how many organizations would never respond or had no organized work for volunteers). I finally settled on 3 organizations that support reducing homelessness, supporting single parents, and teaching life skills to kids through golf.

It has been amazing working with these groups and the most satisfaction I have had in years. Great organizations are out there, you just may have to dig a little to find them.

vshun
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by vshun » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:26 am

Everyone has their own preferences but to start I would suggest going over charitywatch.org which will show top charities for each area. Then pick area you feel passionate about and validate organization with charitynavigator web site.

MathWizard
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by MathWizard » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:32 am

Local giving allows me to see the results and know that the need is being met rather than wasted. You can also several on the boards of these.

Meals to the homeless shelter.
Donations to the battered woman's shelter.
Donate to the library for a new bookmobile to get books to kids.

gretah
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by gretah » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:19 pm

Your local food bank. My favorite place to donate.

The volunteers are in the trenches helping local poor and homeless people.

The government funds mostly empty carbs (pasta, white rice, etc) and sometimes a little protein like peanut butter, cans of tuna, or frozen chicken drumsticks. You can work with your local food bank's leadership to have your donated funds earmarked from something desperately needed in your area such as milk, produce, eggs, or vitamins.

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plannerman
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by plannerman » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:01 pm

I wire new houses one day a week for Habitat for Humanity. I think every family in this affluent country should have an affordable house and am pleased be able to help to make that a reality. Our local Habitat organization has volunteers doing framing, siding. roofing, windows and doors, flooring, kitchen cabinets and trim. We build about 12 houses a year.

Tallis
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by Tallis » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:54 pm

I've been impressed by Givewell.org's methodology. I think that it gives the biggest bang for the buck for my donations.

maxq
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by maxq » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:48 am

I volunteer a couple of times a week at the USO lounge in a major airport and am a substitute driver for Meals on Wheels. Both are great organizations and I've met incredible folks, both on the volunteer and "customer" side.

anna_indiana
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by anna_indiana » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:47 am

I would second the volunteer tax preparation. Look up Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs in your area, either through AARP or other community partners. You have to invest some time at the beginning of each tax season to certify if you want to volunteer and prepare returns, but there are other roles to volunteer in besides preparer if you don't want to spend that time--they also need people to check in clients and help them organize their paperwork. And, of course, financial contributions support the program, too.

A few hours of volunteering can save your clients thousands of dollars in the aggregate because a) you are trained to specifically look out for federal and state credits and deductions relevant to their situation and b) you save them from having to go to for-profit tax preparation businesses. (The prospect of self-filing can be a barrier if you have limited computer access, computer literacy, or time to learn how to do it, among other factors.)

I've done other long-term volunteering (childhood literacy) but tax prep has supplied the greatest immediate tangible impact. Certification and training is probably happening right now in your community. Feel free to PM me if you have questions, Indiana-specific or otherwise.

BrooklynInvest
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by BrooklynInvest » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:23 pm

I donate to the Osborne Association.

They have a number of programs that help the families of people that are incarcerated. Including funding and organizing visits for their children who, through no fault of their own, face challenges and difficulty.

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jfn111
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by jfn111 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:28 pm

I volunteer 1 day per week at our local Food Bank. I have found this a great way to help people in my community.

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CollegePrudens
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Re: Suggestions on secular donations & time donations

Post by CollegePrudens » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:48 pm

HoosierJim wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:48 am
Looking to update/reevaluate our time donations (volunteering) and charitable giving. In effect a rebalancing for "CA" (charity allocation).

Don't need any suggestions on the non-secular side since this is already allocated.

Wondering what specific secular charities & volunteering you have found to be efficient and personally rewarding. By "efficient" I mean that most of the $$$ or hours end up doing the most good.
One can donate time to "The John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy" by volunteering to maintain the Bogleheads wiki. See (if you haven't already):
We need to learn to want what we have, not to have what we want, in order to get stable and steady happiness - The 14th Dalai Lama

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