Ken Stern urges us to do our homework and get smart about donations:
In 2010 Hope Consulting, a San Francisco–based consultancy, undertook one of the most comprehensive surveys ever of donor habits. It found that two-thirds of all donors report doing no research at all on their charitable contributions each year, and just 5 percent do two or more hours of research. On average, Americans spend about four times as long to research television purchases (four hours) and eight times as long researching computer purchases (eight hours) than they do with more expensive investments in charities (one hour). Indeed, some of the latest research suggests that Americans may subconsciously avoid finding out the facts in fear of undermining the “warm glow” they get from giving.
Instead of doing research, Americans give out of habit: Almost 80 percent of all gifts are labeled as “100 percent loyal,” meaning most people give…
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