My wife and I are LDS and we were contemplating during these tough financial times on increasing our fast offering contributions. So far, we've been really blessed. I am lucky enough to have a good job that pays well, and at least right now, I'm secure in it. I know that there are people around me not doing as well and can use a little help and have used help from our church. We were set on doing just that, until I heard this podcast featuring the author of this book, Peter Singer who suggested that although many Americans donate a lot of money, their donations are misplaced.
The highest beneficiaries of our donations in America are churches, then schools, then places like museums, etc. Church donations are good, especially if they use that money to help those in the most need, but many churches don't do that. A large percentage of that money goes toward paid staff, maintenance and upkeep of their buildings, etc. Rich universities need the money still less. And museums? Maybe we should wait until we can solve severe poverty before we splurge on those... His words, not mine.
The fact is that 2 million children under five years old die of diarrhea every year, a disease that is completely treatable and requires a very small amount of money. I could donate $50 in a targeted way and save a life through a vaccine, for example.
I feel that some of my fast offering contributions does go to desperate cases like this, but I also know that some of it goes to less deserving causes (though probably still deserving). Maybe I'll keep my fast offering contributions where they're at, and look to funding some organizations who are helping the most desperate poor among us.
What do you think?