Interested in a cure for seizures? Here's where you can immediately help.

Feel free to share any of these posts. There are no copyrights on any of them, they are for anyone, anyplace, anytime for whatever reason. All of my love, from a man who just simply misses his son, and believes in the decency of people around the world,

**To reach the author of this blog Mike, the best email account is a silly one, but goes right to my phone. Technology is so cool. Its Thank you for reading this blog, and its been such a good project, in that it has helped others and me as well. May you all live life to the fullest, we have no idea when it shall be our last "dance."

With much love, I am proud of the Angelman Syndrome Foundation. If you can help them, and families with this condition, please consider donating to them at They are on Charity Navigator, and have done a phenomenal job over the years, on the awareness and research side.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Volunteering: The Reality of Charities and Such

The vast majority of people worldwide, believe in "service above self," which is something that all of us should be thankful for. It is amazing what connections are made at such events, and I am not going to name but a few charities that I have worked with/for, however it is put, that is semantics and nothing more. Each of these charities had different missions, but were to help others, support a cause, or cure a condition that countless amounts of people want. It is not time to discuss how many hours were put in, that is between God and I, and few efforts have been loud, but rather in the trenches. That is how work gets done, it is not glamorous, and I do not care if I'm speaking at an event, a chair on a particular board, or cleaning up balloons or having to tolerate Justin Bieber songs for hours on end. What matters is making connections, doing a good service, and leaving this world maybe a little bit better to the next generation. Perfect? Nope, that isn't going to happen on any realm on Earth, and there are a lot of things, that are simply out of our control, regardless of our position in life, status, income, etc, etc.

Charities do the best they can. Not all of them have the resources of the "big guns," such as Susan J Komen or the American Heart Association, two fine ones that are gigantic. When you get down to the "nitty gritty", there are only a limited amount of funds, and the key is being effective with your resources. Most charities do have paid staff, I never have been, and it is necessary, regardless of what size of your funding is. I have worked closely with paid staff of several organizations, and they do phenomenal work, and the key theme seems to be "quiet faith." They spend hours, and go far an beyond the 40-50 hour work weeks, that are already enough for any of us. These folks are called, emailed, and making constant connections 24/7, and we should be grateful for these passionate individuals, who's work is not always glamorous, and in fact can be quite painful.

Ducks Unlimited is the charity I am going to mention. It is a fine one, that I was on the board of a chapter for, and saw everything, from top to bottom. I had the key to all kinds of information, and was involved in planning events. Most of our fundraisers, were effective, for one reason only. They were at spartan places, often we would choose a church that a member had access to for free or a minimal fee, and our cost ratio with regard to our banquets, it was very tight. Even when we got steep discounts, the rate of return was not enough to sustain our organization. The amount of money devoted to advertising, logistics, and then other issues such as liability insurance, and other factors was astronomical.  Considering DU has been around for years, I was shocked by the small amount made by banquet type of events. They were a lot of fun, and we had a great time. Yet, where we made our money, was through other sources. If we had just stuck to banquets, DU and other charities would simply be out of what they do in no time. They were good for publicity, and it was fun to party, there is nothing at all wrong with that. In fact, that is actually fun, but with regards to the cost ratio, it was atrocious. Our main source of funding, aside from members were businesses, other foundations that we had cooperation agreements with, and alliances that pulled funding together.

I have been mad at one point or the other at charities I have supported, worked with, for, etc. That is okay, it is passion, and that can lead to beautiful results. Yet the key is not getting angry longer than fifteen seconds. Okay, thirty seconds is fine. Then take a step back, a deep breath, and realize that no charity, foundation, organization, what have you is perfect. There's no such thing as a 100% score, but financial stability and a track record over years are important, as is solid leadership that has conducted numerous scientific experiments with this funding, via efficient methods. There are no easy answers, especially with regards to organizations looking for cures, whether it be the American Diabetes Association, the American Cancer Society, or any other. This becomes even more difficult when its broken down to no disrespect,"small fish," that must operate with diligence that dollar for dollar, they can equal out the playing field a bit more. The Angelman Syndrome Foundation is doing that, and so are others. The key is not playing a game of checkers, but rather of chess, in which you set up your pieces the best way possible even in these circumstances.

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