Charitable Mutual Funds (updated)

[Note: don’t assume you know what a Charitable Mutual Fund is. It’s an evocative but really misleading name but I don’t have a better handle for it yet. This is not an investment vehicle, it does not return any money. It is way to allow a donor to donate to one or more causes that match certain objectives. Please read on…]

Scenario: What if I wanted to make a charitable gift to reputable non profits, who work in my state, who focus on homelessness? I could research it with various services (such as GuideStar) I might see one or two that speak to me, and decide to write a check or two. Now of course they would come back to me a year later (or sooner) to ask for another donation, and maybe I would or maybe I’d like to pick a different one.

So here’s an idea that (literally) came to me in a dream. I don’t remember the story line but this idea stuck with me.

Continue reading

Phone spam, charities and trust

In the New York Times, an editorial talks about a study that reveals rampant abuses in certain charitable causes (or organizations passing themselves as such)

“The public has rightly shown its empathy with wounded and troubled war veterans, contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to private charities that claim to have the veterans’ best interests at heart. A new study details rampant abuses of the money flow.” (from New York Times)

The study referenced is from a very reputable outfit, Charity Watch.

I haven’t done a careful comparison, as the names of charities that call my house have many very similar sounding names. But my experience in dealing with them on the phone has been almost uniformly unpleasant: strange hard-sell tactics, rudeness, accusations and so on. I had my suspicions and this new study kind of corroborates them.