Sunday, 16 March 2014

Skinflint Philanthropy.

Can one be a skinflint and a philanthropist?

When I started this blog a while back I decided that the best gift I could give to the world would be to sort my own life out. This is true of most people actually- by remaining solvent and healthy we give our friends peace of mind.

This does not mean it is not a good idea to make cost free donations when we can.

Here is an account of my past three months.

Five cups of miso soup and three almond croissants from Prett a Manger. Total cost £9.55. Charitable donations made by the company (including gifts in kind and other benefits) of approximately £1.

Goods given to local charity shop. £5.00
An order for a wine bag and some luggage tags through Orvis- an upmarket US outdoors chain. This came to £83.95 which is clearly expensive especially as only about 30p of this went to charity. A luxury purchase that I hope I will enjoy.
Total charity value is £6.30 from an expenditure of nearly £100. Not bad but not good either.
The following things are now clear.

The way to get maximum charity value is to go for those companies that give benefits in kind.
Do not confuse '10% of profits go to charity' with '10% of purchase price to charity'. The latter is far better.
Do not forget the staff! Retail workers are poorly paid and an ethical employer will treat them well.
We must never buy something we do not want simply for the good that it does.

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