All institutions are under fire in America. The survey results for faith in institutions shows eroding trust in all except for the military, but they are just one punch away from joining the rest. One that gets less attention but is suffering immensely are American charities. This points to an opportunity now and to build for the future.
Volunteering is down slightly or significantly depending on the survey from 2000. Americans still volunteer at far higher rates than the rest of the globe, but the trend is pointing down with volunteers often made up of older Americans. The American Red Cross stumbles from one scandal to the next. Anecdotally, many civic organizations complain about who they will hand the keys to. Gosh, there is no one?
Boomer’s inability to see reality aside, many Gen-X and Millennials see corruption in the charities and their churches. Approach your Methodist church about an idea, and be prepared to hear how they cannot find the resources but they have their missionary work and school they built in Uganda. Approach the Catholic diocese, and prepare for a polite no unless you can help pull in grants. Fragmentation of society into a jigsaw puzzle of ethnicities and religions makes broad-based charities nothing but institutions for the standard American parasite class to leech on for pay and status.
You want to help though, and the frustration mounts. Think small and nimble. The future is in microcharities. This is not advice to set up a 501c3 yourself as that is expensive and time-consuming. It is to think of what goal you have and how to piece together resources and cajole or manipulate institutions sickly and lying dormant into helping you reach your desired goals.
Most of the organizations of your local area are helmed by Boomers who are old, out of touch but fortunately, looking to exit. Walking into one of their offices with a defined plan and small budget figured out will make you appear competent and enthusiastic. If you live in a rural area, you are their shot in the arm. A key is to think microcharity and to embed your idea or specific event or fund into their organization. They have the infrastructure and institutional knowledge. Oftentimes, they also know the people in town who will contribute with monetary donations or in-kind contributions (do not underestimate how much these orgs enjoy getting tee shirts made).
If you bring an idea not just with enthusiasm but with some money for the initial event or circumstance, you can request control of specific things to keep the microcharity moving in your direction. It is also best if you bring a friend or family member to bump the seed money up and bring an extra body for show. A small example is the idea of a scholarship. Seed money does not need to be high if you are not aiming for a fund needing to payout in perpetuity. Set the term for ten years and suddenly $10,000 is meaningful money for the award’s lifetime. Hopefully, universities are burned down in that time. Figure out an organization that has a demographic profile that fits your goals. Keeping it limited to that organization’s circle prevents the pozzing of awards. Keeping it limited in years prevents scope drift.
Embedding an activity or event into a local organization limits your commitment to that organization. If you are the Thanksgiving meal guy, that is all you do, but it can have an amazing effect. The key focus there is to talk to your church about a list of active parishioners and getting them to cross reference it with the school’s list of subsidized meal students. Just look for the names, reach out to who you want to reach out to, and help some of your extended family. The American Legion and VFW are two implicit organizations that welcome new blood and bodies walking through their doors with ideas.
One project also provides you with networking and learning the second history of your area. You can map who has power, who owns what and who is all talk. You will also learn about jurisdiction overlap and who has access to government money. A successful project also proves that you, a newcomer, can deliver. Small projects and delivering on proposals earns you credit and can build networks for much bigger projects. You can build power or build a reputation as useful to people who have power. It all starts with an idea.
Microcharity thinking is the future. This is more ephemeral than the grandiose institution building of the past with charities, but it reflects the times and multicultural mix of today. Maybe it does not. Fraternities have existed on colleges for centuries. America’s different ethnicities had organizations for their tribes like the Ancient Order of Hibernians or the Jewish organizations that set up tenement schooling and settlement houses for the Pale Settlement immigrant wave to cleanse them of Marxism. Whatever the thinking, similar to the destruction of mass entertainment because of the need to reach a lowest common denominator, a broad-based charity will inevitably attract the eyes of the shrieking harpies who look for any progressive heresy.
You might have read your Jordan Peterson or laughed at his tweets. You cleaned your room or at least made it cleaner than the average 25 year old female’s room. You have read your BAP. You lift, you read Nietzche, but what’s the next step? Becoming a man of your community and a steward for your people. If you are aware of the long crisis the West finds itself in that more are becoming alarmed by, then you need to start somewhere and start now.
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Can you remind me what BAP is again?