MollyGive 2017

Monday launches one of my favorite parts of the year: MollyGive.

Frequently Asked Questions, Frequently Questioned Answers

What is MollyGive?

You donate up to $100 to a charity and I match it. I know many of you will be waiting until the last minute to donate (I do that too, usually), but I’ll be traveling December 24th – 31st. So, donations in by December 24th at 10AM EST.

How many charities can I give to?

As many as you want! I actually have a really hard time getting people getting people to tell me about their donations during MollyGive (maybe I have bad branding?), so, srsly, go wild.

What counts as a charity?

A 501(c)3 in the United States and something kind of flexible for non-US entities.

What about GoFundMe?

GoFundMe is not and should not be a substitute for public welfare and support. Unfortunately, it is. I give to medical GoFundMe campaigns and then make a donation to match that one to a healthcare reform advocacy group or Planned Parenthood.

Families USA is one President Barak Obama likes, and they do reasonably well on their CharityNavigator ratings on metrics I think are important.

Can you match my donation to the Linux Foundation?

No. You can’t really donate to the Linux Foundation. It is 501(c)6. This is a not-for-profit, not a non-profit. You could -give to- or -join- the Linux Foundation. Additionally, it’s a member based organization. They’d likely take my money separately if I contacted someone there, but I doubt I have enough for it to be really worth their while.

Where else won’t you give?

  • Organizations that are not 501(c)3s, with a special bitterness towards those who misappropriate terms like “donate” or misrepresent themselves.
  • Red Cross
  • Organizations that sell or “rent” donor lists
  • I’ll also be grumpy about ones that -share- donor lists, but I’ve been trying to do better with being grumpy about it.
  • Charities known for misspending funds.
  • Charities that are doing work I just disagree with.
  • I prefer to not donate to charities with high budgets because they simply don’t need the funds as much as other organizations.
  • I prefer to not give to groups who have highly paid EDs.
    • There are lots of reasons why one should pay an ED well–namely that a nonprofit is in direct competition with for-profits for qualified and skilled EDs. I just don’t think -anyone- needs to make that much.
  • The FSF. I should say, I won’t -match- donations to the FSF. I am a member and donate in addition to that during fundraising campaigns. I also work there. You should still totally donate to the FSF.

How do I pick a good charity?

That’s…up to you. I like to use Charity Navigator to help evaluate charities. (Disclosure: Charity Navigator gives the nonprofit for which I work a near perfect score, so I am a little partial to their judgment.)I’ve used GiveWell in the past, but am a little disillusioned with their methodologies at the moment. I’ll spare you all why for now.

Where do you donate? I don’t want to give somewhere you’re already giving.

If I donate there, I probably already care about it and would welcome the chance to give more. πŸ™‚

I failed to do an analysis of my giving from 2016 (or 2015 for that matter, I’ll uhh, try to get up on that). You can however read a bit about past years.

I work in the digital rights sphere, with an emphasis on free software. In addition to my paid and volunteer time, I donate to a number of groups including the EFF, Fight for the Future, the FSF, the Open Source Initiative, and the Software Freedom Conservancy. The ACLU and ACLU of Massachusetts do a lot of good work around digital rights as well.

I care a lot about environmental justice, gender justice, and prison reform and support.

I like to donate to charities that aren’t things I work on. Deb Nicholson once said: whenever I feel like I’m not doing enough for a particular cause, I donate to it, to support those who are working on it.

You named it after yourself?

Actually, no! David Nusinow did that.

Why are you doing this?

This has become a more complicated answer over the years.

Why: Option 1

I tithe–that is to say I set aside 10% of my take-home income and donate it to charity. It’s hard to figure out what to do with it all, and how to do as much good as I can. It’s great to have other people make those decisions for me.

Why: Option 1.A

You tithe? But don’t you have student loans/rent/a nonprofit salary/other financial responsibilities?

The world has lots of problems. If I wait until I am in a better position to help out then I may never do so. Additionally, there are problems RIGHT NOW that need immediate response (e.g. disaster relief), and things that will take lots of long-term effort (e.g. environmental justice). Why wait?

Why: Option 2

Matching donations are used to encourage others to give–it’s a lot easier to give $10 when you know it’s going to become $20. It’s encouraging to give $100 when you know it will be $200. I want more people to donate to charity–regardless of whether they can afford $5 or $1,000.

Why: Option 3

This is usually in response to someone accusing me of having a pathological need to give:

Who cares?

Why: Option 4

I love me some tax deductions.

Why: Option 5

Middle-class guilt.