Choosing an anti-charity
November 28, 2018 10:59 PM   Subscribe

How can I pick an "anti-charity" to motivate me that won't actually destroy the planet?

I suffer from some pretty gnarly challenges with ADHD and procrastination. Unfortunately due to various confounding issues I'm no longer able to follow my medication regimen, and I'm in the process of finding long-tern solutions that will help. In the meantime, I am trying out some new ideas.

One approach that interests me is the idea of motivating accountability by means of an anti-charity, as in this (satirical) alarm clock and the StickK web service. For example, in StickK, you can set up a commitment so that if you don't meet your goals, the service sends a donation (of your money) to an organization you dislike.

While I'm intrigued by the general idea, the anti-charities that StickK supports are all reprehensible (NOM, NRA, etc.), and I would never be OK with donating money to these organizations. But I'm curious about the approach and would love to try a homegrown solution similar to this, putting up money to some unpleasant (but not, you know, evil) cause.

The first example that comes to mind is supporting flat earthers - it's a cause that I'd be embarrassed to support, but I don't think that supporting them will cause any active harm. Another is to some opposing sports team - but I dislike all sports equally, so I don't think this would be as motivating.

I'm looking for other suggestions like this - places where I might consider donating money, where the possibility of giving money to this organization would be a motivating factor, but for which giving money would not be actively harmful to the state of the world. Possibilities include harmless cranks, pointless projects, and similar. This will be a homegrown solution so it doesn't need to be supported by StickK or other platforms. The point is never to actually give money to these causes, but the threat needs to be real enough to trick my ADHD brain into working. Bonus points for donations that can be made anonymously or that can be automated somehow.

I don't particularly want suggestions to donate to good causes (I'm already doing this and want to try something new), nor to pursue other ADHD treatment (I'm working on this as well). I just want to try to run a harmless experiment and see if/how it might help.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Are there any animals that freak you out? Like, spiders? I bet there's an organization that supports the conservation of spiders. Or millipedes, or something equally icky but vital. You mess up - more spiders! aaaaah!!! I tried googling for this but I got too freaked out by the results, hopefully a kindly biologist Mefite might have a concrete suggestion for donation apart from the WWF.
posted by Mizu at 11:12 PM on November 28, 2018 [16 favorites]

Here's a GoFundMe where you can contribute to Kanye West.
posted by slidell at 11:21 PM on November 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Cards Against Humanity.
Any open-source project.
A Patreon or Kickstarter related to one of your interests.
posted by bendy at 11:39 PM on November 28, 2018

I asked my boyfriend and he immediately said "Harvard". My boyfriend is a smartass.

Does your undergrad or high school have a rival school you could donate to?

My first thought was The Ig Noble Prizes, also Harvard affiliated.
posted by phoenixy at 11:57 PM on November 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

If you find vegans annoying, you could give to Mercy for Animals or Farm Sanctuary or PCRM. Bonus: if you end up giving them money, you'll get pictures of suffering animals by email and snail mail for the rest of your life. Disclosure: I like these organizations and give money to them on purpose. I initially thought of PETA, but they are so awful that I think they turn people away from veganism and ultimately harm the planet.

GoFundMe and Kickstarter are both full of profoundly annoying people who want money for things that are basically harmless.
posted by FencingGal at 3:59 AM on November 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

The United States Dressage Federation supports dressage, which is a specialized type of horseback riding that's popular mostly with rich people (including, somewhat famously, Ann Romney). While it's a sport, and a rich-people thing, and, like most sports and rich-people things, there's some exploitation and resource-squandering and crookedness and whatnot, it's relatively harmless.
posted by box at 7:42 AM on November 29, 2018

I like the idea of an animal charity for a type of animal that squicks you out (but that is still, from a planetary/ecological perspective, important).

There's the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the British Arachnological Society (love their domain name), the Shark Conservation Fund, etc. TBH after looking at those pages I feel like they're pretty solid organizations with important missions and they probably deserve the money, so maybe not the strongest motivation. Unfortunately I can't find any sort of charity for Mosquito Preservation, nor specifically for House Centipedes; more's the pity.

Or if you're afraid of clowns, maybe you could donate to the Northeast Clown College. There are actually a number of clown colleges around, I think some are for-profit but I assume they'd all accept a donation, but might not be a 501(c) tax-exempt charity.

Personally, I am a strong secularist so I have considered doing one of these things and making the "anti-charity" a church that I find mildly obnoxious/god-bothery, but that still does good works overall. For some people the Salvation Army might qualify (although they seem to be working on it, so you wouldn't be donating to something really heinous, at least IMO).
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:37 AM on November 29, 2018

Are you sufficiently secular that you'd dislike giving money to a church? To any church, however liberal? If so, give it to a local Quaker meeting or UU church, know that they're going to spend it doing harmless, non-proselytizing Quaker/UU things, and enjoy the squick value of supporting organized religion.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:44 AM on November 29, 2018

How about Ducks Unlimited, or the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, they both do excellent conservation work... but with the goal of bringing the species back to the point that hunting will be allowed.
posted by 445supermag at 12:37 PM on November 29, 2018

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