The article in the Observer-Reporter Saturday on charities and year-end giving was right on target. There are an avalanche of requests this time of year. Many charities are offering all kinds of free items – socks, shirts, Christmas cards (so many you will never have to buy any again), chains with crosses, dream catchers, note pads, return address labels that will live on long after one passes on, pennies, nickels, and even dollars.
There are of course the guilt-trip stories and the second-notice requests as if you did something wrong by not sending in money to the first request. When you donate to one charity, it just snowballs. I wonder how much money could be used by a charity if it cut down its solicitations. I also wonder if all those freebies make some contribute out of a feeling of obligation for the gift. It is like the televangelist on TV selling you salvation if you just send in some money for this or that cause or love offering. How sad and in some cases how criminal!
The web site Charity Navigator, at www.charitynavigator.org, rates charities, and boy is it an eye-opener to see how many charities there are and the salaries the CEOs and CFOs make. Plus these executives get the complete benefits package, lucrative retirement packages and other perks and insurance policies. Yes, their salaries may be a small part of the $100 million their charity takes in, but just imagine how many $10 contributions it takes to pay those salaries and benefits!
Consider a donation to Charity Navigator. They do a terrific job at informing the public. Also consider Occupy Sandy (Hurricane Sandy Victims). They have set up a system for each community in need www.interoccupy.net/occupysandy/volunteer where you can donate items, such as food, water, heaters, dust masks, paper towels and gloves directly through Amazon.com and its partners. Lastly you can donate you time to any cause you believe in supporting.
Yes, there are terrific charities out there locally, nationally and globally. But it takes some effort to find the right ones. Take some time to do that this year, especially locally.