Taking Responsibility For "Giving Well"- a response-
Late last year in December, the New York Times ran an opinion piece about the best way to choose where to make your charitable giving, and I found it quite disturbing. (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/15/opinion/holiday-giving-givewell.html) You see, the piece was supposed to be about how to know if your gift to a charity was used well. But it turned out to be an ad for a company that verifies charities and regrants your donation to the charities in its database. That was disturbing enough, but the charities were all international to worsen it. The assumption seemed to be that local charities are not a good investment.
I am not opposed to supporting international causes. For example, I support a village in Kenya. But I make sure that most of what I give goes to local charities.
Why. Because they make my immediate world better, local nonprofits support the children, families, and adults where I live. They protect the local parks and the green spaces. They are caring for "my local " world. So shouldn't that be our priority?
As for knowing how your money is spent, you can put a little time into learning about them. Every charity is supposed to publish their IRS990, financials and most publish an Annual Report. If they don't well, that tells you something right there. I realize that it is easier to follow the writer's advice and outsource your responsibility, and support charities far from home.
I hope donors will consider their responsibility to their neighbors and your local community. Check out your local community foundation if you really just want to make a gift and walk away. But giving local is the thoughtful thing to do.
Following up on - Are You What You Wear? Richard Thompson Ford
June may seem like an odd month to write about what we wear to work. But as we move into a new phase of the pandemic, more of us return to the office, and things settle into a new routine, the question of what to wear comes up. Now I am a middle-aged African American man working in a major metropolis, so I can only talk about this from my particular perspective.
The New Yorker Magazine recently posted an interesting podcast on the subject that had a good deal to say about why we wear what we wear to work - https://tinyurl.com/kdav7ya9. I highly recommend you listen to it.
Personally, I wear ties and sometimes suits. I like the convenience of reaching into the closet, pulling out a white shirt and pair of pants (or a suit), and grabbing a tie. It is just easy. Now I am also a big believer in having a "look." A way people see your outward self that you define.
Now I will freely admit that being from the south being "dressed" is cultural with me as well. When I was growing up, people just dressed up more than they do now. I also grew up feeling that as a person of color, I had to be cleaner, smarter, and more polite to truly achieve.
Then I decided to be a fundraiser. When I started, there were not that many people of color who were in the field. I was lucky enough to work for two experienced fundraisers of color early in my career. I learned a great deal from them about raising money and maneuvering my way through the society of those supporting the non-profits for which I was working.
Now I am an experienced fundraiser with over 25 years of working for all kinds of non-profits. I manage staff, work with the Board, help lead the organization, Do my ties and suits help? Well, I don't know for sure. I know I want people to be comfortable handing me a check or with my help in creating a planned gift. But what I can't be "visually" is a different person for everyone. I have to be the person I am. The one who is comfortable in his skin - as much as anyone ever is - who understands the dynamic between his position as a fundraiser and the people he works with to support the organization's work.
At the end of the day, I wear a tie and a suit sometimes because I like it. I look good wearing it, and I guess I hope people feel comfortable with me as I do my job.
It Occurs To Me
It seems the postal service may do in all of the hard work of our Year-End campaigns. Not only is it more expensive but the mystery of when letters will get delivered. I have heard of mailings take two to three weeks longer than previous years. It will be interesting to see how this affects returns, My instinct says those who give will do so whenever the appeal arrives. This means that we will have contributions coming in farther into January. Not a problem for organizations with June 30 fiscal year but what a pain for those with a December 31 year-end. How long do you keep the "year" open?
Please leave a comment, thoughtfully.