My wife likes to write checks to charities and now our mail is about 80%
by weight mailings from charities looking for a buck. I guess once you
give to one, they hang you out there like a piece of meat for the other
I've gotten to the point where I pre-screen the mail on the way back to
the house from the mailbox, winnowing out the obvious scams (per
www.charitynavigator.com) before she sees them.
Anything to do with veterans (especially disabled...) or cops seems to
have an extremely high probability of being a scam.
"American Federation of Police & Concerned Citizens", "Coalition to
Salute America's Heroes", "Paralyzed Veterans of America"... sheesh!
Give me a break!!! Seems like there is a cottage industry that
consists of thinking up charitable organization titles that appeal to
good-hearted people who could never imagine what bottom feeders are out
Consequently I am acquiring a somewhat jaundiced view of the charity
industry and my own preference is to select a few four-star-rated
organizations from CharityNavigator and stick with them - canceling, of
course, my support after the second telephone solicitor's call.
Goodwill not only has training programs, they also have a free medical
equipment loaning service. If you or a family member need assistance
equipment - anything from a wheelchair to a bath bench to a cane - for
a short period of time, you can check out the equipment you need for
up to several months of use. It's a lifesaver for people who can't
afford to buy gear they'll only need while recovering, and it's very
convenient for those who can afford to buy, but don't want to get
stuck storing gear after they no longer need it.
A good time to retell my story about finding an electric wheelchair in
the trash. I called a guy I know who had a medical equipment
store, and he came over and said in the condition I found it, it was
worth 1000 dollars. (The most expensive thing I ever found) He had me
call the MS or MD people, and they sent some guys from another medical
equipment store to pick it up. They said they store it for a little
while until the MS or MD society has someone who needs it.
When I found it, it was impossible to push, but the battery was still
charged. It was really hard to walk behind or beside as I had it push
itself, so I had to ride it back to my house, about 300 feet away.
I'm pretty sure I sort of knew the guy whose chair it was. Well, that
is, he'd sit in the sun on nice days, and I'd wave as I drove by.
(Sometimes there was another guy in a wheelchair there too). After I
found the chair, I reaized he was never there anymore The people at
the apartment building just put his chair next to their dumpsters, never
thought about donating it somewhere, it seems. (Also the device that
he used to sit himself up in bed. I gave that to the same place. )
I look at the caller ID and don't answer a call from a charity
(especially excessively generic ones like "clothing pickup"). They
usually act as if my money and other stuff is really theirs and I have
some obligation to send it to them. I respond to mail IF I decide to give.
BTW, once I got a strange call where someone thanked me for a donation,
without trying to extract more. Just once.
Yes, I've heard of them. I wish I'd paid more attention to the names,
but it wasn't Purple Heart.
The fact that their reaction was almost word for word the same when I
asked them not to call me again has convinced me it was one company, and
it had a to be a profit-making company.
I also got a third call in 3 days trying to sell me alternative
Do you have caller ID? If not, it sounds like it would it
would pay for itself in no time.
I have it and if I don't recognize the number, I don't
answer. It's MY phone and I CHOOSE when to answer it.
Also, if your carrier supports it try
https://www.nomorobo.com /, works like a champ
There is an industry of professional fundraisers. They go to a
legitimate charity and promise to increase their contribution income,
for a commission. The charity will probably agree as they will gain a
little from this arrangement. The professional fundraiser takes
control, but everything the public gets is from the charity (even though
it is prepared by the fundraiser). The fundraiser probably doesn't have
a lot of ways to solicit donations, so pretty soon the solicitations
from many charities start resembling each other. I guess this is
legitimate, but to me there is a smell about it.
Threads like this always draw a lot of misinformation.
There are a lot of charities out there, and the vast majority of them
are worthy. I know this because we make a lot of contributions, and
before I make a contribution, I vet the charity. It is easy to do,
because almost all of them have to provide information to the IRS, and
there are organizations (http://www.charitynavigator.org/ is one) that
check the information and you can get a good picture of those charities
The Salvation Army does not file the forms, because they consider
themselves a religious organization, free of government rules. Every
person I know and consider informed on this subject praises the
Salvation Army and believes they use their funds wisely. If their
endowment is now a billion dollars, they must be using it, because they
received a single gift of $1.5 billion a few years ago. I have no
problem with them taking some time to plan how to use such a gift. And
that is not the only large gift they have received from informed donors.
So the donor community is happy with what the Salvation Army does.
And I have no problem with the head of the Red Cross receiving a large
salary, because they are running a huge organization and doing a good
job. The head of my electrical utility, which is a much smaller
organization, gets a salary that far exceeds that at the Red Cross (try
ten or twelve million dollars).
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