March 21, 2022

29. My 2 Cents and My 2 Cents


Here’s today’s listener letter:

Should I try to specify exactly what my donation is used for?

No! End of episode. LOL. OK, I am kidding. Let’s talk this one out. I can see how it would be tempting to try to donate money to an organization and then provide your two cents on exactly how you’d like the money to be used, but I want to caution you against being so prescriptive and trusting the organization that you’ve selected to be a good shepherd of the money you are donating and to better know exactly what your dollars are needed for. You don’t know if their copier is broken and operations are coming to a standstill until they can figure out how to get it repaired. Or maybe they receive funding but it is restricted funding. Sometimes foundations will donate to an organization and then put in some restrictions like it must be used for programmatic funding only, not for any administrative expenses. This can really make it difficult for an organization to be able to run itself effectively.

I guess what I’m really cautioning against is specifying whether your donation is being used for programmatic funding or administrative funding.

But it could be that you’re wanting to specify which program your money goes to, in that case, I think do whatever feels right to you. You might want to support a community organization that provides free medical care to a neighborhood as well as a food pantry and a jobs training program. If you really really really feel strongly about one of those more than the others, then sure, go ahead and specify, if the organization even asks your preference.

But in general, I would suggest that you try to trust the organization to know that ok this month, the health care clinic is running very low on supplies, but they’re actually doing OK in terms of the food pantry and the jobs training course.

This echoes the advice you’ll generally hear on this show about providing donations to individuals as well. Back in Episode 21, I gave some predictions on trends for 2022, in terms of how we as a society are aligning our personal values and our money. One of those predictions is that direct cash transfers will become more popular. In other words, instead of requiring people to queue up at the food pantry, for example, just cutting people checks so they can go to their local grocery store or farmer’s market and get the exact groceries their family needs. When the person you want to help is suffering from poverty, I would suggest that you don’t try to specify where your donation goes. Imagine how frustrating it must be to know that you are late on rent and someone has handed you $100 that has to be used for books. Or clothing. Or food. Let the recipient decide where that emergency cash infusion needs to go.

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Transcript

Here’s today’s listener letter:

Should I try to specify exactly what my donation is used for?

No! End of episode. LOL. OK, I am kidding. Let’s talk this one out. I can see how it would be tempting to try to donate money to an organization and then provide your two cents on exactly how you’d like the money to be used, but I want to caution you against being so prescriptive and trusting the organization that you’ve selected to be a good shepherd of the money you are donating and to better know exactly what your dollars are needed for. You don’t know if their copier is broken and operations are coming to a standstill until they can figure out how to get it repaired. Or maybe they receive funding but it is restricted funding. Sometimes foundations will donate to an organization and then put in some restrictions like it must be used for programmatic funding only, not for any administrative expenses. This can really make it difficult for an organization to be able to run itself effectively.

I guess what I’m really cautioning against is specifying whether your donation is being used for programmatic funding or administrative funding.

But it could be that you’re wanting to specify which program your money goes to, in that case, I think do whatever feels right to you. You might want to support a community organization that provides free medical care to a neighborhood as well as a food pantry and a jobs training program. If you really really really feel strongly about one of those more than the others, then sure, go ahead and specify, if the organization even asks your preference.

But in general, I would suggest that you try to trust the organization to know that ok this month, the health care clinic is running very low on supplies, but they’re actually doing OK in terms of the food pantry and the jobs training course.

This echoes the advice you’ll generally hear on this show about providing donations to individuals as well. Back in Episode 21, I gave some predictions on trends for 2022, in terms of how we as a society are aligning our personal values and our money. One of those predictions is that direct cash transfers will become more popular. In other words, instead of requiring people to queue up at the food pantry, for example, just cutting people checks so they can go to their local grocery store or farmer’s market and get the exact groceries their family needs. When the person you want to help is suffering from poverty, I would suggest that you don’t try to specify where your donation goes. Imagine how frustrating it must be to know that you are late on rent and someone has handed you $100 that has to be used for books. Or clothing. Or food. Let the recipient decide where that emergency cash infusion needs to go.