My Experience with Main Street Philanthropy

I learned that there are numerous methods and algorithms that can be used to evaluate charities to see if they are a worthy investments. While donating to charities is a good cause, I learned it is a lot more worthwhile to donate to some charities over others. There are various angles to look at.  For the most objective, you can look at their most recent available tax form(the 990) and evaluate the ratio of where their funds go in regards to management costs, and actual contributions to their cause. A charity that donates over half of its funds to their cause is more likely to send your money to where you want it to be than a charity who pours money in to their managers. Moreover, if you have narrowed it down after such an analysis, calling and communicating directly to the charity will also give you a good amount of insight int the nature of the charity. If the representative of the charity is passionate, knowledgeable, and welcoming, you can the charity will try to make the best of your donation. If you are being realistic, though, its best to pick a charity off their taxes since that will give you the best idea of where your money will end up.

I mentioned a little of this already, but by looking at the numbers of an organization can reveal how trustworthy and dedicated a charity is. The 990 form presents you with everything you want to know. It shows you how much money they deal with, whether they are having more or less money than the previous year. Regardless of any increase or decrease in funds, it may also show you why. If a higher percentage of their money is flowing into the pockets of their management over their support for their cause, you should be discouraged, as it may mean your donation will only serve to increase a person’s income rather than be put to use saving lives of helping others. You would also learn about the organizations sustainability. You want the charity to be helpful, but not to the point they’ll be unable to continue if they lose funds for a period of time.

This project has adjusted my view on donations and volunteering. It isn’t as easy as I thought to be a good¬† person. Even some good charities, based off analysis, may deal in so little money that it isn’t worth donating to them as they may not know how to deal with money well enough to have a major impact. By being knowledgeable and aware of these charities, you can really see what impact you have a chance at making. The better the charity, the more worthwhile and meaningful your contribution will be. By ensuring you invest in truly helpful charities, and maybe volunteering at them, you can be satisfied your good will is not wasted.

I chose St.Jude’s research Hospital and the San Diego Cancer Research Insitute(SDCRI). St. Jude’s looks and providing treatment and aiding the research of new medical breakthroughs for children, while the SDCRI aims to research cancer and its treatment. These goals align with my group, as we sought to find a charity that will best use our contributions to medical research. Both these organization’s scored well, but St.Jude’s location was far, and it was very sustainable. The SDCRI also appeared to be a good organization, but it dealt with very little money, so I wasn’t sure they would be able to put it to the best use.

My groups final decision was the Scripps Research Institute. We choose them because their primary goal was medical research and the their taxes proved it was the main focus. Their organization and it’s aim best aligned with my group as it solely focused on medical research, and since it didn’t have a specific disease it dedicated it’s research too, there is a chance our contributions could aid many causes, certainly more than one. Upon our visit, and though communication with them, you could tell they were very passionate, and they had good facilities for research. Everything about the organization showed it was the best charity equipped to deal with medical research.

I’m optimistic that our money will be used to help continue and allow valuable research into biomedical treatments and devices for new ways to help people tackle any illness or conditions. While our contribution is admittedly small, I hope it is enough to help support the research the Scripps Research Institute is doing, and that it can really help them fund their research long enough for even the smallest breakthrough. In the future, should I have the time and resources, I will try to donate more significantly, or volunteer my time to help these respectable organizations carry out their missions. All the organizations, not just the Scripps Research Institute, do good work, and I would be more than happy enough to contribute any aid I can to their cause.


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