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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  13:30:15  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was just sent a message from the Humanist Charities - an organization/project of the American Humanist Association that has been around a few years and seems to be slowly growing. Here's a link to their website.

As I've been intimately involved with the AHA (I was an independent contractor for 18 months and have had many other connections through my volunteer work for local chapters, Camp Quest, and the Secular Student Alliance) I trust the efficiency and where the funds are actually going, and I definitely trust that the causes will always been ones I support as a secular humanist. So it's nice to have a charity out there that I can always donate to that I trust.

I'm curious, what sort of charities people here like and have or plan to donate to? I would image that skepticism plays a great role in deciding where to give (and whether to give at all) since many charities are not very efficient and many also have ties to religion that turn us off because even if the donations go to secular efforts, it frees up funds for things like conversion efforts.

Also, some time ago I heard an interview on the radio with a guy who helped run a website that evaluated charities and how efficient they were, the purpose of which was to help people who want to donate find the best charities to give to. But I can't remember the name. I've done some web searches and found some similar websites, but not sure which are best. Does anyone off-hand know of a really good website for evaluating the efficiency and honesty of charities?

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com


Edited by - marfknox on 08/31/2011 13:30:46

moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1884 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  17:40:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by marfknox

I'm curious, what sort of charities people here like and have or plan to donate to?
Donations and reasons.
- 115 donations to the American Red Cross. When I was 22 I need 4 units. Unfortunately, I have stopped because my body was not recovering as it did when I was a younger man. I expect to start giving again 2-3 times a year instead of 5-6.
- NPR for 25 years. We have two good stations here in Charlotte WDAV 89.9 (classical) and WFAE 90.7 (news).
- Breast cancer - My sister is a 10 year survivor, my Mother 3.
- Battons desease we have a friend with 3 sons all affected.
- St Judes Childrens Hospital. Boy what a lousy hand they have been dealt in life.

Skeptics, Agnostic/athiest , I expect this list to be short in comparison to many who frequent this forum. We do care and show it. Thanks for the opportunity say it.

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  18:15:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wiccan, skeptic on most things but cognizant of that particular blind spot.

Donate blood every chance I am eligible. Just started the double donation of RBC via apheresis through LifeSource.

DuPage County PADS - feeds the homeless and washes their clothes with the help of local churches/temples of all stripes. My Grandmother was very active with the program and it makes a great gift for her because she doesn't have to dust it. (She's goint to be 93 in a few months) Volunteers are unpaid and the money goes primarily for food and insurance.

Shriner's Hospitals - provides no cost procedures and therapies to kids. Near and dear to my Grandfather's heart. I donate in his memmory.

Midwest Pagan Council - has a prison ministry and hosts the oldest (35 years) pagan gathering (family friendly) I donate a lot of time to this organization and am part of the council. It provides a place to gather and have some fellowship. (Well, you know I'd be active here.)

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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tw101356
Skeptic Friend

USA
333 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  21:20:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send tw101356 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've been using Charity Navigator for evaluating unknown charities before deciding to donate or not.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/

Very easy to search for one and get some quick info about percentages of money spent on actual work vs admin expense vs fundraising, and how much they spend to raise each dollar of funding.

- TW
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2011 :  01:12:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I divide my donation budget evenly between animal shelter and homeless human shelter. I generally restrict it to local or regional charities who can demonstrate reasonable administrative expenses. I also tend to keep in touch with the agencies I donate to and if they are not transparent in their allocation of donated funds, I find another agency needful of my help.
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Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2011 :  11:47:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My cause is my local animal shelter. I don't really directly contribute cash but I do particpate in most of their fund raising activities i.e. pet walks and pet washes. My wife and I used to go and walk the dogs but we haven't done that in a few years. I like dogs.

My wife on the other hand is involved in many local children's charities. She puts in a lot of time and effort especially around Christmas time. She is nicer than I am. She is definitly not a skeptic and I would not consider her an atheist either since religion is something that she never thinks about. I would call her a secularist though.


Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
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Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2011 :  11:51:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, I almost forgot. I have been involved in building a couple of Habitat for Humanity houses. I do realize that it is a Christian organization but the two that I have helped with were for friends of mine so I was willing to overlook the Christianity part of it.

I prefer donating time rather than money.

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2011 :  12:01:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I make monthly payments to a number of different organizations. Of them, all are to my knowledge secular in nature:
Doctor's sans frontiers, UNICEF, WWF, Greenpeace, Swedish Red Cross. But also a number of Swedish organisations: The Cancer fund, The Child cancer fund, Swedish Nature preservation.

I also make annual and special contributions to BRIS, a Swedish organization for children. BRIS stands for The Childs Rights In Society. Workers in the organization are volunteers, and donations support infrastructure like toll-free hot-lines which are "invisible" to the subscribers (the phone bill will not tell that this number have been called, to shield the child from abusive parents/guardians finding out) for children who wants/needs counselling or moral support.
BRIS works to create more awareness of children's rights among adults, fight against abuse and such.

Of the regular donations, the largest amount goes to BRIS.

I also do other, private, donations every once in a while when I feel my economy allows for it, not to organizations but they will still be for a good cause. Such as the "Send Kil to TAM" fundraise.

Finally, I also donate time. Mostly to SFN and Skepticality, volunteering as moderator/admin.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2011 :  01:28:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I volunteer to do free electrical and general maintenance work for the "St John Animal Shelter". They had some electrical problems I heard about and offered to correct them. After that I let them know they can call me with any issues of repair/maintenance. Presently I'm waiting for them to give the "go ahead" to install a washer and dryer in their kennel area. I will run the new 120/240v service and do the plumbing needed in the new location, doing the labor for free. By not paying for the work needed, they will save a few hundred dollars easy. More than I could ever give in cash. By doing labor like this which they would have to other wise pay for, I feel I am giving them the cash saved. I also built a wooden feeding station for neutered feral cats living out "in the bush". The Island's abandoned dogs and non-feral cats are cared for in their shelter. They never put down any animal but give perpetual care until homes are found.

I also donate to the "Secular Coalition of America" a Washington Lobbying Organization. They also work with ten other groups like, American Atheists, Camp Quest, Society for Humanistic Judaism and Secular Student Alliance, to name just four. I use to be an annual member of theirs but after receiving a bit of junk mailings from them through the mail, I let that laps. Now, I donate when there are matching grant programs like this one. Only money donated by nonmembers (me) are matched dollar for dollar. By not being a current "member" I effectively double the money I would give being a member and I don't receive the costly mailing they send out periodically to members, which is wasted on me. I see that as a win/win!

Lastly but randomly, with the money I don't give to any church anymore, I will selectively give billing breaks (quick fixes are free) to any senior "financially challenged" customer who finds they must break down and get a problem repaired. With some seniors on very limited budgets, I know the charity is appreciated, surely needed and void of any middleman. SS

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
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moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1884 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2011 :  04:25:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by sailingsoul

I volunteer to do free electrical and general maintenance work for the "St John Animal Shelter". ...

Lastly but randomly, with the money I don't give to any church anymore, I will selectively give billing breaks (quick fixes are free) to any senior "financially challenged" customer who finds they must break down and get a problem repaired. With some seniors on very limited budgets, I know the charity is appreciated, surely needed and void of any middleman. SS
That's pretty cool.

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2011 :  06:14:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
tw101356, that is exactly the website I was thinking of - thanks!

My husband does ACLU and Freedom From Religion Foundation. I do American Humanist Association, a couple public and independent radio stations, a local food bank, the Philly zoo, and Doctors Without Borders. But we don't have much expendable income, so my main focus has always been volunteer work for local Humanist and arts organizations.

In 2002, one of Camp Quest guest speakers was the woman who founded the Canadian Harambee Educational Society, a secular charity that provides scholarships and other educational funds for girls in Africa. The founder had spent some time in Africa and was so moved by the plight of young girls and women, how effective education was at greatly improving these women's lot in life, and how cheap the cost was by typical American standards ($300 per year!) that she started the charity. I made a donation in 2003. I keep hoping I'll eventually be in a financial position to be a full sponsor. They don't spend donations on advertising and largely depend on word of mouth to spread the word. For anyone interested, here's their website.

Ebone, I have also contributed to Habitat for Humanity (funds, not volunteer time.) I did it last year because my daughter has an obsession with Pooh Bear and collection of teddy bears. I have decided that one of her gifts for birthdays and HumanLight will be donations in her name, and Habitat had just sent me a letter asking for donations, and offered a teddy bear as a free gift. So I decided that would be one of her donation gifts. Another contributing factor was that I had just heard that radio interview about charitynavagator.com, and the guy being interviewed mentioned Habitat for Humanity as a highly rated charity. Later one my secular friends gave me some shit about it because they are a Christian organization. I said they don't do conversion work and don't discriminate, and his response was to say they had sent an explicitly Christian Christmas card to a non-Christian family he knew that they built a home for, and he thought that was insensitive and manipulative. I thought he was over-reacting.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2011 :  06:33:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
marf,
In all of the time that I have spent working with Habitat not once did I hear any kind of proselytizing. I have never received any kind of correspondence from them either. Lucky I guess. :)

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
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Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2011 :  06:39:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
marf,
If you are interested you can check out an odd problem that I have been having the last few years regarding charity.

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2011 :  12:16:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This year my charitable contributions will be going to Dude's Fire Fund.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2011 :  12:58:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dude

This year my charitable contributions will be going to Dude's Fire Fund.




Prudent, Dude. Prudent.

You can only help your neighbor if you are better off than they are.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2011 :  16:22:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ebone wrote:
marf,
If you are interested you can check out an odd problem that I have been having the last few years regarding charity.
Yeah, giving charitable contributions in someone's name as a gift can be a weird thing. A couple years ago my mom was confused because she had received a card from my cousin and his wife in December. It said "Happy Festivus!" and then mentioned a donation had been made in her name to The Human Fund My mom asked "What's the Human Fund?" and I started laughing hysterically. Maybe that is what you should give your relative who keeps donating to Christian charities in your name. :-)

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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