On #GivingTuesday-Let’s Re-Think How We Give

So this weekend while listening to the TED Radio Hour on NPR (interested? there’s a podcast!), I heard portions of a TED talk by Dan Pallotta, who claims we hold our charities back with our expectations of low overhead.

Pallotta’s argument is that while we reward start-ups for taking big risks with other people’s money, when non-profits do the same to achieve their goals, we call them risky. He proposes that spending money on overhead is not necessarily a bad thing. It depends on the results generated.

photo from Forbes.com
We don’t like charities. They play on our guilt by harassing us with non-stop phone calls, emails, and tear-jerker videos our other guilt-ridden friends share on social media. So we avoid them by not answering their calls and muting the friends that can’t let it go. After I gave blood to the Red Cross, they called me no less than 5 times to thank me for my donation. I logged into my account and removed my phone number.

We look for reasons to hate them so we can not feel guilty anymore. That’s why Richard Berman’s HumaneWatch campaign against The Humane Society of the US was so damaging. We already wanted to stop feeling guilty about eating chickens and cows, and Berman gave us an out. Never mind everything he said was a lie. We bought into it… because we wanted to. Kinda like we did in electing our next president. But, I digress…

During the holiday season we are feeling generous (and we’re looking for a tax deduction), so we are far more likely to give at this time. I challenge you to rethink who you give to and why.

There are plenty of non-profits out there. Give to those who stoke your passions.

One of the reasons why I love Big Cat Rescue in Tampa is not only do they care for big cats, but founder Carole Baskin advocates for big cats at all levels of government. Rescue is good, but if you’re not doing anything to stop the need for rescue, you’re simply enabling the industry to continue.


Grey2K USA helps facilitate the adoption of retired racing dogs but, more importantly, they advocate for an end to the dog racing industry.

Faunalytics is a source for research on animal care and animal welfare from all over the world. It’s an excellent resource for those of you looking for science to back up your arguments against animal cruelty (not that we believe scientists anymore).

These charities have lots of people on staff, people who are doing good work for the welfare of animals. Help them keep doing that good work. Give to help these good people have a decent living wage too. Why should they live in poverty because they want to help others?


Today is an opportunity to redeem yourself. Voted for the guy who lied to you but told you what you wanted to hear? Today give to a charity that will hold him accountable, such as HSUS.

Threw away your vote on a protest candidate? Redeem yourself by giving to a stable, reputable charity such as the 150-year-old ASPCA.

Couldn’t be bothered to vote at all? Then you just make a donation to my PayPal account and let me donate your money for you. 


3 thoughts on “On #GivingTuesday-Let’s Re-Think How We Give

  1. Well said. I once read a negative comment about the head of a charitable non-profit’s salary. The salary was much smaller than any (equal sized) for profit. It was global with a huge budget to manage. The expectations that someone would work for nothing (or next to it) is insane. You need really talented people to be successful and as you say, they should not be penalized because they do something good! BTW I also hate the phone calls. DO NOT CALL ME.

    1. Yeah, the calls piss me off too. I am of a belief that guilting someone into donating is highly inappropriate. But I guess non-profits are like politicians- by any means necessary.

  2. I have almost no money to give, but I do give. Often to private people who are desparate and deserve a break. I givve to Durell’s foundation where they are trying to save endangered species by breeding and when possible, giving them back to the wild … or making a home for them on Jersey (the isle therof). I throw $5 to wikipedia because I use them a lot. But that’s about all i’ve got. There are so many worthy causes … and we could probably be classified as a worthy cause ourselves. But I try. I never give to telephone solicitors because most of them are scams. That’s pretty much it. I do what I can.

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