006 – Doing Good Matters – The Most Important Charitable Cause for You

The Most Important Charitable Cause for You

Welcome back to the weekly Doing Good Matters podcast

This is the podcast dedicated to those generous people across the U.S. who donate their time and money to charities.

  • By giving our time and money, we help make the world a better place.
  • By giving our time and money, we do good — and doing good matters.
  • And there’s a lot of good remaining to be done, both locally and globally.

Making sure our donated time and money is well spent takes thought and effort. It’s serious work.

This is Ed Long. Each week on this podcast I talk about charities and provide actionable tips to help donors and volunteers to take their philanthropy to the next level and do good even better.

Because doing good matters.

We’re building a community of caring people who want to make the world better. And are willing to spend time and energy to make it happen. And to find and support strong charities doing solid work. You can Join the Community now.

Episode 006

  • # 1The most important charitable cause for YOU. Knowing your most important cause(s) is a key part of focusing your giving to charity.
    • From aging to zebra protection, the causes each of us cares about are uniquely personal, based on our life experiences and views of the world.
    • Think about what makes you angry, sad, happy or fearful for the future. These can be strong indicators of issues and concerns you care about.
    • Figuring out which causes you care most about is Step #8 in How to Become a Master Charity Donor.
    • Also consider the geographic scope you wish to pursue. Is it local? National? Worldwide? Or a combination?
    • Quick link: Free & More, where you can find our free Things I Care About starter list and the How to Become a Master Charity Donor book.
  • Today’s question. I asked you for your help.
    • Let’s figure out ways to teach children about philanthropy.
    • Children are the future of philanthropy — it’s important they have the skills to do it well.
    • I found a bunch of websites that basically say: teach children by letting them see you give to charity.
    • I want to go beyond that. For starters, I want us to be able to teach children that not all charities are the same. Not only do they have different missions, they have different levels of effectiveness.
    • If you’ve taught children, as a teacher or a parent or older brother or sister or otherwise — you can help.
    • Please provide your thoughts in the Reply / Comment section at the bottom of the page. Or email me at ed[@]seriousgivers.org
  • Today’s Charity Baloney is the belief that the all charities need more money all the time. The truth is that some charities already have more money than they need. This is why we look at a charity’s reserve ratio (its net assets divided by the amount it spends in a year). Guide Dogs for the Blind, for example, has a reserve ratio of 9.23 — that means it has enough money now to cover 9 future years of spending. It doesn’t need more donations now. In our screening system
    • a reserve ratio between 0.5 and 2.0 is appropriate (6 months to 2 years of spending in reserve),
    • a ratio below 0.5 or above 2.0 (but not above 5.0) might be reasonable in an organization’s specific circumstances, but should be discussed with the charity, and
    • a ratio above 5.0 fails our screening standard.
  • Today’s sponsors are the numbers 25 and 619. The National Center for Charitable Statistics has created a system (taxonomy) of nonprofit categories. There are 25 major groups, and 619 more focused categories (3-character codes). Knowing a charity’s 3-character code can help you find other charities doing similar work.

Share your questions and feedback

I’d love to hear from you. I read every comment and email. Three options,

  • Send a voicemail using the black tab on the right side of any page.
  • Use the reply / comment box below.
  • Send me an email at ed[@]seriousgivers.org.

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Coming up next week: Create your charity bulls-eye.

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About Ed Long, the podcaster

Podcaster Ed Long has been preparing more than 40 years to do this podcast. He knows charities and the rules that apply to them. He’s analyzed charity finances and operations.  He’s founded and run charities, and volunteered for them. He’s helped the public and law enforcement fight fake charities, and has served as a philanthropy educator and coach. Before all that he worked as a partner with a major Wall Street law firm. Ed is the founder and CEO of SeriousGivers, which itself is a charity.

Ed knows the great work that strong charities can do with the resources entrusted to them, and is passionate about helping others find and support strong charities.