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Interesting links: Reeta Roy, religious giving, Charity Navigator and more

December 21, 2010

Lots of interesting reading around the holiday time – here are some links to keep you occupied during the break!

  • Reeta Roy, President of the Mastercard Foundation, writes at the Stanford Social Innovation Review on the power of microfinance and how there is more work to do.  We at SAPP have noticed a keen interest among our readers on microfinance as a cause to support so we hope you’ll enjoy Reeta’s column.
  • Charity Navigator, the online directory of US charities, has modified its rating formula according to the New York Times.  Many of you know I have taken issue with Charity Navigator in the past, especially how their IRS Form 990-based formula did not count the leveraging impact of volunteers.
  • That New York Times article mentions Hope Neighbor, profiled here in Fast Company. Neighbor’s company, Hope Consulting, is researching the giving patterns of wealthy donors and gauging the market for “impact investing” and charitable giving.  The NYT notes that “[o]nly 35 percent [of donors] do any research before making a gift, and only 10 percent use services like Charity Navigator as their primary source of information about nonprofits.”
  • Statistics Canada released donation data from the 2009 tax year.  They found that 23% of taxfilers claimed a charitable gift, making a total of $7.8 billion dollars in charitable gifts.   Although this number is large, it continues a decline from 2008.
  • I really enjoyed this year-end column at Big Questions Online by Susan Jacoby on religious givers vs. secular ones:  “[T]he religious give a higher percentage of their income, and are about 25 percent more likely to give, than do secularists.  Indeed, believers are 10 percent more likely than secularists to give to secular causes…”
  • Many of you know I’m a tax geek at heart, so this column in the New York Times by a University of Chicago econ professor proposing changes to the charitable tax deduction was right up my alley (Hat tip to Nonprofit Law Prof Blog and @tactphil).
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