The way I see it, we all donate money toward whatever we think will make the world a little better. And if we’re being honest, sometimes we donate to feel better about ourselves. Either way, it’s usually a good thing and we usually feel better every time we give away something.
But can we give better?
I don’t mean give more money or give more often. I mean, how can we know that we are giving toward something that is making the world better, or a person better… even for just a moment?
This is what I’ve been grinding through my brain lately. What I’ve landed on are two simple rules followed by some bonus research.
Don’t give to hate groups.
Don’t give to politics.
Don’t give to hate groups
Simple right? I told you these were simple. In fact, I first wrote this post with a hard vengeful edge against anyone who would think to use Goodable to fund hate groups. Then I realized, that’s not going to help. It’s not going to help because this audience wouldn’t do that. Or rather, they wouldn’t knowingly do it. I can see scenarios where someone would think they should donate to an organization because that group is helping some kind of disaster relief effort, or housing the homeless, or feeding the hungry, etc. They may not realize the primary source of those funds goes to fuel a white supremacist agenda or some other hate-filled master plan. That’s the kind of mistake anyone can make. And from that innocent start that person could get sucked into their world…
These traps are avoidable. A quick search on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s database of known hate groups will let you know if your organization of choice shouldn’t be chosen. If you’ve never been there, check it out. A lot of the names of the groups sound deceptively innocent.
As a rule, no proceeds through Goodable will go to a hate group as defined by the SPLC. In the event that someone requests their proceeds go to an organization on their known hate group list, we will notify the user via email and ask that they choose another organization. If they refuse, we will donate the proceeds to a charity that promote’s anti-hate speech. Simple as that.
Don’t give to politics
I’m going to get a lot of flack for this one. This one is not so simple. Here’s the argument:
If you want to save the environment, donate to a cause that promotes environmental education or develops environmentally friendly products. Want to support your religion? Donate to your church/temple/mosque. Your political party of choice may say they will help your cause when they actually do nothing (or very little). That’s true for education, healthcare, homelessness, starvation, religion… you name it. It’s not that your favorite party doesn’t mean well. I’m sure they’re the best! I’m saying it’s a gamble.
when you donate to politics, you don’t know what you’re going to get in return. So why not donate directly to a charity who is actively achieving the results your looking for? Some charity that works day in and day out to plant trees, tutor children, provide surgery to the less fortunate, etc. You worked hard for that money, do you really want a politician to use it to push something you don’t want?
And that’s why Goodable will not support politics. Filtering this mess sounds tricky, but actually, nearly any political organizations of one kind or another are classified as a 501(c)4 with the IRS. A quick search can tell you if it’s political in nature. If a anyone wants to use Goodable to fund politics, we’ll notify them to choose another organization. If they refuse, then we’ll donate the proceeds to an charity who saves children’s lives. Kinda hard to argue with that alternative.
[Bonus] Research the organization (the easy way)
Congratulations! You made it through the Goodable house rules. Everything until now you may have already known. However, this one you may not.
Charity Navigator is the nation’s largest evaluator of charities. They’ve rated over 9,000 charities. Here’s one way you can use them:
Say it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and you want to donate to a breast cancer cause. You could donate to Susan G Komen for the Cure or Bay Area Cancer Connections. If you look up Susan G Komen for the Cure on Charity Navigator you’d see they have an overall score of 80.87 with a 3/4 star rating. Bay Area Cancer Connections has an overall score of 90.32 and a 4/4 star rating. You can then dive deeper to figure out why each organization got the scores they did. Or, if you just want to be done here, pick your highest score and donate.
You can learn more about how Charity Navigator evaluates and who they evaluate on their website. Now you can focus on saving the world rather than vetting every charity out there.
What tips do you have for better giving? We’d love to hear them.