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By eries in MLP
Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 01:04:03 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

Following a link from a story-on-that-other-site about technology in Cambodia, I came across this interesting site: http://www.cambodiaschools.com/. US$14K creates and names a brand new elementary school in Cambodia, fully loaded.

Sponsor: rusty
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...because it's waiting for your ad. So why are you still reading this? Come on, get going. Read the story, and then get an ad. Alright stop it. I'm not going to say anything else. Now you're just being silly. STOP LOOKING AT ME! I'm done!
comments (24)
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I've posted about this over-there too, but I think we'll get some higher quality discussion here. First of all, what do people know about this organization? I found some links, here and here, but who knows how accurate all of this information is.

More importantly, I'm curious what people think about the idea of trying to harness the online communities of which we are so fond (and now I'm thinking especially about /. and K5) to try and raise the money for something like this. How hard would it be to get 1000 K5 readers to each put up $14? Would you put it up? How would you like to go to school at Kuro5hin.org Elementary School? hmmm, on second thought....


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Would you donate $14 to create a new K5 Elementary School?
o Yes 73%
o No, I don't have $14 to spare 15%
o No, I don't think this is a good idea 5%
o No, I don't think virtual communities should meddle with real ones 5%

Votes: 89
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o story-on-t hat-other-site
o http://www.cambodiaschools.com/
o here
o here [2]
o Also by eries

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cambodiaschools.com | 13 comments (5 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
The poll, charities and governments (4.09 / 11) (#6)
by jesterzog on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 05:26:49 PM EST

I haven't voted in the poll because I'm not sure where I'd fit.

To be honest I probably would donate $14, but in a confusing way that doesn't mean I'm going to.

The opportunity would need to be easily presented to me at a time when I have cash immediately available. I can't donate it with a credit card because I don't use one, and probably the easiest way to get me to donate anything is to come up to me and get it.

I wonder if charities would (collectively) get more money if there was a more organised way that people could donate to them. Where I am, we've recently elected a more socialist-leaning government than we used to have with obvious controversy coming from people in the higher tax brackets.

Shortly after the election, the local edition of Readers Digest ran a poll asking people if they would be willing to pay higher taxes to help the poorer socioeconomic groups. It was a badly worded question that should have asked if people thought everyone should have to pay higher taxes. It didn't though, and it quickly had the government boasting about this majority of Readers Digest readers who thought taxes should go up.

I guess I take a slightly libertarian view, but what annoys me is that if people want to spend more money to help others, there are thousands of charities holding their hands out. The problem is that it's not always convenient and automatic to give them money in the same way that it's convenient (and automatic) to pay taxes to the government. Most people I know don't budget for charity, they just take it out of their pocket change to a collector on the street on Friday morning in exchange for a sticker so other collectors won't bother them as much.

There's a good reason why major charities themselves don't like giving money directly to governments and instead try to give it straight to the people on the ground who actually need it. Giving money as higher taxes on the assumption that a government will use it to help people is no guarantee that it'll ever get there.

I think if governments in western countries want to help people more in their own and other countries, they'd do it better by helping charities collect money from people more directly. This could be done by the governments' Internal Revenue Service collecting optional charity funds separately. Any other ideas on how to make charity donations convenient?

jesterzog Fight the light

meta-charity? (3.00 / 8) (#7)
by eries on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 08:48:03 PM EST

It wouldn't be that hard, AFAIK, to set up an entity that helped people budget for charity. You could let people create a small charity fund, and donate some combination of interest and principal to the charity of their choice on a regular basis. That's basically what I'm considering doing (in a more particular case) with CambodiaSchools.com. The advantage of a larger (and I cringe at using meta yet-another-time) meta-charity is that it could invest all of the collected funds and get a much higher rate of return than the individuals could get for themselves, sort of the way University endowments are managed today.

Anyway, just my $.02
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[ Parent ]
I don't understand what's so difficult. (3.00 / 5) (#8)
by elenchos on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 11:13:43 PM EST

If you hate credit card interest and fees (as I do), what is wrong with a Visa debit card attached to one of your bank accounts? I have one with no fees, and because I normally keep less than $50 in the account, I have some measure of security if someone captures my CC# (I hope).

And even if you don't do that, what is so hard about mailing a check or money order? Are you saying that you will only donate to charity if it is automatically deducted from your pay like withholding taxes? That sounds a little, well, lame. Couldn't you just say, "Yeah, I know I should donate something to charity, but I've just been to disorganized lately. One of these days when I get my shit together..." That would be something that just about everyone could sympathize with, though not admire.

Speaking of lazy, I don't feel like looking it up right now, but I have heard of many charities that manage to get less than 10% of the money they are given to the people they are supposed to help, and the rest gets eaten up by overhead, like the costs of attracting more donations. There are plenty of government programs that do better than this, and some that do worse. I don't think it's so easy to know if a government or private organization is the best choice in a given case. It requires research. But first I need to get another beer...

[ Parent ]

voluntary charity (3.33 / 3) (#11)
by jesterzog on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 01:10:33 AM EST

Couldn't you just say, "Yeah, I know I should donate something to charity, but I've just been to disorganized lately.

That's pretty much it, actually. Putting it like that has sidestepped the point I was trying to make, though. Even if and when I do get my act together it won't change the fact that most people won't. Collectively there won't be much difference from the situation now because .. well .. now would be exactly the same as then. Nothing will have changed to prompt people to donate any more than they are already, except my own person getting my act together.

Besides, a lot of what I might donate that way is already going to one charity or another via the taxes that I'm paying. If I wasn't donating it through the government I could take more direct responsibility for where I want it to go.

I have heard of many charities that manage to get less than 10% of the money they are given to the people they are supposed to help, and the rest gets eaten up by overhead, like the costs of attracting more donations.

I won't argue that it happens, but you have the option not to donate to the particular charity if you don't think the money's going where it's supposed to. You don't have the option not to donate to the government if you don't trust it, and you don't have any serious control over who they give it to once it's been taken. (If you think the government's a good option to manage your charity though, I doubt they'd mind you donating more money than necessary.)

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
Donating to charities via tax forms (3.33 / 3) (#13)
by byte on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 03:35:38 AM EST

Actually, this is done in some parts of the US. In my home state of California the Franchise Tax Board (i.e. state taxes) form 540 includes a bunch of check boxes for donating to various worthy causes.

[ Parent ]
cambodiaschools.com | 13 comments (5 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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