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"Global Giving" - Great website for donating to good causes - thoughts?
Old 06-29-2006, 04:21 PM   #1
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"Global Giving" - Great website for donating to good causes - thoughts?

www.globalgiving.com

Instead of making a donation to a huge goodwill entity like the Red Cross, you can make a donation to a specific project, using "Global Giving" as the intermediary.

Many of the projects have budgets of $10,000 or less, so a gift of $100 or so will go a long way in accomplishing the project's objectives. I like the idea of giving in this manner because you know what your money is funding (and what it isn't).

If education is your thing, there are projects that educate young children in 3rd world nations. If health is your thing, they have projects to distribute vaccines and encourage good health practices. Human rights, gender equality, economic development, democracy, etc. all have projects.

It's amazing how little money is required to do so much. Some of these projects say, for example, that $50 will educate 4 young girls for one year. I imagine if you donated money to a domestic charity, you might get a month of afterschool care for one girl. Your dollar helps more people in some of these really poor countries. Maybe it's the frugality in me, but I'd rather help a whole lot of people with my small charitable contribution than only a very few.

Any thoughts, experiences, criticism of this organization?
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Re: "Global Giving" - Great website for donating to good causes - thoughts?
Old 06-29-2006, 08:42 PM   #2
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Re: "Global Giving" - Great website for donating to good causes - thoughts?

two words: DUE DILIGENCE
three obvious and potential red flags:
1) program expense as % donations, approx 20%
2) as noted in the annual report (05), the foundation advanced $1.6M to a for-profit corporation, which is not in a position to repay (that's almost all the other other 80%)
3) a five member board of directors which overlaps with the directors of the for-profit corp which was the recipient of those funds.
the above might, of course, simply reflect some start-up issues ... then again ...
four words: not gettin' my money

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Re: "Global Giving" - Great website for donating to good causes - thoughts?
Old 06-30-2006, 09:33 AM   #3
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Re: "Global Giving" - Great website for donating to good causes - thoughts?

After the goodwill scandals and some other malarky involving charitable orgs, I look pretty closely at them before giving them a penny. There are some good watchdog and oversight web sites that will help cull the wheat from the chaff.

We try to give to family first. Then local organizations that pass almost all of the money directly to someone who can use it...last couple of years we bought thanksgiving dinners and christmas dinners/presents for a handful of families where we bought everything and it was just delivered double-blind by a small local charity group thats 100% volunteer.

Oprah also has some favorite charities that i presume she's investigated better than the guy with the bogus book. My wife likes to give to a couple of them, one donates farm animals to needy families around the world (good if you like global giving), another she likes collects old cell phones and sets them up as emergency phones for battered family members.
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Re: "Global Giving" - Great website for donating to good causes - thoughts?
Old 06-30-2006, 10:47 AM   #4
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Re: "Global Giving" - Great website for donating to good causes - thoughts?

d,

You're right - looks like they recently started operations and they are on shaky financial footings. I'll probably hold off contributing for a while to see where they end up in a year or two. It that the transfers to the related for-profit entity are legitimate. The for-profit entity, ManyFutures, Inc., apparently takes care of administration of Global Giving and receives rent, professional services fees, and a 10% commission on all donations. The annual report also mentioned a ~5% transaction fee for getting the money from us to the project in a foreign country (sounds about right since people probably donate by CC which charges a fee, then there's the foreign exchange conversion).

It looks like it's a small operation - total contributions in FY 2005 was ~$1.6 million.

I love the idea that Global Giving represents, but after conducting DD, I'm waiting to donate anything through them.
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