Addicted to novelty since 2001

Charities We Supported in 2006

At Christmas, I try to give to charities in lieu of physical gifts, and ask that friends and family do the same for me. As 2006 slips into (or out of, in my case) our collective memories, I wanted to direct some link love to the charities we supported last year:

That looks like a whole schwack of them, but it’s in most cases it’s a small amount of money to each charity.

I made most of these donations recently, and was reminded of a peculiar phenomenon about charitable giving. Several of these sites enable you to choose how your money is spent. For example, you can decide whether your Canadian Cancer Society cash goes to breast cancer, prostate cancer, education and so forth.

I guess it’s a necessary appeal to donor hubris.

I know this appeals to people, but I think it’s a shame to give people a choice. Obviously the charity itself knows better than the donors who their money should go to. On the other hand, the charities would make less money without offering that choice, so I guess it’s a necessary appeal to donor hubris.

I had also wanted to link to something I recently read about the economics of volunteering, and how you’re much better off spending that time earning more money and donating it. Unfortunately, I have no freakin’ idea where I read it. Does that ring a bell with anybody?

By the way, what do you think of my little callout text? I scooped the code from these useful HTML tricks for bloggers.

8 Responses to “Charities We Supported in 2006”

  1. brem

    I’ve been giving lots to the SPA in Quebec (SPCA), even adopting 3 bunny rabbits from them. Not as mundane, but hey… every bit counts.

  2. Michael Kwan

    It’s great to hear that you’re donating to those charities. Union Gospel Mission is a personal favorite of one of my friends.

    Regarding the callout text, I’m not a fan, as — in the context of a blog — it looks more like an ad than anything else (at least to me).

  3. -j.

    I work for a charity, and I can tell you that directed appeals (like the cancer one you mention) are tremendously popular. Much of the time, people are concerned that their money will simply go to “administration”, which they perceive as a waste. Directed appeals help get around that misconception.

    Also, we certainly appreciate financial donations, but we could not survive any more effectively without volunteers. I suppose the idea was that with more money, we could hire people to do the work, but that sounds a little simplistic to me.

    And on behalf of charities, we all thank you for your support!

  4. Beth

    Wouldn’t whether working/donating vs. volunteering is more valuable depend on how much you make when you work? Like, if you are working a minimum wage job vs. you make a six-figure salary?

    Also, there are the other benefits of volunteering beyond just the economic – for example, I’ve developed social connections and been part of communities that I otherwise would not have through my volunteer experiences. But I’d definitely like to see article if anyone knows where it is!

  5. julien

    darren, you should consider looking at – they’re doing some good stuff this Xmas season.

  6. Metro

    Mme Metro and I enjoy giving the Living Gift cards. Essentially you make a tax-deductible donation to help families in the developing world make a living.

    For those who want their donated dollars to go farther, the “Craft a Life of Dignity” gift was being matched by CIDA 2:1 through December. It’s stopped now, but it’s something to consider next year.

    However, may I respectfully plug the charity many feel will do the most good for Africa? is a charity that provides anti-malaria bed nets for African kids. At $10 a net, The Economist rates bed nets as the most effective use of donations in terms of dollars spent to impact.

    And If you don’t trust The Economist, surely Rick Mercer’s backing is worth considering?

    It’s my favourite charity, and I hope you’ll excuse me for evangelising about it here.

  7. Metro

    Thanks for that link, Darren. One of the downers about spreadthenet’s site is that it’s static. I notice that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is matching donations, too.

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