Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Charitable giving and Haiti

Citizens, nonprofits and governments have stepped up quickly to donate funds to help the earthquake victims in Haiti. But before you write a check, think about (1) doing some research to see how much of the money will go to the victims versus how much will go to overhead and (2) strongly considering making an unrestricted gift to your nonprofit of choice as opposed to a gift earmarked to Haitians. The reason for the latter is that donors in this type of situation historically have tended to give more than is needed at the time. Blogger Felix Salmon raises some additional points in his post "Don't Give to Haiti" (disclaimer: I saw the link in Andrew Sullivan's blog). Final thought: also consider upping your gifts to the charities you normally support. Why? The principle of substitution: gifts to Haiti are likely to displace other forms of charitable giving this year.

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