The NY Times blog posted this yesterday and I thought it was worth sharing. The post highlights a new charitable donation organization, GiveDirectly, that allows donors to give money directly to the people they want to help. Rather than donating to an organization that will spend the money on projects that will take time to complete, if they get completed, while also covering overhead costs, thus cutting down on the money that actually ends up making a difference to the cause you want to help, with GiveDirectly 90% of your donation will be available to a person in need almost instantaneously.
Here's how GiveDirectly puts it, "GiveDirectly allows you to send money directly to the poor. We locate impoverished households in Kenya and then transfer donations electronically to their mobile phones. Our goal is simple: to provide the most efficient, transparent, and respectful way to give."
But what if they spend it on cigarettes or alcohol? They can spend the money that way. But research shows* that "temptation spending" doesn't go up in the households that receive funding. Mostly spend it on health fees, education costs, food, shelter, or starting a small business. The benefactors are interviewed prior to being set up to receive donations, so there is some screening going on to ensure that your money goes to someone who will use it well.
So maybe you aren't into charitable donations at this point because you're up to your ears in student loans. That's fine. But someday after you've won the lottery, gone to Disney World, bought a few houses, and raced through a toy store with a shopping cart madly piling up everything you can reach because you're giving yourself that shopping spree you never won on Nickelodeon, you may want to give a little back. Here's one option. Or just buy some Toms. Whatever you're into.
Junior I-Get-Tricked-Into-Helping-People Liaison
*I did not do this research and I haven't seen it. I read that in the article. Grain of salt added.
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