Monday, April 03, 2006

Charitable Contributions, A Very Personal Decision

I recently read a post by Madame X, Net worth update. What caught my attention was the Charity portion of it and one of the comments:
At 3/31/2006 5:30 PM, Anonymous said... Charitable giving at zero. Ouch. Do you volunteer your time, perhaps?
Charitable giving is very much a person's decision. If it doesn't come from the heart, then it really isn't charitable donation, it's a payment...why not just call it a bill. Another issue with charitable donations that I have is the "10%" number. I'm all for donating money to charities, but I constantly see articles documenting that people donate or should donate 10% of their salary to charities. It's just not right to me. I know, I know people just want some idea of how much to donate, but really that's just not right. Everyone donates based on what they feel is appropriate. 10% of someone who's making $10 million versus someone who's making $20k a year is a big difference...and is very relative. I probably come off as an a$$h0le for saying something like that, but I'm honestly disturbed by comments about people's decision to donate if they didn't solicit it. Sorry, continue on...

7 comments:

IRA said...

I agree with your comment that giving should come from the heart. But I think you're missing the point of the comment. Madame X had budgeted a specific amount for charitable donations (I believe it was $100). So, she'd already made a conscious decision to set aside that amount. She just didn't pull the trigger. That's the same thing as making any other financial goal and failing to meet it. Not a biggie in the grand scheme of things. But many folks post their personal financial data for the accountability factor. So it's probably the lack of follow through vs. the actual amount that triggered the response. Also, the 10% tithe is a Judeo-Christian concept that goes back thousands of years. But again, as you said, it's a personal decision whether you want to give more or less. I personally know many individuals who give away MORE than 10% of their gross income each year. And no, they don't make a ton of money. As with everything, it's a lifestyle choice.

Tiredbuthappy said...

Point well taken.

I think the 10% rule can be extremely harmful to people who are not meeting their financial obligations to themselves first. Sure, donate 10%, but only after you've made sure you're on track for retirement, kids education, etc.

I donate less than 2% of my gross, but I actually feel really proud of donating even that much. I need to get my financial house in better order before I think about some kind of 10% rule.

Flexo said...

I have no problem with anyone who donates 10% of their income to an organization of their choice and writes about it. I *do* have a problem when I'm told that it is a requirement and that I'm going to Hell if I don't abide by their traditions.

kassy said...

I agree with flexo 100%!!!!!

The comment on Madame X's post does seem a bit snarky, but she took it well. Once I posted a link to some ways of helping charities out that didn't involve giving money. I thought it was helpful because there are people out there who want to give but just do not have the money for whatever reason. I got flamed for it big time, also by someone who chose to be anonymous. I've since stopped posting about charities, it seems to be an extremely touchy topic. But what about people who don't donate money, but do donate their time whether it be by volunteering, participating in letter-writing or email campaigns, activisim, etc? I feel that helping out in that way can be just as effective as donating money.

As a sidebar when donating money you should also look into how much of your money actually goes to the charity and how much is redirected for administrative costs.

Anonymous said...

"but I'm honestly disturbed by comments about people's decision to donate if they didn't solicit it." Then don't post your financial information with an option for readers to leave comments. Duh.

freedumb said...

The fact that I'm bothered by a comment, doesn't mean it shouldn't be made...I'm just stating my thoughts...

In some ways it was solicited just by posting, but still...charitable contributions is a sore spot...I hate when people criticize whether you give enough or you don't...

Anonymous said...

You're right freedumb. The 'anonymous' (let me state it was not me) comment at Madame X's blog did give a hint of arrogance by using the word 'ouch' in his/her comment. But I feel like 'if you are going to post all of your financial information and provide readers a place to comment, c'mon. You will get some positive comments and you'll also get some negative comments.' The poster shoulnd't have used the word 'ouch' - that's a bit judgemental.

BTW I do enjoy your blog, I enjoy your style of writing: frank and to the point.