What's the best way to donate to Planned Parenthood?
September 4, 2019 6:40 AM   Subscribe

I want to give them a few bucks each month, but should I donate directly to the national org? Or one of their state/local branches? Does it even matter? Does anyone know what the sharing percentage is from the national org?
posted by Automocar to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
It really depends. If you most want your donations to benefit your community, donate to the local affiliate. If you're concerned about abortion access in other parts of the country, donate to the national org. It also depends on whether you want to fund medical care more or political advocacy - if it's the latter, give to the national (this is based on some knowledge I have of them from previous employees but it may have changed).

I don't work for PP, but I have worked for several large national/international orgs with state or country affiliates, and the way money works between the local and the national/international is always pretty complicated. It honestly would have been difficult for me to know even as a staffer what the "sharing" percentage was, and it varied a lot from year to year and by state/country. For instance, I would guess that PP affiliates in more rural or conservative states are getting more resources from national than PP NY.

One other thing: if you just want to fund abortion access in your community, check and see if there are any local, independent providers. They get a lot less attention than PP.
posted by lunasol at 7:06 AM on September 4, 2019

Related, previously: What's the best abortion rights charity to donate to? (which includes some discussion of the PP organizational structure).
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:17 AM on September 4, 2019

It kinda depends on what you want to accomplish--like, the national political work is important to me, so I give to the PP Action Fund and NARAL.

But individual access to abortion, in my community and beyond, is also important to me, so I also donate to my regional PP and local and national abortion funds.

(I'm not any kind of big donor--these are all, like, a-few-bucks-a-month kinds of deals.)
posted by box at 7:21 AM on September 4, 2019

When I worked for PPFA fourteen years ago, there was no sharing percentage. The affiliates (aka your local PP) were their own financial entities, doing their own fundraising and receiving state/federal support for their services. PPFA does not provide medical services, but did manage insurance for all affiliates, and was primarily concerned with advocacy and education.

However, the Title X situation has changed that from what I hear. The large affiliates have been sitting on war chests for when this day came (loss of federal funding) that will allow them to continue to provide services in the near term, while the national office is going to help the smaller affiliates that don't have those resources keep going. I don't know how this is going to work in practicality. Also, please understand this is my "through the grapevine" info.

If it were me, I'd probably give to an affiliate in conservative state where abortion access is most precarious, and there isn't much local support for PP. Also, I like to remind people that in the 6 states where there's only one abortion clinic left, only two of those (SD and MO) are Planned Parenthoods. The other 4 (ND, MS, KY, WV) are independent clinics. PP might have clinics in those states, but they aren't providing abortion. So I like to remind people that PP isn't the only entity providing abortion in the US, and there are many other abortion rights, health and justice organizations that are worthy of support.
posted by kimdog at 7:22 AM on September 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

There is really no one best / most effective way to donate, so it comes down to which thing you personally want most to support. Most nonprofits will generally prefer you donate to their general operating funds, not designated donations, since that gives them maximum flexibility to move money around to where it's needed. But they would also rather get your designated donation than none at all.

- If you want your money used locally, find your local org and use the donate link they provide.
- If you want to support national advocacy work, donate to PP Action Fund (the national 501c4).
- If you want your money to go to local advocacy work, check and see if your local affiliate has a 501c4 arm.
- If you're not sure, or you want your money used for the broadest possible purposes, donate to the national org (PP Federation of America).

Re: Kimdog's comment — They do in fact do collaborative fundraising now. I don't know anything about the sharing breakdown or if all the affiliates participate yet, but my wife noted that shared fundraising generally worked out to their advantage in part because the national org had more reach and better infrastructure than they ever would.

Source: My wife used to work in fundraising at a PP affiliate in a conservative area (until about a year ago). I work at the international HQ of a different well-known federated org.
posted by fifthpocket at 7:32 AM on September 4, 2019

My wife and I give to the Twin Cities (I think - it's somewhere in MN) affiliate, despite being located in CA, because they serve women in South Dakota. The national organization is going to be more involved in advocacy and lobbying (a good thing) whereas more local donations would go to more direct provision of women's healthcare (a good thing). This choice is probably more about your preference in that regard than about what is "best."
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:11 AM on September 4, 2019

Planned Parenthood Federation of America is 501(c)(3) - contributions are deductible
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is 501(c)(4) - contributions are not deductible.
posted by JimN2TAW at 1:05 PM on September 4, 2019

I live in an area of the country where my city routinely is a candidate for the "on the verge of being the largest city without abortion access" list, because our only remaining abortion clinic is constantly under threat of being shut down due to state shenanigans. That clinic is the local Planned Parenthood affiliate, so I make a monthly donation directly to them. If you live in an area like this, I strongly urge you to consider donating directly to your local affiliate.
posted by mostly vowels at 5:13 PM on September 6, 2019

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