roundup, 2

This year’s donation roundup.

Memberships

I donated to the Free Software Foundation twice this year. In 2013, they started their donation/membership campaign in January. This year, they started it in December. I renewed my membership in December.

I also renewed my membership to the Electronic Frontiers Foundation.
Both of these groups also received donations through MollyGive (see below).

Activities for Charity

People do things for charity. Walks, runs, polar bear plunges. I decided that I would donate the same amount to each person who did one of these throughout a year. I would not make a second donation for a second activity unless it was a cause I personally cared about. Please remember this when I ask for money for the Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon. Please. The following charities/activities were a part of that.

*This amount was higher in order to complete a matching donation project someone was doing.
**This amount was higher in order for someone needed to complete their fundraising goal.
+This link is actually for their fundraising page, which explains where money goes. I love it!

MollyGive

This year I started the MollyGive Donation Matching Project. We here at MollyGive wanted to try to encourage others to participate in getting rid of their money at the end of the year. We offered a matching program: Matching per individual per organization. I donated to groups I would not have otherwise. I learned a lot about people I know, and what they care about. You can see some trends below.

Through this program, the following donations were made:

Donations

I also just made some straight up donations.

Someone I know is a clown with Clowns Without Borders. While I don’t like the “Without Borders” branding, I do like that she went to Palestine to do shows and workshops. Their schedule was super rigorous: 2 weeks, 20 shows, 3 workshops. I have a lot of thoughts about why Palestine needs extra care, and even supporting that a little bit was important to me.

After all of this, my two personal charities for the year are Give Directly and SCI. I think Give Directly is a solid group, and current research on charities and giving (and impact) align with the idea that just giving people money is actually the best way for them to help themselves (in many, but not all, aspects of life). SCI is a charity that deals with parasites. If you know how I feel about parasites, you would understand.

Take Away From the Year

MollyGive Matching was a roaring success. Along with almost every donation request, people said that they’d been meaning to donate, but hadn’t, that this gave them a clear deadline that helped, or that it inspired them to look for a new charity. One of my friends even started a similar program!

I don’t think I’ll do MollyGive again. I want to emphasize that this is only a possibility and is based on how I feel at this moment. How I feel in eleven months will be very different.

I liked what I got out of it. Seeing my friends participate in ways they wouldn’t otherwise was inspiring. I learned a lot about my friends, including that they care about giving money to things I don’t care about giving money to. I think I’m going to write a post shortly about why you should donate to technical projects and charities (even though I am not interested in doing so myself).

I am planning on scaling back my donating next year. I’ve spent years arguing with people over how donating is important, because people need help now. I need help now, but I am okay and plenty of other people are not. I feel as though the money I spent this year wasn’t actually going to help people. It was helping organizations and policies. It was impacting life on a broad scale. It wasn’t tackling things I consider to be life-threatening issues. After spending the amount of money I did (a higher percentage of my income went to donations than my student loans) on things I would have consciously chosen to not donate to otherwise, I wonder if there would be a value in taking care of my immediate solvency and existential problems (see: student loan debt). For the next year, I’m going to spend 10% of my income on my student loans, and the amount that has been currently going to my student loans on charity.

I was not able to complete all donations to MollyGive (see below). Separate from my financial plans for 2014, I will be using funds from my personal account (i.e. the money I live off of) to equalize the debts I owe to some of you (I’m looking at you, Vegan Outreach Fund donors). I have records of which donations were matched, and were the discrepancies are.

Over the course of the year, I gave and loaned money to people individually based on need. This has been a very negative experience for me, as people to whom I lent money have not paid me back and no one I “donated” money to ended up using it for that purpose. I have accepted both of these at this point, and am at peace with them. However, I do not intend to participate in either of these activities again. I will, however, continue to buy homeless people coffees and hot chocolates, hard working volunteers will get their boxes of bagels, and I will still buy cold children scarves. I view this section as a disclaimer more than anything else. This is why, I say as an excuse, that I did not donate the full amount I set out to.

I’ve learned that, in spite of what I feel can be a cold hearted attitude towards donating, I really love giving and spending time figuring out how to give. I think I’d be interested in getting involved with an organization that deals with large scale giving.

Appendix A

This is a table detailing charities and the percentage of the total.

2013 Donations

Group Type Source Percentage
American Indian College Fund Education MG 1
Bikes Not Bombs Community Activity 2
Children’s Cancer Fund Medical Activity 1
Children’s International Community  MG 1
Clowns Without Borders Community  Personal 4
Electronic Frontiers Foundation Technology MG/Membership 8
First Descent Medical Activity 1
Freedom of the Press Foundation Technology MG 2
Free Software Foundation Technology  MG/Membership 8.5
GiveDirectly Community  Personal 2
Internet Archive Technology  MG 2
Jimmy Fund Medical Activity 2
Khadafy Foundation Community MG 2
Lilith Fund Medical MG 2
MS Ride Medical Activity 1.5
OpenHatch Technology MG 10
Direct Peer Giving misc Personal 4
Pathfinder International Medical MG 2
Philly AIDS Fund Medical Activity 1
Samaritans Medical MG 2
Schisosomiasis Control Initiative Medical 1
TEAfund Medical  MG 2
Wikipedia Technology  MG 1
Total 100

Appendix B

2013-donations_022013-donations_01

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surplus

Giving away money has proved to be harder than I hoped.

I decided that this year I wanted to encourage other people to give. I decided I would offer matching donations of up to $100 per person per organization. This means any individual could donate to any number of organizations, and I would match. It also means that any number of individuals could donate to the same organization, and I would match that as well.

I told the internets and waited for the responses to come pouring in. A few people listed organizations that I assume they were interested in. When I asked them about amounts and/or proof of donation, there was no response. One of my friends went wild and cost me a few hundred with his dedication to helping victims of abuse and rape.

I pushed again, hoping to get more attention. I was louder this time. My mom told me she donated to Wikipedia. Having your mom take you up on this is like having your mom bringing you flowers at your school play, or telling you you’re the most beautiful person in the room. Of course they think you’re great, that’s what they’re supposed to do.

I put out a third call and some people start responding. I smile. Awesome.

If you’d like to partake in their year’s MollyGive program, drop me a line. I am happy to help.