The [Ninja Turtles] henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady have hijacked the musical genres for us just like the Lone Ranger hijacked the William Tell Overture for our parents.

- xkcd

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

An Internal Debate

Hmmm, I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this post because I can't remember who I've actually told about this blog. It's unfortunate when you'd like to complain about somebody behind their back on the internet but you're not sure if they might actually read your blog.

What makes it worse is that I know it's such a good post as well. Oh well, I guess I'll just pass on that now and talk about something similar.

The alternate question of the day: charities. I don't really donate lots to charities. I don't know if that is because I'm really selfish (most likely) or because often I don't really feel like the contributions I make would do that much good. It's not that I don't want to help out but after everything I read about how if you donate, only X percentage of the money actually goes towards the cause and the rest go towards "administrative expenses."

I mean, are these expenses paying jackasses like me who want to make more money? Does it go to advertising or to paying the CEO?

If these all sound like excuses for not giving more money away to charities, I guess they probably are. To me the question becomes though, am I more of a jackass for not wanting to give these faceless (non-profit) corporations my money? It was hard enough to get the little money I have and just giving it away strikes me as illogical.

I guess I could give money (or food or whatever) to local places like homeless shelters and stuff that aren't quite as faceless as NPO's like the Salvation Army (evil!), the Red Cross, or what have you. But even that doesn't strike me as a great way to use what little money I have. These internal debates are going to some day cause my head to explode. And in the meantime, I'll keep feeling like a jerk for not actually giving much to charities.

Perhaps the best solution here is just sticking to being a jackass and talk about the things I'm thinking of buying with the sweet $12 of disposable income that I have for myself. Mmmmm, maybe I'll buy some Chipotle.


At 8/08/2006 1:05 PM, Blogger Chuckles said...

Disposable income?

I guess that is a good term to call all the money I flush down the toilet trying to look nice, meet people and generally do anything but play Guitar Hero.

At 8/08/2006 3:47 PM, Anonymous Adorable Girlfriend said...

I think you should give to organizations. I used to be pissed about how much the Medical Director at the Red Cross made until I thought about it. It's far less s/he would make in industry. Many non profit folks do good work and help keep costs down. Health insurance proves if we could take private insurance out of the mix, costs could drop dramatically. Thus, I support certain non profits. So, I say, donate. You don't have to give 1 million dollars, but a few dollars here or there does make a difference.

At 8/08/2006 4:23 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

You can always give your time to charities if money is an issue. Volunteering can be rewarding and it doesn't cost a dime from your pocket1

At 8/08/2006 4:23 PM, Blogger dontEATnachos said...

Hmm, I guess I'll have to consider that.

I also sometimes wonder how you should split say a contribution to a homeless shelter vs. say giving money to an organization that will work to reform policies that lead to homelessness.

Is one treating the symptoms and the other the cause or what?

Maybe I just use analysis paralysis as an excuse for selfishness.

At 8/08/2006 4:26 PM, Blogger dontEATnachos said...

Well, I'm actually not that crunched on money (well besides needing to save up so that I can quit wasting money on rent).

I'm usually far more crunched for time. Still, I probably should volunteer someplace. Great way to meet people and do something different.

At 8/08/2006 11:13 PM, Blogger teh l4m3 said...


So yeah, dontEATnachos makes a great point: volunteer your free time when you've got it. Unless of course you're unsure that you can maintain the commitment. Then don't. Alternatively, in-kind donations are very much appreciated by many social service organizations -- be sure you're giving appropriately though, and be sure you aren't giving something that you wouldn't yourself want to receive. Catholic Charities and Larkin Street Youth programs, for example, are not landfills.

AG kinda misses the point (sorry, bubele) -- plenty of "organizations" are fine, but if it niggles enough, do a bitty-bit of research. Any non-profit's 990s are public record and are almost immediately available on or at the Foundation Center down on Sutter. Rule of thumb: any non-profit with an overhead of more than 12% is iffy. Even then, though, if you like a particular program, but not necessarily the way it's administered, you can carefully earmark your $$ donation so that it may pay for only a particular item in the budget, and may not go to operating costs.

Hope that helps.

Oh, thanks for the amazon thing. Slightly more at my place...

At 8/08/2006 11:18 PM, Blogger teh l4m3 said...

Ooh, snap. I wrote that entire reply with fulsome in mind.

Ignore fulsome-related parts, and carry on. My basic points stand.

At 8/09/2006 6:03 AM, Anonymous Adorable Girlfriend said...

Oh teh teh. If that point was to donate to your library, than yeah, AG missed it!

Actually teh, it's probably time for you to do a call-out again to all of us for some much needed books for your group. If we can get a receipt or some sort of letter for our donations, AG is in for a book or two.

At 8/09/2006 7:29 AM, Blogger dontEATnachos said...

wow teh, that's a lot of good info.


At 8/09/2006 12:31 PM, Blogger teh l4m3 said...

AG: yeah, everyone gets a letter of acknowledgement. I'm a little late in sending off one for a certain generous little love monkey, but that's because I wanted to personalize it, and my printer's on the fritz to boot.

Also, when I get my digitimable camera shit together, I'll even take pictures of the stuff on the shelves...

dEn: dontMENTIONit. ;)


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