Dale McGowan and FBB in HuffPo


We’ve been working to get Dale McGowan a slot at Huffington Post to blog about the Foundation Beyond Belief and secular charity in general and his first post is now up on that site. He notes that religious believers on average donate a lot more money to charity (though those figures include donations to their church, little of which may go to charity at all) and argues that this is largely because religious believers are asked more often to contribute. Thus, the purpose of FBB:

To answer that question, in early 2010, I worked with several other atheists and humanists who had seen the same challenge to create a systematic giving program for those who share our worldview. The result is Foundation Beyond Belief, a charitable organization with a humanist identity that features five carefully selected charities per quarter working in areas including poverty, education, and human rights. Members sign up for an automatic monthly donation in the amount of their choice and distribute their funds however they wish among the charities. We spend each quarter telling the stories of these organizations and connecting their work to the humanist imperatives of mutual care and responsibility. We keep none of the funds designated for our featured charities; our own operations are funded through separate donations and grants.

The results so far have been very encouraging. We have over a thousand contributing members and are approaching a million dollars in total giving since the launch. Many members report a deeper connection with humanism and with human needs, and many have reported that they are now giving 2-3 times more per year than before they joined.

There is no question that there is a tremendous capacity for charitable giving in the secular community. I have felt that generosity firsthand and so have many others. Over the last week, that community has donated an extraordinary amount of money to help the victims of the Oklahoma tornado. FBB has big plans for tapping into that capacity for giving and turning it into a major force for good in the United States and around the world.

Comments

  1. says

    “FBB has big plans for tapping into that capacity for giving and turning it into a major force for good in the United States and around the world.”

    And also getting an island volcano fortress.

  2. raven says

    average donate a lot more money to charity (though those figures include donations to their church, little of which may go to charity at all)

    The vast majority of church donations are not charity!!!

    I looked into this once.

    1. 88% is used internally to pay for homeostasis, building, utilities, salary.

    2. The rest is used as pass through to the national organization and missionary activities, mostly directed as snagging other xians.

    3. What is left over might go to charitable causes.

  3. says

    He notes that religious believers on average donate a lot more money to charity (though those figures include donations to their church, little of which may go to charity at all) and argues that this is largely because religious believers are asked more often to contribute.

    I think there is even more to it than that. Religious people, like anyone, are approached for donations to various charities all the time but they choose to give their money to their churches. I don’t think it is the frequency of being asked that opens their wallets for their churches. I think it is because of tribal identity. In a way, I think it’s like putting money into one’s own savings account – but int his case, paying money to ensure the continuation of the institution which is so important to one’s identity and through which a person feels a part of something powerful.

  4. says

    @3:

    I agree religions foster a sense of community that reinforces the idea that they should contribute to keep it going. Atheists just don’t have the same kind of weekly get together where their leader harangues them for donations, too.

  5. tubi says

    @2

    I note that Raven’s descriptions of #1 and #2 leave a balance of $0 for #3. Was that intentional? Because it’s damn near truthful.

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