Thursday, December 11, 2008

Don't Bailout Charities

I've heard recently from several people in the sector that the recession is hitting many Irish charities badly. Several are facing rising demands for their support just as their revenue sources are drying up. Not good.

To add to their woes, the Government's ability to 'top up' the funding of charities (domestic and third world focused) is even more severely constrained. As I've suggested before, one way to get people more engaged in supporting charities is to give them a direct say in who gets what. Especially in relation to the dispersal of Irish Aid. I have personally found that to be the case through my involvement in Kiva.

Now is the time to support those charities focused on local needs. But rather than give the money directly to the charities, why not take a leaf out of the book of the Japanese and Taiwanese governments? They have decided to directly stimulate demand by giving their citizens billions of euro worth of shopping vouchers. Though in the case of Taiwan, citizens can give their vouchers to charities instead.

It could work here: though all the evidence suggests that the more religious among us will be a lot more generous. Could be an interesting experiment though: and a chance to talk about something other than the recession for a change ...

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