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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I Gave at the Office

When I started working at Stanford, one of the things they offered was the ability to donate to charity and have it sent directly from payroll before it ever hit your check. I was always a little bummed it didn't include a matching contribution from Stanford, but at least it got me to consistently donate a few hundred dollars a year to Planned Parenthood and the AIDS Project and to a local theater company or two. Over the years, I'd bump up the amount here and there, and I never much noticed as it happened before I saw my check.

Stanford just announced they're discontinuing this service. I immediately wrote back saying that it should be saved, because if you say nothing, they don't know that people actually did care. I got a note back saying that only 2% of the Stanford community were using this service, costing the university a lot to continue it, even without a matching program, and only serving a small slice of the campus, so as they looked at places to cut corners, this could no longer be justified.

Two percent.

Gah. I am unbelievably disappointed in my coworkers. Sure, some donate to charity in other ways, but I suspect that most, probably over 90%, only look after themselves. Have Americans always been so selfish? Or is it getting worse?

Now to go make contributions the less transparent way: monthly credit card billing. Grump.


  • The success or failure of such services lies in how people are introduced to it. If the materials for signing up were dovetailed with the 401(k) presentation I bet they'd have higher uptake.

    Here's a list of the charities your fellow Stanford employees are currently donating to. Which, if any, would you like to donate to? If you have your own favorite charitable organization enter it here along with how much you want to donate, and it will appear in this list starting next month, helping the charity beyond your own donation.

    By Blogger Kevin Fox, at 2:43 PM  

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