Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Roundup: Charitable Donations In Hard Economic Times

News stories over the weekend covered a range of charitable donation topics.  Besides appeals form continued charitable giving even in these hard economic times, including from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and reports of significant declines in donations from groups such as Oxfam, the stories included:

  • The New York Times reported that charities continue to hold spring benefits but have generally scaled back these annual events to save costs and avoid appearing extravagant.  For example, when the Food Allergy Initiative and City Harvest learned that they were holding their events at the same location on the same day, they arranged to share many of the same table arrangements and other decorations to reduce costs, while Guide Dogs for the Blind decided to forgo flashy events in large venues for smaller-scale benefits in donors' homes.
  • In a separate story, the New York Times also reported that charities are increasingly taking part in for-profit sponsored contests that direct donations to winning charitable organizations.  For example, Target has launched a Facebook page where Facebook members can vote for one of ten charities to receive $3 million from the company.
  • Internationally, the Associated Press reported that Venezuelan lawmakers are drafting a bill that would require all foreign donations for domestic nongovernmental organizations to be deposited in a government-controlled fund, from which distributions would be made only at the discretion of government officials.  Leaders of Venezuelan NGOs criticized the bill as an attempt to silence critics of the President Hugo Chavez and legislators who support him.


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