Humanity at Work ยท Compassionate Humanists supporting charities worldwide

FAQ

FOUNDATION FUNDING

FOUNDATION STAFF

  • Q: Are you hiring staff/looking for volunteers?

    • A:

      An up-to-date answer to that question can be found here.

  • Q: Is the Foundation staff compensated?

    • A:

      Not at the moment. There is provision for us to pay our staff members in our rules, but we don’t yet do so.  We also have an unpaid Board of Directors and other volunteers. Any and all staff compensation will be paid through grants and discretionary donations only, never from donations to our beneficiaries. All compensation is set well within non-profit norms and publicly reported on our Financial page.

HUMANIST CHARITABLE GIVING PROGRAM

  • Q: Why is the Foundation necessary? Can’t I just donate directly to these charities?

    • A:

      Of course you can. But if you are a humanist, and the idea of working together with other humanists to make the world a better place as a direct expression of what you believe is appealing and inspiring to you, and you'd like to be a part of articulating the collective humanist voice in the world of philanthropy...well, that's what we're here for. Pull up a membership and let's get started.

  • Q: How can I submit an organisation for consideration?

  • Q: Do you omit beneficiaries that have high administration fees?

    • A:

      Not necessarily. Firstly, it is understood to be relatively easy to manipulate accounting information to give the appearance of lower administrative costs. More importantly, focussing on how much of its income a charity spends on administration is not necessarily an indicator of the impact of each dollar they spend. The evaluation of projects and retention of staff with expert knowledge may result in higher administrative costs, but is likely to produce more value from each dollar spent. Also, charities with lower administrative costs may end up funding projects that fail due to a lack of proper evaluation.

  • Q: What if I don’t like one of the beneficiaries you select?

    • A:

      That will certainly happen from time to time, which is why members can change their donation distribution at any time. Suppose you have 50 percent of your distribution in Human Rights, then one quarter we choose an organisation you do not wish to support. Simply go into your account and move your 50 percent to another category.

  • Q: What is the process for selecting beneficiaries?

    • A:

      During the last month of each quarter, the Board of Directors selects the final slate for the next quarter from the list of nominations submitted on our website. The slate is then given a final review by our reearch team. In addition to the criteria above, formal and informal member input is among the most important considerations in this process.

  • Q: What are the criteria for selecting a beneficiary?

    • A:

      Among other considerations, beneficiaries are chosen for efficiency, effectiveness, moderate size, compatibility with humanist focus on mutual care in this world and this life, and geographic diversity. Organisations with annual expenditures under $10 million are preferred, with a strong preference given to those with budgets under $5 million. In addition to direct research, FBB makes use of third-party sources of information and charity review. Beneficiaries in four of our five categories are strictly secular, while a fifth category called Challenge the Gap gives those members so inclined the option to support a non-proselytising, progressive religious charity working for the common good.

  • Q: How does the charitable giving program work?

    • A:

      The Foundation highlights five charities per quarter--one in each of five areas (Poverty & Health, Education, Human Rights, The Natural World, and Challenge the Gap (other worldviews). Members join the Foundation by signing up for a monthly donation in an amount of their choice, then indicate how they would like it distributed among the five categories. At the end of each quarter, all donations are forwarded to the beneficiaries and a new slate is featured. Though members may choose to distribute a portion to FBB itself if they wish, the Foundation retains no portion of the donations designated for our featured charities.

PERSONAL ACCOUNTS

  • Q: I don’t like PayPal. Is there another way to create a regular account?

    • A:

      If your bank has an automatic payment function, you can set up a monthly payment in the amount of your choice to us. Once you've set up the automatic payment, let us know. We'll create your account and send you the logins so you can distribute your donation.

  • Q: How do I change my monthly donation amount?

    • A:

      All of our accounts are now processed through PayPal. Simply log into your PayPal account and click Profile > My money > My pre-approved payments. Cancel your previous order, then return to your FBB account to purchase a new plan.

  • Q: I keep seeing references to automatic monthly donations. Can’t I make a one-time donation?

    • A:

      We will always gratefully receive one-time donations to the Foundation itself (click on One-Time Donation), and individuals can go directly to our featured charities if they wish to make one-time donations to them, but a regular monthly donation is required for membership.

      The Foundation exists for a very specific purpose -- not just collecting money for causes, but helping to create a systematic culture of giving among atheists and humanists. That's why Foundation membership requires a regular monthly commitment in the amount of your choice -- even $5 a month will do -- to build that culture of regular giving. We are also building an ongoing conversation around best practices for humanist philanthropy, and that requires an ongoing, connected community.

  • Q: Are donations tax-deductible?

    • A:

      Yes, in Australia. We have been endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a deductible gift recipient (DGR) in good standing. We have a sister-organisation in the USA that can provide American tax-deductibility. We would like to expand into other countries as time goes on.

WORLDVIEW QUESTIONS

  • Q: If you include a category for religious charities, how is this a “Foundation BEYOND BELIEF”?

    • A:

      "Beyond Belief" refers to our humanist and atheist members -- the generous givers in the equation. Some of those members choose to support only secular charities, while others feel there is value in demonstrating humanistic generosity across lines of belief. So long as a large portion of our membership wants the latter option, we will keep it in place. And thanks to our donation distribution system, each member can tailor his or her donations precisely, and no member is bound by someone else's definition of humanist giving. It's freethought in action, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

  • Q: What are the worldviews of your board members?

    • A:

      The Board of Directors consists entirely of atheists and humanists.

  • Q: Why do you opt for “humanist” instead of “atheist” in the mission statement and elsewhere?

    • A:

      The two terms emphasise different aspects of the same nontheistic worldview.  Atheism is simply the absence of belief in a god or gods. Secular humanism describes the philosophy, ethics and values that flow from this view. Since the Foundation is an expression of those values, "humanist" and "secular humanist" are primarily used.

  • Q: What is the purpose of Foundation Beyond Belief Australia?

    • A:

      To focus, encourage and demonstrate the generosity and compassion of secular humanists in the interest of a better world. Our members seek to encourage each other to embody the highest principles of humanism, including mutual care and responsibility.

      Read on for more...

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