2021 Most popular episodes
If you sent in questions, thank you for that. If you have questions you’ve been pondering, send them over! You can send in the big existential questions like should I pull all of my money out of banks that don’t loan to Black and Latino communities or it can be a really specific question like how to get your employer to offer socially responsible 401k plans. In 2021, a mix of broad and narrow questions came in. I'll cover them today.
2021 Most popular episodes
Thank you so much for coming back this week. What I thought we would do is to recap some of the most popular episodes from 2021. This podcast started in the last half of 2021 and there have been 20 episodes since that very first episode, which was a little bit of a manifesto or a foundation of beliefs that guide the discussions you’ll hear on this podcast.
If you sent in questions, thank you for that. If you have questions you’ve been pondering, send them over! Click on the show notes for this episode or any other episode and you’ll see the email address to get in touch. You can send in the big existential questions like should I pull all of my money out of banks that don’t loan to Black and Latino communities or it can be a really specific question like how to get your employer to offer socially responsible 401k plans. In 2021, a mix of broad and narrow questions came in.
The most popular episode was the one about trying to decide how much to donate. This was episode #2. This topic was requested by multiple listeners and is one of the episodes that I often hear from you all about. In previous eras, for some communities, religion was an easy way to figure out how much we should be donating, depending on your religion, directly back to your house of worship. But with the national trend going towards a society that is generally more spiritual rather than religious, it isn’t always clear how much to give. So in that episode, I include different benchmarks to consider as you set your own goal for how much to donate. I offer up inspiration from a few religions, I thought the concepts from Islam were perhaps the most interesting particularly because the recommendations were to give as a portion of your wealth, not your income. But there were other suggestions to consider as well, such as using the average American giving rate as a suggestion. In the US is somewhere between 2-5%, although lately I’ve been reading data about how that 2-5% breaks down across various groups in the US, I’ll be sharing more about that in response to a letter that came in for an upcoming episode I’m not done with yet. So that was episode #2, definitely the most popular letter that came in last year.
The next most popular episode was #8, it was called “Where to Find Charities and What to Ask.” The original letter expressed some of the anxieties that I’ve heard from other listeners about not being quite sure how to evaluate whether or not a charity is legit. In this episode, there are suggestions a few steps to lead you down a path that might work for you. First, setting a budget, second figuring out your giving priorities and then third, doing a gut check on whether you want to go wide by supporting many charities versus going deep with one particular charity. There are also some cautions about using some of the popular charity evaluation websites and how to weigh metrics like administrative expenses (spoiler: they might not be as important as you think), as well as salary information, and annual reports.
After that, the next most popular episode was Episode #7 which was called Giving up Brands with Shaky Values. This one seemed to resonate with a lot of people as well. I heard from some listeners who have given up some brands cold turkey and never looked back and I also heard from some who continue to get waffle fries and feel uneasy about it. There were a few suggestions in the episode, but the biggest takeaway from this episode is that it was never intended to be our responsibility as individuals to hold corporations accountable for human rights abuses of their employees, or to have the task of having to research whether your paint shop is actively lobbying against providing basic human rights to all people. That was never supposed to be our responsibility. Our governments have that responsibility and in a cruel twist that anyone could have seen coming, our corporations have continued to weaken our government over time to the point that that we are in now. So, let’s certainly do what is within our control, I do believe in putting pressure on those who are in positions of power, but I want to acknowledge that first. In this episode there are suggestions on starting with big purchases and then also an idea on countering the purchases that you do make from companies who don’t align with your personal values.
So those were probably the most downloaded episodes. In between, I have heard from some of you about paradigm shifts you have made after listening to episodes here, for example the one about why we shouldn’t worry too much about a charity’s admin expenses- that was Episode 13 or some plans some of you are making to donate more in 2022 based on suggestions you heard in Episode 14 which was called “When Your Donations Aren’t Stacking Up.”
Personally, the letter that I think I will never forget was the one in Episode 17 where the listener gave some cash to a person who was panhandling with a cardboard sign and the reaction that her partner had. The whole situation was just so relatable.
If you wrote in previously, please do check back in and we can even do a follow up discussion on how it’s going.
In the meantime, thanks again for sending in your letters and for your feedback on the show. The whole point is to be useful in offering up suggestions on how we can put our money where our mouths are in terms of being the change we wish to see in the world.
Stay tuned, turn on your notifications, lots of discussions coming up soon. Send in your questions, contact info is in the show notes.