In Brief—Bay points out the necessity for ignoring the commerciality that smothers the real meaning of the season and spending your money on the worthy causes that can really make a difference.
“Ho, Ho, Ho!” Donations That Have Real Impact—
We all need another tie or toy like we need water in our shoes. How many times have you smiled gamely at the giver and thanked her/him while thinking, “Oh, God! Not another gift that will never get used.” Well, here’s a solution.
For the past several years our family has agreed that we have enough “things” while there are folks who have little, who are sick, who fled their homes just to survive. We have made donations to worthy causes that address these needs and can always use more. You should do the same thing if you are not already ahead of us.
Here are organizations that can put those donations to use where they’re needed. These are truly worthwhile organizations. I’ve also provided a list of organizations that are already receiving attention but don’t really need the money they receive. By all means remember them if you need to but give where it truly counts!
Worthy Smaller Organizations that Need Your Donations—
These organizations are just a few of those recommended as worthy causes by both Bay and the courageous journalist Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. Most of the groups listed are relatively small and all give considerably more bang for the buck than the big guys.
Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres)—This organization provides medical treatment to all comers in areas often in conflict zones. Their personnel work where other organizations fear to tread. As if that isn’t enough, they provide much-needed treatment to sick people throughout the world where poverty is the killer.
Reading is Fundamental—This organization provides free books to kids who live in poverty in the United States. It’s a way for children to overcome America’s inequality while giving an intellectual boost to the kids.
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation—Despite what right-wing whiners trying to steal our rights may say, this organization is devoted to defending the First Amendment and our civil liberties. We’d be living in a fascist country if it were not for this group and others who value our freedoms.
Freedom of the Press Foundation— This is a group focused on freedom of the press under the First Amendment. Without groups like this and the ACLU the government would starve us of the right to know the truth. It’s always important, particularly when governments at the state and national level seek to bury or belittle the press.
Afghan Institute of Learning—Operated by Afghan and Pakistani women, this organization focuses on health and teaching and builds a foundation for a civil society. The Taliban wants to destroy good stuff like this.
Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee—Since 1972, this organization’s mission and efforts have been focused on turning poverty-stricken people into productive contributors to Bangladeshi society.
The Fistula Foundation—Operating in 32 countries throughout Africa and Asia, this organization provides surgery to eliminate the pain and isolation arising from a childbirth gone wrong. It’s focused on helping women.
GEMS (Girls Education & Mentoring Services)—In New York, young women who have been sexually exploited and trafficked learn solid gender-oriented principles in how to turn their lives around.
Partners in Health (PIH)—Focused primarily in Africa but with programs in other parts of the world, this organization works hard to improve the health of the poor.
In addition, Nicholas Kristof annually mentions overlooked organizations worthy of support. By reading Nicholas Kristof’s recommendations you can check out organizations that are both effective and in need of donations to carry out their missions.
By clicking on either of the light blue highlighted areas above, you will find several additional worthwhile non-profit organizations that can use your donation to better thousands of lives.
Organizations that have More than Enough—
The following organizations may be helpful, but they get more attention and money than the smaller worthwhile groups listed above. Why do these large groups get all the attention and so much money? They spend millions in advertising, they recruit mega-stars to advance their causes. Less bang for the buck. They don’t need your donations to survive.
The Red Cross—Sometimes effective, sometimes not. Enormous advertising costs. Wasteful.
The Cancer Society—Both private and government support. Enormous world-wide research focus.
The Roman Catholic Church—The wealthiest organization on earth. Richer than the United States. Global influence.
The Muscular Dystrophy Foundation—Worthwhile but heavily funded by the American government. Recruits mega-stars to promote contributions.
Your Local Church—By all means drop your small contribution in the basket they pass around every Sabbath, but be aware that your local church is part of a wealthy religious organization.
I’ve just scratched the surface of the organizations that don’t need your contribution. There are others, but be aware that these groups have more than ample support while the smaller organizations above need your contributions to carry on their work.
Give Where it Really Counts—
However you celebrate the holidays, give thought to the small organizations that work to improve the lives of people less fortunate. Make a meaningful donation today.