Dollar-A Day: Rethinking the critique

My son Aaron first brought the Dollar-a-Day donation approach to my attention.

That led to a blog post last week.

It turns out he then thought my analysis missed something important.

To interpret his response (below), it helps to know that he grew up immersed in discussions of charitable organizations. He actively supports charities personally, and sits on the committee of his employer that directs the company’s philanthropic support. He’s 30 and lives in London, England. He wrote:

One thing you overly discounted is just how hard it is for someone not used to thinking about these things to know where to start.  Ours is the jilted generation with no natural trust in institutions -- even well-meaning ones. 

Or put it another way, if you didn't grow up with particular influences about charity, and you finally started making a bit of money, how would you decide who to give 300-500$/year to?  You've read about mismanagement, you've even watched a TED Talk discuss how choosing a good charity isn't as simple as looking at expense ratios, etc.  Where does one even begin? 

Assuming someone can even narrow their choices and decide they want to support a particular sector: how does someone with no experience determine between the various charities?  Pretend that you don't know anything, but you think 'water is important;' how does someone approach this Gooogle search result: The organization I ‘like’ the most is the seventh on the list, and I know of it only through my company.


I generally agree with your post, but some of those in the under-giving years of the 20s/30s could find the Dollar-A-Day approach to be a gateway to the more-informed giving you want to see. This way at least they could say "Well I don't know what to do, but they appear to at least not select dodgy places.” That might be a good start.
Interesting one to watch!

Yes indeed. If Dollar-A Day is the gateway that Aaron suggests, I hope they go gangbusters. Maybe they’ll be part of bringing a new generation into philanthropy.