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Mike Ducar

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1) Why do you give? 

Three reasons: 1.The Golden Rule; 2. I am Christian; 3. I enjoy it. 

 

2) What are some of your favorite charities?

PPL Inc, Youth Frontiers and Patchwork Quilt.

 

3) Why those three?

Only through guidance and education can people in need break through the ring of poverty. These three organizations work extremely effectively with all age groups in pursuing that goal.

4) How do you choose which organizations to give to? What do you look for in a charity?

I volunteer doing hands-on tasks and serve on committees and boards that meet my giving objective. Low administrative overhead and demonstrable results are two key requirements I look for.

 

5) Why do you think giving is important? 

Why not share what you have with others once your family's financial needs have been met? You can't take your wealth “with you,” so why not give it away while you're alive? It's fun to write out a check, however small, and know that you're making a difference in someone's life.

 

6) How do you decide how much to give? How high is up?

Tough question to answer: I just learn as much as I can about the organization and then think about it for a week or so. Then, invariably, a number pops into my head. I usually go with it. Pretty scientific, eh?

 

7) Do you have experience working with a charity organization?

Sure, ranging from being a Habitat [for Humanity] carpenter and overnight volunteer monitor at a men's homeless shelter, to providing fundraising advice for small charities and serving as a board or committee member for others.

8) What advice would you give to other donors?

Make your community a better place for those who are less fortunate than you. Give of your time, your talent, and your treasure. It's also a practical thing to do. As Tom Friedman [New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner] says in his book The World is Flat, “if you don't visit the bad neighborhoods, the bad neighborhoods are going to visit you.” Try joining the One Percent Club - founded by Joe Selvaggio in 1997 – donating 1% of your assets each year to charity. It is 850 people strong and growing.

 

9) What has been your best giving experience?

The best was when I wrote out several checks in amounts much larger than I ever had in the past. I had just retired, completed an in-depth family financial assessment, and calculated that I could increase my giving substantially. The satisfaction, high, pleasure - whatever you want to name it - was beyond description.

 

10) Any particularly bad giving experiences?

The worst was when I found out that a charity had been building up a huge hoard of cash over the years, but was still begging donors to “help us meet our goal.” I do better research these days.

 

11) Has the Charities Review Council been useful for you?

The CRC is an absolutely invaluable asset when it comes to learning more about potential charitable organizations. It is the “Consumer Reports” of philanthropy, and it doesn't cost a dime.