Thursday, July 12, 2018

Some thoughts on giving back...

Some thoughts on giving back...  Nothing profound here, just some thoughts about our experiences...

Anyone who knows Debbie and I well will be unsurprised to learn that much of our giving back is aimed at animals.  Not all of it, by any means, but quite a bit.

For many years we gave modest amounts to carefully selected animal-related charities.  Over and over we learned to our chagrin that the beneficiaries of our largess were anything from outright frauds (ouch!) to high-overhead operations where too much (often most) of our contribution went to paying the officer's salaries.  We got fed up with this, and searched for a better way. 

Today we're making three regular animal-related contributions.  Two of these are through small, local organizations that we know personally.  Obviously we could still get surprised by these, but I think it's much less likely than with the contributions we've made to the larger organizations that actually market for contributions.  The third is one that we started about six months ago.  We met with the owners of a local veterinary clinic – people whom we know and trust – and arranged to create a fund that helps people with animals who need veterinary care that they cannot afford.  This was our idea, though we discovered when we talked with the clinic's owners that they already had a poorly funded version of a similar idea going.  The money involved is quite modest, but it has direct impact on local animals in need – and, of course, on their owners.  We make these contributions anonymously, but we learn about the animals (and owners) that have been helped.  It's been very satisfying to have direct knowledge of the impact of our contribution, and comforting to personally know those people who are (in effect) administering our contributions.  We like this general pattern much better than sending a check to a large, opaque organization and never knowing what they did with money.

We've also found a few ways to follow the same general pattern to help some local people in need.  I'm not going to get into the details on these, as in some cases these are done anonymously and we'd like to keep it that way.  The important bit, for us, is the combination of direct knowledge of how the contributions get used, and a trusted intermediary to administer them.

After a bit of fumbling with ways to do achieve this pattern of contributing back to our community, we've learned to be a little creative and a lot careful – and we really like the results...

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