Between now and the end of the year, I will make decisions about where to donate money. I want a tax deduction for this calendar year.
December is the month that non-profit organizations make their pitch. December is Christmas for every American non-profit. When Wikipedia starts running its “donate now” appeal at the top of every page, you know that the holiday season has arrived. This begins even before Black Friday.
Who makes the cut on my “donate now” list? Not many.
As a means of shortening the list, I adhere to this rule: I do not donate money to any tax-deductible charitable organization whose website does not have a Contact Us link on the home page. I adhere to the same rule for business transactions. I do not do business online with any company that does not have Contact Us on the home page.
I visited a libertarian site recently. It often runs good articles. In large type at the top of the page, we read this: DONATE. But there is no CONTACT US. There is not even a FEEDBACK.
This sends a message: “We want your money, Bozo, but not your advice.”
The reason I noticed is because I had been come to the site through a search engine. (I use the “no tracking” Duck Duck Go.) I had searched for a man’s name. It was the third link on the page. It was the man’s biography page on this site. But when I clicked it, I got the infamous 404 notice.
Whoops! We couldn’t find that page. Try another? We’ll do better next time.
I thought I would do the outfit a favor. I decided to let the webmaster know that this is a dead link.
I went looking for Contact Us. It isn’t there. This also sends a message: “We don’t make mistakes.”
The 404 landing page should say this:
We don’t care. You shouldn’t either. But send us a donation anyway.
The website is well designed. It has useful articles. But it does not have a large audience. I went to www.TopLibertarian.com. This site ranks libertarian websites in terms of traffic. You can see the list here:
The outfit did not make it into the top two dozen, yet it has been online for years.
So, why should anyone donate to it? It does not not have a strong presence on the Web. It does not have a feedback system to repair dead links. It does not have a Contact Us option. But it wants people’s money. Who doesn’t?
In contrast is www.Mises.org, the home page of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Not only does it have a Contact Us email link in the institutional logo at the bottom of the page, it also has a link to contact the webmaster. If you find a mistake, you can warn him. Both options appear right next to the address, where you can send a donation. This appears on every page on the site.
There is strong competition for our money. We should be careful not to spend our money wastefully.