by maria on 19.03.2009 - 00:41  

Since my employer does not have a charity donation program, I have been struggling to deal with donations. Mostly I've been unsuccessful, and my donations have been erratic at best. But, recently I have discovered two sites that make life easier, and my donations more consistent and thoughtful. Network for Good is a nonprofit that is set up to distribute donations to other nonprofits. They make it very easy to make regular donations to charities you like. The other useful web site is Charity Navigator. This web site makes it easy to see how well charities do at being charities, so you can somewhat objectively narrow down which charities you want to donate to. Charity Navigator is itself a nonprofit, but does not accept funding from the charities it evaluates. Here I discovered that two the organizations I have been supporting are vastly different in their use of funds. Heifer International is not nearly as efficient as Mercy Corps, and I have decided that for now it makes sense to send more money to Mercy Corps than to send each less money. There is another nonprofit that has recently come to my attention. It is not listed in Charity Navigator, and I think that is because of its unique status. It is Kiva, and it is currently the only nonprofit international microlender. So you don't really donate (although you get the opportunity to donate to Kiva itself when you lend money), but give loans to people. You get to choose the people you loan to from a bunch of selected entrepreneurs, and can loan amounts as small as $25. When your loan is paid back (and it appears that most of them are, but there is some risk that they won't be, of course), you have the opportunity to re-invest, donate to Kiva, or pull your money. You do not receive interest for the loans (and neither does Kiva).

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19.03.2009 - 01:28  

Ax comments:

Very cool, doll - thanks for posting. MercyCorps one of my faves, but, man, do I throw out a log of mail from it. So frustrating...

29.04.2009 - 14:56  

maria comments:

If you donate through Network for Good, you can donate anonymously, and then they won't send you stuff. Of course, you have to get yourself off of the MercyCorps mailing list first...