Thursday, December 24, 2015

#GivingWeek 2015 Update

This is the update from my previous post at the start of the month.

Anyway, this is just me showing my accountability that I do what I said I'll do.

I found out that the SGGives website which I used the previous year is actually closing down to make way for, which make sense since they needn't be 2 websites that essentially do the same thing. The website feels a lot more laggy though, it did take me quite a long time to browse through and finally donate.

I have a friend that volunteers weekly out of pure kindness, so sometimes I feel horrible that I'm not doing anything more for society. Donating kind of feels like the least effort way of contributing.

But then again, I have come across an article, which I can't find, but I roughly remember the gist of. In it, it explored how there are some groups of people who do their part for the community without volunteering at all. How do they do it? They opt and work for the highest paying job that they can get, live a frugal and simple life, and donate the bulk of it to charity. They also pinpoint their funds to the charities that are the most "effective" in using the donations to make an impact as well.

While this might sound like a very impersonal and sterile way to contribute to society, they do make some points. Firstly, most volunteers are horrible at what they are volunteering for. Second, most volunteers would likely be more productive doing something else other than volunteering. Essentially, this is pretty much a time and revenue maximization problem.

Why volunteer for a day if you can instead earn tons of money and use that money for more impact, like for example, to cover the expenses of having 10 much-more-efficient volunteers? The main reason I suppose is the reduced feelings of being happily charitable because of the distance between the donor and the "frontlines".

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not dissing volunteer work at all. I'm just bringing forth a less accepted form of thinking with regards to charity work and donations.

Anyway, that was a rather long rambling about nothing financial at all.

It's Christmas Eve and I wish everyone Happy Holidays! Have a great end of the year everybody!


  1. Hi GMGH, what you're talking about is the earning-to-give strategy. There's an article on Wikipedia about it. Personally I think it works, but perhaps only for those with the strongest convictions about doing good. Imagine if you're an investment banker, will you really be able to stick to your guns about living a simple and frugal life in order to donate a lot of money to charity, when everyone around you is enjoying luxuries? Certainly some people can and have done it, but I suspect the average person will lose sight of their original goal.

    1. Hi J,

      Thanks for the info about the earning-to-give strategy!

      Ah, most people can resist all things except temptation, haha! I think it is quite tough, especially if one upgrades their lifestyle to suit their income accordingly. Spending more money is never a problem. Working in such a high level job definitely also has peer pressure and probably lots of mocking from co-workers too.

      However, I think if one is really content with their life and stay focused on their goal, it is very possible. The fact is that most people are still working on looking after themselves and their family, so giving is not really part of the equation for them yet.

  2. That said, kudos to you for actually doing what you said you would! How did you choose which charities to donate to btw? I'm interested in donating to secular ones.

    1. Hi J,

      There are hundreds on charities listed on Some are IPCs, some are not. Some are eligible for the commchest 1-for-1 matching, some are not. I picked based on a reduced list of charities would benefit from the 1-for-1 matching to double the effectiveness of my donation.

      While I initially preferred to donate to secular charities, I found that while certain charities have been set up by religious organizations, many of them benefit people regardless of race or religion. I think picking charities based on their mission and also services provided to their benefactors is a good way to target charities that handle issues you feel strongly about.


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