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What’s Your Charity-Giving IQ?

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What’s Your Charity-Giving IQ?

In the weeks after the 9.0 earthquake hit northern Japan, people around the world opened their checkbooks in an effort to help. In one weekend, the American Red Cross, alone, raised 34 million in aid for the Japanese tsunami effort, even before Japan asked for any outside assistance! But where does all the money go, and how helpful is it to the victims of the disasters?

Sometimes a charitable donation is the best thing we can do from where we are, but if we don’t make smart funding decisions, it might actually hinder recovery efforts. If too much money is earmarked for one specific cause, for instance, poorly conceived projects can get funded and money is wasted. A recent article from the New York Times “A Charitable Rush, With Little Direction” discussed some of the issues with charities and how to improve the bang of your donated buck.

Good Intentions, one of the websites mentioned in the article, has set up a site to “provide readers with the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to ensure their donations match their good intentions.” After perusing their site and learning quite a bit, I asked if I could share some of the content with viewers on Care2. Take their “True or False” quiz over the next couple pages to determine your charity-giving IQ.

T or F?: The best aid organizations have low administration costs.

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Megan Zehnder

Megan is an editor and producer for Care2's Healthy Living. Her main priorities are to live simply and build meaningful relationships with the people in her life. She loves to write and talk about environmental issues, healthy living, and women's rights. Beyond that, her interests change daily, but eating and cooking vegetarian food is always a favorite.


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1:23PM PST on Jan 1, 2013

Very interesting article, thank you.

9:12AM PDT on Apr 5, 2011

Thank you . I have just found out that I am incredibly ignorant when it comes to charities. I usually support local charities,with a long proven track record. I .of course want most of my donation going to direct aid rather than administrative costs.

10:08AM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

thanks for sharing

11:13PM PDT on Apr 1, 2011

OK, was about 60 % savvy - have learned a few more things for next time around. Thank you for sharing this Megan.

1:48PM PDT on Apr 1, 2011

thank you!

5:15AM PDT on Apr 1, 2011

We're lucky these days being able to research charities easily by googling the name. There is no need to go into any donation with your eyes shut. We always split the money approximately 75% to 25% unless the place in question is very poor in which case it is 85% to 15%.

6:40PM PDT on Mar 31, 2011


10:54PM PDT on Mar 30, 2011

Thank you so much for this. You've answered some questions I've had when giving my pittance. And thanks for the Guidestar link. I'll do a lot more research now and ask those questions you suggest.

2:25PM PDT on Mar 30, 2011

Thanks, this was an interesting article.

I've been wary of large non-profits ever since the Haiti disaster. The Red Cross collected a lot of money, thanks to all the star-studded fundraising efforts, but look where it got the people of Haiti. That tells me that something is very wrong with the system. Where did all the money go? I saw a news report on ABC World News that the majority of the funds collected in the name of the Haiti disaster actually were put aside in some sort of a reserve fund for other impending disasters. That's not right. If you're fundraising "specifically" for a particular cause, all the monies collected should go directly to that cause.

1:01PM PDT on Mar 30, 2011


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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