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2013-08-11

For years now I’ve felt overwhelmed by the many appeals from organizations working for causes that matter to me. Appeals never seem to stop. I rarely see their names in news stories: the only information I get about most of these organizations is in their incessant requests for money.

I’ve wondered just how large or effective many of these organizations are. I imagine an organization consisting of two or three people - most of the funds they raise surely go to paying themselves to do whatever it is that they do.

Perhaps this is as it should be - I have no real way to know - but today’s News & Observer has an interesting article about the 400,000 groups dedicated to serving veterans

The problem is, the groundswell of support for our troops has led to
an overabundance of veterans groups.... With redundant efforts, groups
compete for the same resources – and donors are becoming skeptical
that the cause they support is really having any effect at all.

The article also mentions that the US has 1.6 million non-profits. I guess this means that 1.2 million are devoted to things other than veterans. That sounds like a lot of non-profits but it’s easy to be confused by numbers. But I’m beginning to feel that a non-profit has to prove to me that they’re effective before I donate to them.

Non-profit organizations that seem to be effective:

  • ACLU
  • EFF
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Nature Conservancy

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