Our Daily Bleg: How Can You Maximize Your Charity?

A reader named Anthony DiClaudio writes in with a bleg (send us your own here), which is as simple, straightforward, and compelling as a bleg can be (IMHO):

I recently passed the bar and am currently applying for jobs. My main concern is bringing out the most charitable result. Should I work in the nonprofit section where my services are passed directly along to the most needy, or should I get the high-paying firm job and donate the difference in my salary to charity?

I am not so convinced that working for a nonprofit means that one’s “services are passed directly along to the most needy.” (Here’s one reason why.)

But now I will shut up and let you advise Anthony.

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  1. MD says:

    The answer to this question (and one that I wish more people would ask themselves) is simple, and one that I realized a while ago. Given our economic system, get as rich as possible, and then give your money out as you see fit.

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  2. Imad Qureshi says:

    I think you’ll get the job where you think you are getting best returns.

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  3. jonathan says:

    Consider working for a charitable foundation because then you can direct funds and provide services and advice to non-profits.

    The efficacy of charity is measured how? Either find a specific passion or follow your interest in efficiency and try to understand, improve and influence the grant givers.

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  4. BEO says:

    My wife struggled with the same question. She now works for a large law firm that also stresses pro-bono work. This allows her to work directly with those in need, as well as being able to donate to other charitable groups.

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  5. T-Bone says:

    If you got a high paying job, you’d be able to pay for the lawyer of someone who normally can’t afford anything except non-profit. So at worst, the paid job would leave you revenue neutral (same as if you had just worked non-profit).

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  6. sunshine says:

    Flip a coin, then if you find you disagree with the answer, do the other one.

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  7. RW says:

    Having worked in non-profit until very recently I would suggest against it.

    Find the cause(s) that you are committed to, then find the organization(s) that do the most with each dollar and begin a relationship with them. You’ll be able to give your time and money as you see fit…Just my .02!

    (#1 is exactly right, but writing a check shouldn’t always exempt someone from getting their hands dirty either)

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  8. Brian McLeish says:

    The answer is to take the high-paying job, invest well, then donate your appreciated stocks or mutual funds to charity for the biggest tax break (which lets you afford to donate more).

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