I give a lot of thought to how I can best help others with the resources I have. I am not claiming to be a particularly effective (or pleasant) helper.

biases

  • I prefer to help groups of people rather than individuals.
  • I prefer to help people by offering organized information rather than spoon-feeding them specific answers. E.g. the RVwiki project.
  • I prefer to help people who are actively trying to help themselves
  • I prefer to help where my efforts will have results, or a decent chance of results. If someone does not appear capable or willing to accept my style of help I do not offer it and expend my efforts elsewhere.

As someone pointed out, the end result is I am loathe to give advice or personal opinion about what is Good for someone else. I barely know what’s Good for me!

information

I learn by writing; it forces me to clarify what I know vs what I think I know, organize, etc. Hence the blog and RVwiki.

Having the stuff written down has the happy side effects of

  • allowing searchers to find it with no effort on my part
  • allowing me to link to often-provided info instead of typing it out over and over for each FAQ.

charity

All the money resources I offer1 goes to micro-lenders at Kiva. [I don’t think of it as charity in the formal sense but it’s a convenient term.]

As of May 2021 my capital investment there has been lent-repaid-relent 8.08x, and 34.3% of the capital has been lost to default, currency variations, etc. Interesting detail: 100% of the defaults have been from the US and from sub-Saharan Africa, with the US being the worst by far. I no longer lend to the U.S., and only carefully lend in the sub-Sahara.


1 Exception: I do give cash to buskers and other performers, but I consider that payment-for-service rather than charity in the usual sense.