• Jeff Matthews

No Sarcasm and No Conspiracies…Just Some Help Where It’s Needed

The first time I went to a fundraiser for the United Jewish Appeal, my WASP sensibilities were startled by the blunt, straightforward way the members made their pledges.

Instead of writing a figure down on a pledge-card in the quiet of their den, men stood right up at their dinner table in a ballroom filled with their peers and said, “I’m so-and-so and I’m pledging [insert large dollar figure here].”

The bigger the large-dollar-figure pledged, the bigger the applause from the crowd—which, in and of itself triggered ever-larger large-dollar-figures for the UJA coffers. I was both shocked and awed—it was the most effective way of raising money I’d ever seen, and I’d been involved in fundraising for my own church for years.

I looked at bringing that style to the fund-raising efforts of my church, which does things in the normal WASPY privacy-of-your-own-home way, but it never flew.

So I’m going to try it here.

Despite accusations by Business Week that this blog is “sarcastic” and “rambling,” and accusations by at least one apparently hallucination-prone CEO that this blog is much worse, today we have no sarcasm and no conspiracies to offer—just an effort to accomplish something more useful than Hamlet’s “Words, words, words.”

Last night, while looking up a song at Apple’s iTunes Music Store, the site offered the ability to donate to the Red Cross relief efforts on the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

I gave $200 and I admit I gave it feeling guilty that I had not already done something. Then I read up on the relief efforts in general and the Red Cross in particular, as well as its efficiency rating at http://www.charitynavigator.org.

My own experience with certain charities and non-profits that my church has helped fund over the years is that some do spectacular good with very little money, and some do very little good with spectacular amounts of money. (Jim Rogers’ two “Investment Biker” books covering his round-the-world travels contain hair-raising insights on “relief effort” scams that make church groups here in America feel good yet do nothing for the third-world refugees they intend to aid.)

But the American Red Cross does good work—and millions of Americans urgently need that help right now.

So, for today at least, you’ll read no sarcasm here, no rambling, and nothing about the housing market or the Energy Crisis of 2005.

If you have time to read this blog, then you have time to go the Red Cross web site at http://www.redcross.org/ and click on the “Donate Now” button. It took me maybe two minutes to make another, more substantial, donation just before starting this piece.

An hour ago, that site had generated $27,684,625 through 191,682 individual donors. Moments ago the figures were $28,079,870 and 194,198, which work out to an average of $157 for each of the 2,516 donations that were made in the 45 minutes it took me to write this.

Let’s see if the good readers of this blog can help raise that average donation, right here and now. And, like the stand-up guys at a UJA fund-raiser, let us know when you’ve done it.

Jeff Matthews I Am Not Making This Up

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The content contained in this blog represents only the opinions of Mr. Matthews. This commentary in no way constitutes investment advice. It should never be relied on in making an investment decision, ever. The content herein is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.

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