Quoting Wei Dai <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>:

> Suppose I have some money that I don't want to spend, and I'm sure I'll
> never want to spend it. Should I give it to charity now, or put it in an
> index fund and bequeath it to charity in my will?
> Here's my argument in favor of charitable procrastination. The typical
> recipient of charity does not have access to the kind of investment
> opportunites (e.g., low cost U.S. mutual funds) that I have, and his other
> investment opportunities usually have a lower (perhaps even negative) rate
> of return. Charitable organizations are legally forced to spend a certain
> percentage of their assets per year, so they can't invest the money
> indefinitely either. By holding on to my money, I'm actually increasing
> the present value of the gift from the perspective of the recipient.
> Can anyone find a flaw in this argument?

Besides the obvious one about present needs going unfullfilled, there is this:

Small charities may not have access to the investment options you do, this is 
true. But they do grow oranizationally, and withholding small but signifigant 
present contributions in favor of larger but later contributions can retard 
that growth potential. An example of this would be the use of a moderate-sized 
donation to buy advertising for volunteers or to plow back into a fundraising 
event, procurement of phone service or website, or some other signifigant 
organizational step. In the most extreme scenario, if all donors invested their 
future donations and withheld current donations, the organization would starve 
for lack of current funds and would not be in existance to *recieve* the more 
generous future gifts.

Speaking as the director of a very small but very active charity, I can tell 
you that we tend to have *quite high* time preferences. Possibly some of that 
is bleedover from the personality of the founder (that would be gotta-have-it-
now me:) but I honestly believe that for most small groups working in 
conditions where the need is always in far excess of resources available, this 
time preference exists.

The situation with respect to large charitable organizations may differ 
signifigantly for several reasons, but I don't feel as qualified to discuss 

So go buy some raffle tickets now as my signature 'asks' ;-)

Susan Hogarth
Buy some raffle tickets or else!

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