Charitable Donations, Now I'm On Their Lists! ~ News, Politics and Anything Else I Want to Say

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Charitable Donations, Now I'm On Their Lists!

I don't think I make a lot of charitable donations but my wife and I have made a few small ones over the last 3-4 years. Some of these donations got us memberships to the organization and newsletters, etc or were for some fund raising events like bike rides so they are not all just pure kindness of our heart donations. Looking back, many of these were actually a result of a direct mail solicitation. I don't like that I donated because of "junk mail" but I wouldn't have if I didn't believe in the charity's cause on some level.

Some people we have donated to in the past include:
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) - Sure they support some wack jobs, hateful groups, and other despicable people but this is all the principle that matters.
  • American Cancer Society - Sponsored someone in a fund raising walk.
  • American Red Cross - Katrina donation matched by (plus about 6 pints of blood a year. I am pretty sure that is not tax deductible.)
  • Amnesty International - I don't like the crap we are pulling at Gitmo. US signed treaties have the force of US law.
  • Barack Obama for President 2008 > Hillary Clinton (read that as 'greater than')
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee - My distaste for the current administration got me to give them money.
  • Durham Literacy Center - My wife got me involved here. I would like to donate more money to them. Right now most of my donation is time in the form of tutoring. This is one of the organizations I have a real passion about. Since you have read this far, think about your life if you weren't able to read?
  • FINCA (Foundation for International Community Assistance) - Micro loans are a great idea! It is basically aid + Capitalism to achieve a sustainable life. Turns out Natalie Portman is one of their celebrity supporters so I get newsletters with her in them all the time. A win-win-win.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Durham - I've helped work on a house around here before and other houses in the past. I love it. But this was made to enter the Halloween 100 Bike Ride.
  • Humane Society - My wife got a letter. She is a sucker for animals.
  • Mental Health Association of Davidson County - Another bike ride. The Tour de Pig.
  • Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) - Group for the reform of Marijuana laws. They want it to be legal for medical use and eventually recreational use. NORML never sent me anything in the mail so MPP won that race for my $. I am not sure how they got my name in the first place though.
  • NC Museum of Art - I joined to get cheaper Monet in Normandy tickets. It did cost more in the long run but I helped out. :-)
  • North Shore Animal League - My wife got a letter. She is a sucker for animals.
  • Ron Paul for President 2008 - Free Market, Free People!
  • Triangle Presbyterian Church - The church down the road that we don't attend as frequently as I would like.
  • WBEZ Chicago - Ira Glass gave this long sob story about paying for their bandwidth and talked me into $5 to help pay for the podcast. He is well with it!
  • WUNC North Carolina Public Radio - How can anyone stand to listen to anything else? I listen to this or a CD. I can not stand riding in the car with my wife when she listens to those commercial stations that play a song every hour or so. This donation is well worth it. Plus, I always wait until the donation will enter me in some fun Eurpoean vacation drawing.
These days though, like many Americans, we are feeling a lot less wealthy and making charitable donations hits the wallet a lot harder. I'd like to donate again to some of these listed above and also some other organizations but I don't feel like I have the money too. (Kiva is one charity I have been looking at lately. Ever since I heard this story on Marketplace over Christmas last year I've been thinking about them. Basically it is micro finance like FINCA is except you get to actually pick who/what your money goes to. If only they had Natalie Portman too!)

Despite not having money to send out, I am on these organizations lists (and their friends). Just today my wife and I got letters from the following organizations asking for money.
  • Amnesty International USA - They want more.
  • Girls Inc. - From what I can tell they are like a Boys and Girls club just without the boys. This was actually addressed to me.
  • Human Rights Watch - I am guessing Amnesty gave them my name or they both got them from the same place.
  • James Carville on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee - They want more but they aren't going to get it.
  • Union of Concerned Scientist - If I had the money I might give them some.
  • USA for UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency)
  • World Wildlife Fund - They are all about nature conservation. So am I, just not financially right now.
Since I don't plan on donating to any of these organizations anytime soon, I still think I will do something. Instead of donating to them financially, I think I will start giving each organization that sends me a solicitation a shout out every so often. I'll actually take the time to look into each of the organizations to find out what they stand for and then post what I find.

There, now I don't feel poorer and I do feel better about all these charities and organizations that keep sending me mailing address labels and I keep sending them zilch!

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