2022 Grateful 29: Choosing your Charity

Some months ago, I gave to a matched fundraiser for Casa Buna, an initiative in Romania that is doing trojan work for the kids in the Bucharest Ferentari ghetto and some remote villages in Arges County.

I know the folks involved so I’m absolutely sure that my money will be well spent. This is important for me and why I’m reluctant to give to big agencies. I don’t have the same faith. Ok, if I had millions, then perhaps I wouldn’t worry whether 25% or 50% or even 60% of my donation was going towards overheads. And yes, I know overheads are part and parcel of doing business – any business. But big salaries, posh cars, and plush carpets? Nah. That’s not what I’m working to fund.

And yet the rational part of me says yes, they have to have a marketing budget if they’re to get more funds. They have to entertain if they want to attract big donors. But still. My rational days are few. I’ve stopped giving to certain charities because of the deluge of thank you letters and unwanted gifts like address labels that I neither asked for nor want. If I have to bin your marketing bumf even after I’ve written to you asking you NOT to send me stuff, then our relationship is doomed.

Still though, I like to know where my money is going.

Whatever money Casa Buna raised, the dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation matched it with a grant. Presumably, dōTERRA does fundraising of its own to raise the money to match what others raise. I got this from them recently.

Thank you for supporting Alina Ion’s Match Program fundraiser for Asociatia Casa Buna. Because of your donation, approximately 750 children in Romania received free eye exams.

Asociatia Casa Buna is an organization in Romania focused on helping the less fortunate, particularly children. With this Match project, the organization purchased ophthalmological equipment, glasses frames, and lenses. With these supplies they were able to provide eye exams to vulnerable children from the Bucharest Ferentari ghetto and seven remote villages in Arges County, Romania.

The impact of this service is immeasurable because of the opportunities it makes available for these children such as proper education. According to Aliana Ion, “Through better access to medical care and education, these children living in vulnerable families have a chance to break the cycle of poverty.”

Thank you for your efforts to #EngageInGood and break cycles of poverty by providing eye exams to children in Romania.

With gratitude,
The dōTERRA Healing Hands team

I sincerely doubt that my donation was the sole reason for 750 kids getting free eye exams. But other than that, it was nice to know where the money went. To see Casa Buna’s model and what they do, download the English version of their 2021 Annual Report.

In Budapest right now, Utazó Ficak is a great example of transparency. They say what they raised and how they’ve spent it. They’re currently working on a kids’ nursery across the border in Ukraine. The Food Bank for Refugees is another that posts regular updates saying what they’re doing with the money they’ve raised and the difference they’re making to the lives of Ukrainian refugees in the city. Both are worthy organisations spending your money wisely.

I give often. Not a lot. But often. I started a tithing of sorts a few years back and now it’s a regular part of my business. It’s grand when the invoices are paid and the money is there; not so easy when the dosh is a little shy about making itself known. But still, even in the worst of times, there’s always been that 10%. And I’m certain that the 10% is the reason there’s always been money in the first place.

I have my favourites. But it’s nice, too, to see what’s out there. To see who’s doing what. I can’t resist an art auction for a good cause, like Ireland’s Incognito 2022 and Better Burma’s Artists against tyranny.

With so many good causes, though, it’s impossible to give to everything. But it is important to do your homework.

I was delighted to see that Ronan Scully’s Self Help Africa was rated by Impactful Ninja. [Congrats, Ronan.]

As detailed on the site, in 2020, Self Help Africa impacted 2.5 million people through 32 locally run projects. This work resulted in increased production for 275,741 households and improved access to financial services for 265,018 families. […] According to their financial report, Self Help Africa spent 92% of their income on programs, 6.4% on raising funds, and 1.6% on governance.

Impactful Ninja has been featured by EcoWatch, Greenpeace, Yahoo!, Impackter, AOL, and Open Democracy – says that the purpose of their site is to provide readers with actionable insights to help make a positive impact on the world and society. Their Charity Support section lists the best charities to support whatever your interest.

As the now-infamous Bunny Carr used to say – Give a little, it would help a lot.

Grateful to those who are making a difference.

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