|Status as of August 31, 2013, with about ten more days available for fundraising. |
Screengrabbed from this site.
And a lot of them eventually make their way into the pages of your newspapers or to your front door to ask for support. And when you tell them that you cannot donate because your charity budget has been max'd out by your existing pledges, their last-ditch persuasion is often, "Well, could you maybe just spare twenty bucks one time for a good cause, then?!"
Hmmm, let's see... doing the math, if I say yes to every local nonprofit who eventually asks me that question, I'll be out about eighty thousand bucks. I'm afraid that's a bit beyond my reach. Just a bit.
Here's a prime example from my personal history. Like much of America, I became enamored with Greg Mortenson's four-million-copy best-seller "Three Cups of Tea" and his efforts to build schools in Afghanistan. Finally, there seemed to be a viable route by which effective and near-direct developmental support could be rendered to one of the places in the world where it was most desperately needed.
|Mortenson's nonprofit Central Asia Institute (www.ikat.org) made it look soooo easy: they associated specific dollar figures with the services that could be provided for those corresponding amounts. I looked at this list and thought, "Wow - how cool is that??!! I can work, support my own family, save for retirement, AND pay the equivalent of one or more Afghani teachers' salaries every year!" |
List screengrabbed from this CAI fundraising guide.
|One of the most vocal of the CAI whistle-blowers was investigative journalist Jon Krakauer, who published an e-book titled "Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way". According to Wiki, it became a number one best-seller on Kindle (web excerpt here). Mortenson's "Three Cups of Tea" co-author later committed suicide. |
This Google auto-fill screengrab suggests the extent to which Krakauer, who was a prominent American writer long before his CAI expose, has become associated with his allegations.
|The corresponding 60 Minutes investigative footage can be seen here. Regarding this list above (tap to expand image), are these the kinds of uses to which you'd like your hard-earned money allocated? Nnnnope - me neither. |
Summary screengrab from Wikipedia.
I don't know the answer to that and I don't know the answer to other questions surrounding this organization. I do know that, in cases where ambiguity exists, I tend to respond by splitting the difference: I donate, but not as much as I would if instead I had a greater level of confidence in the nonprofit. Charitable contributions are really no different than other forms of investment in which portfolio diversification is key. By splitting the difference thusly, I can still participate as I would like to, but at the same time if the nonprofit's performance were to tank, I'm not out a large sum of money - certainly nothing approaching a third-world teacher's salary (or two, or three).
|Let's hope that Bayou Land Conservancy can get this job handled the way it needs to be. |
Screengrab from my on-line donation receipt.