Donating expert and philanthropy educator for physicians Dr. Recha Bergstrom is back on the show this week. In light of the recent tragedies we’ve seen, from gun violence, war, a pandemic, to natural disasters, many of us are feeling extremely emotionally activated. And as women physicians, we want to help and make a difference where possible.
Our visceral reaction to these tragedies is leaving us feeling angry, despairing, helpless, and like our brains are spinning in anxiety and trauma. You’re most definitely not alone if trying to find your focus here feels overwhelming. You might be reactively donating to causes you care about, but there is power in being intentional about how and where you donate, and this week, Dr. Recha is providing us a framework for how to do so.
Listen in as Dr. Recha Bergstrom offers her knowledge on donating effectively after tragedy. She’s laying out a step-by-step process for feeling empowered in the wake of such events, how she examines where she wants to make the biggest impact, and her top tips for ensuring you’re not giving to a fraudulent organization.
If you're ready to take control of your money and practice medicine on your terms, you need to check out Money for Women Physicians. Click here to learn more!
What You'll Learn from this Episode:
- Why philanthropy isn’t about having extreme wealth to make a difference.
- The difference between reactive and non-reactive giving.
- Why reactive donating isn’t the most effective way to spark change.
- The importance of pausing before taking action when you feel activated by tragedy.
- 3 steps to ensure you’re not giving to a fraudulent organization.
- One of the ways Dr. Recha examines where she wants to donate.
- Dr. Recha’s rule of thumb when it comes to donating on GoFundMe.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Learn more about Money for Women Physicians where you'll learn the tools to make practicing medicine OPTIONAL.
- Follow me on Instagram
- Dr. Recha Bergstrom: Website | Blog | Instagram | Facebook
- The Physician Philanthropist group
- Check out Dr. Recha’s philanthropy courses!
- How you can donate effectively after tragedy by Dr. Recha Bergstrom | KevinMD
- 85: Giving and Philanthropy for Physicians with Dr. Recha Bergstrom
Welcome to The Wealthy Mom MD Podcast, a podcast for women physicians who want to learn how to live a wealthy life. In this podcast you will learn how to make money work for you, how you can have more of it, and learn the tools to empower you to live a life on purpose. Get ready to up-level your money and your life. I’m your host, Dr. Bonnie Koo.
Bonnie: Hi, everyone. So excited to see you guys on Facebook, and we're also doing this on a live Zoom call. And hopefully you know that you're here for the how to donate effectively after a tragedy. And I literally decided to do this like two days ago, so we have things semi-planned out.
I have my friend Recha Bergstrom and so we're both here to talk about it. She's the donating expert, by the way, and we're just going to have a conversation. Because in light of the recent tragedies, I'm assuming you think they're tragedies if you're listening, we want to talk about how to donate effectively and talk about reactive donating versus non-reactive and just kind of talk about the nuances.
These are probably things that you already know, but I think it'll be super helpful to kind of provide a framework for you guys in terms of how to think about it. Because so many things have happened I think it's really easy to get like, obviously, activated and then also feel a little helpless, because I think all of us want to do something. So I think this is a really important conversation to have.
Recha actually just published an article on Kevin MD and I saw it because she posted it and I was like, I need to have her talk about it. And so here's what I want to say real quick because most of you probably haven’t listened to that podcast. When you hear the word philanthropy, when I hear that word, I don't know about you, but it conjures up the image of really rich people. Meaning it's like, oh, that's something really rich people do, that's not something I'll ever do.
So let's talk about that real briefly, actually, Recha, how are you defining philanthropy?
Recha: Well, that's a good question to start with. I define philanthropy or the definition is literally the love of humankind and trying to help out people. So anytime you do an act that helps other people, and it's particularly thought of in terms of monetary donations, that's what's considered philanthropy.
So, for me, giving $25 to something is philanthropy. It doesn't have to be a million dollars, it doesn't have to be fancy people sipping champagne at some giant gala fundraiser. There are lots of ways to do philanthropy, which can really just be thought of as giving back.
Bonnie: So yeah, I think it's really important to define that because really understanding the correct definition, I think just shows everyone that if you have donated, well philanthropy includes more than donating. But like in the context of donating money, if you have donated anything at all, you are a philanthropist.
And I just think that's so cool to consider yourself a philanthropist. I just feel like it kind of gives me a, not just a great feeling, but also stepping into that, right? Like you don't have to have a shit ton of money to make a difference.
Recha: I would call that empowering.
Bonnie: Yeah, exactly. Empowering, that's the word I was looking for, Recha. Okay. So let's talk about what you mean by reactive giving. And we're not saying it's bad to do reactive giving, but we just want to talk about it and describe it. So I'll turn it over to you, Recha.
Recha: Sure, so I think about giving as kind of in two major buckets, this reactive giving or planned giving. And the planned giving is more kind of long-term goals, kind of long game thoughts about the changes that you want to make in the world. And reactive giving is things like our reactions to things like the recent shootings and tragedies such as that.
And what reactive giving is, and it's called a lot of different things now and there's a new term floating around a lot, which is rage giving. We are so activated by the things that we see in the media, by the things that are happening around us, we have a very strong emotional reaction to them. It might be rage, or anger, or despair, or whatever.
And a lot of us, kind of the first reaction that we have is we want to do something. We want to make a difference. We don't want this stuff to happen again. Or we want to help the people who have suffered a tragedy. And so in reaction to those feelings, we make a donation.
So there's two points that I'd like to make about this. One is, this is not necessarily the most effective way to affect change. It can be helpful and it really depends on where you're donating. But thinking of things a little bit more in depth can often lead to a little bit more helpful giving.
The other thing to be aware of is that a lot of organizations are going to play on those emotions. They are going to try to press all of those buttons and they might not be offering the kind of outcome that you might be interested in. So it's really important to pay attention when your buttons are all being pressed by everybody, either by valid organizations or fraudulent organizations that are getting in on all the excitement of the rage giving that's going on.
Bonnie: Oh, that's such an important point. I'm guessing we're going to talk more about how to make sure you're not giving to a fraudulent organization. I definitely knew that was a thing, but I think it's so important.
I just want to say one more thing before we kind of get to the next topic, because you mentioned like all of us are super activated. And there's been a lot of events that have been activating in quick succession, meaning a lot of us are barely kind of coming down before the next one. And so I want to talk a little bit about that from, I don't want to say a coaching perspective, whatever you want to call it, because this is what I coach on, right?
So the activation, to me, is twofold. It's like the thoughts you're having about what's happening, it's usually some form of this shouldn't be happening. Oh my God, why is this happening? Nothing changes and those create a cascade of feelings. You described them perfectly: rage, anger, helplessness, sadness, right? I think a lot of us are like really, really sad and we're grieving.
In terms of when people are feeling activated, that to me is like, and I'm not a scientist like whatever, there's this other sort of system at play, I guess the best way to describe it is like our nervous system. It's more than just a fear response, it is like a fight or flight response because in medical school we learned fight or flight, but there's actually some other states. There's freeze and fawn. Are you familiar with that, Recha?
Recha: Yes, actually, I read about that, I think, in your book.
Bonnie: Okay, I don't go into much detail because it is a bit outside the scope of my expertise, but it is something I'm learning more about because it is important to understand that. Because based on your past life experiences, it doesn't have to be something super bad, if that makes sense, because we all interpret events differently.
And so if it was traumatizing to you, that means it was traumatic. It doesn't matter how big or little it was. And these events are traumatizing to most of us, so I think it's just important to understand that and to really take care of yourself during this time. And one of the things I recommend is actually to not watch the news and not go into these rabbit holes where you're Googling Google News, that's what I do anyway.
Not that you can't keep on top of what's happening, but I’d really limit it. And obviously, they want to push your buttons so that you donate, and all the news outlets are doing that too because their whole thing, you have to remember, is to get your attention, right? So it is like a form of dopamine to like watch it and be like, ah. But then every time you watch this, it just like re-traumatizes you every time.
So that's just something I want you all to think about in the context of because this won't be the last tragedy, right, the last tragedy. So I just think it's really important to like take care of yourselves and limit those inputs. Is there anything else you want to say about that, Recha?
Recha: I would say I totally agree about that. I would just add that when you are feeling all of those feelings and wanting to take steps and make changes, I would actually echo something that you've said before that really stuck with me when it comes to taking that next step and making a change. And that is when emotions are high, intelligence is low.
And so when you're feeling those emotions, giving yourself a beat, giving yourself that time to feel them, go through them. But then when you're going to take action, like we have to do as doctors, you know, when we're feeling very strongly when we're seeing a patient we can feel the emotions, we can feel the empathy, we can feel the compassion of things that are going on. But then we have to take a beat. And we have to be effective in the next steps to help that person.
It's the same way when you're trying to make a change in the world or dealing with a tragedy like this. You feel them and you need to take that beat before you can do something intelligently.
Bonnie: Yeah, that's one of my favorites. I didn't make up that quote when emotions are high, intelligence is low. But it's so true, right? If you're in this highly activated angry state it's not even, like rage giving, but it could be other things too, like you pick fights with people. I tend to do that and that's just something I need to notice about myself and give myself some grace when that happens.
Okay, so I want to talk more about how this is actually an amazing opportunity to take a step back and think about what organizations you want to support. And this is kind of what we talked about the first time I had you on the podcast because it does make donating top of mind, right?
Recha: Absolutely, absolutely. I think when you take that time and you do want to think through things, there are a lot of things to consider with where you want to put your money and where you want to make the most impact. And that's what I'm always talking about, is how you can really make the most impact that's really aligned with what you care about most.
And it might sound strange, but one of the ways that I do that is stopping and saying, well, what do I care about most? Why do I even care about this? Like, I don't know these people, but I really do care. And so giving yourself that time to think about what piece it is that you want to be involved in and how you want to give, how you want to impact.
Things do you want to be immediately helping the families that have suffered tragedies? Or do you want to be working on things like gun control, or the root causes or other issues that lead to gun violence? Or some combination of those? And that's kind of the first step, I think, is where do you want to make your impact.
Because these issues are so complex, there are so many things that go into something like gun violence, or any tragedies, like you said, there's going to be all kinds of other tragedies that are coming along. So when you kind of think about what part you want to have the most impact on, it helps you figure out where you want to direct your money.
Bonnie: I really love what you just said, how there's so many ways to help, you know, that we both think it's important for those of you who do want to make an impact. And what I love about working with mostly women physicians is that we have big hearts and we want to help, like that's why we want into medicine. We want to help everyone, that's just our nature.
And like what you said, there's so many ways to help and it is valuable to take the time to really think about what impact do I want? Like where do I want to help? Where do I want to impact? And there's no wrong way to donate. So let's talk about that for a second.
Recha: Absolutely, I agree, there is no wrong way to donate as long as it's a valid cause. There really isn't because at every step of the pathway, there's need, there are different forms of giving. So the immediate help, like if there has been an earthquake, the immediate help for the victims can be important, and so there's nothing wrong with that.
And if you want to think more about like maybe if there's climate change or environmental issues that you want to have as your kind of long-term impact, then that's good. Like anywhere you put your money in.
So for something as complex as gun violence, actually I think I was reading this morning about, it was in the New York Times, they were saying that since July 4th, which was four days ago, that most recent shooting in Chicago, there have been another 160 gun deaths in the US. So that's four days later.
So the mass shootings are one thing, but gun deaths are a big problem in the United States. And what they were talking about is the correlation with poverty and gun violence. So you could be focused on poverty or equity, and that would be helping, hopefully. There are so many different pathways in that the long-term goals might be all met with contribution at any step of the way. And there are needs every step of the way.
Bonnie: Absolutely, there are so many. It's complicated, right? It's not like if you fix this, then it'll be fixed, right? That's just not a thing. It would be great if that was true. I'm not an expert on gun violence and I know we're talking about that. And I'm also traumatized by the overturning of Roe versus Wade, we'll probably bring that up a few times.
I just love how you're saying it's complicated. It's not like, you know, I think a lot of sometimes when we're reacting to gun violence, the focus is on gun control groups. But there's so many factors that feed into it, not just on a government or legal level, but like you said, the equity level, the poverty level, and systemic racism, right?
They're all related and so I think, like I said, this is such an amazing opportunity for people to really think about what they want to focus on. And that can change over time, right? It doesn't matter what you focus on. And you don't have to focus on anything, but I know that most of you like to think about things intentionally, so this is really providing a framework for how you can do that.
Recha: One of the interesting things that I've seen, and it turns out there are some studies that back this up as well, is people say I want to make a difference, I want to help, I've just donated a bunch of money, now what can I do? And I think well, actually, you just did something but you feel like you didn't. So let's think about that for a minute.
And one of the things that I was listening to recently talked about if you are donating, if you are giving and you have a very specific goal and a specific idea, then you're more likely to feel like you've actually done something.
So it's that kind of like idea of what you've done. But if you take the time to think it through a little bit before you make your contribution, then you are more likely to feel empowered and to feel like, okay, I am helping.
Recha: Satisfied, there you go. Exactly. And feel like you're doing what you want, you are helping, you are trying to make a difference and you can feel more effective and more like you're making an impact if you've actually thought it through. And then you won't say, I donated money but now what can I do? That’s part of it.
Bonnie: Yeah, and as you were saying that, what came to my mind is it's really easy to also feel overwhelmed that you're helpless and that you can't do anything. And so I think having that focus, then you're like, oh, well, this is what I want to focus on and make my impact.
But I think in the wake of events like this, it's really easy to kind of, A, because you're activated and your mind is all kind of, everyone reacts differently so I don't want to say this is for all of you.
But there was actually a day, just to share my experience, I think it was actually the Texas shootings. There was a day, I remember it was like most of the day where I literally couldn't think. And so I had postpartum anxiety, I don't consider myself an anxious person. I mean, maybe I am, I just don't think I am. I felt like my brain was spinning. It wasn't a panic attack, maybe that's what it was, I just don't know, I can't label it.
But I had a day where it was like that for me and it took me some time to realize what was happening, that I was having this like kind of a visceral reaction to things. And I just decided that I wasn't going to work that day. You know what I mean? And that's the beauty of me having a business. and even if I did have a job, I would have done my best to excuse myself for that day to really take care of myself and my body.
So having that focus, I think, is helpful. Not so much for the anxiety, I think you just have to, like you said, allow all of your reactions. And I think when we're so busy, it's easy to kind of think like, well, I don't have time to do this. I don't have time to focus on myself, I have to do something. And that's kind of what we do as women, right? We want to take care of everyone else before we take care of ourselves, right?
And so I love talking about this stuff. Anyway, what advice do you have for people just figuring out where they want to focus on? Is it as simple as just taking a beat and really thinking about where they want to make their impact? That's step one, right?
Recha: That's pretty much step one, is kind of finding your focus. That's where I like to start. And one of the things that I feel sometimes, and I think a lot of us probably can relate to this, is when all of this is happening it can be very overwhelming. And even just finding your focus can be very overwhelming.
So what I like to do is I like to take it back to kind of my personal most important things. And there's a very good chance that what you care about most is related in some way. And so whatever you care about most, if you move forward with it, it probably can end up helping in some way.
So for example, what I like to do is the question, if you could fix one thing in the world, what would it be? And when I think about those—
Bonnie: Give us an example.
Recha: So something like gender equity or protecting children. So those are things, like two of the things that come to me immediately.
So when I think of those, it makes it much easier when I think of something like protecting the children or helping children after there's been a tragedy. Or in terms of gender equity, having more women involved and empowered, what are the ways that we can do that? Because in areas where there are more women empowered, there tends to be fewer of these kinds of problems.
Bonnie: So are you saying women are going to save the world? Because that's what I believe.
Recha: So yeah, yeah.
Bonnie: I mean, it's obvious, right?
Recha: Clearly, clearly. Well, actually, I think there have been a lot of UN studies that the more empowered women are in different areas, the better off the community is.
Bonnie: I think I've heard that too, actually. I mean we know that, not to go totally off topic, that female doctors have better outcomes.
Recha: So yeah, so that's one of my lenses. And so that is one of the ways that I kind of view these kinds of things and it helps me focus on what things I might want to give money to and what my kind of long-term vision is.
And so once I have that, then my next step would be to look at the options, look at what I've given to in the past, look at what opportunities are showing up and really assess them before I hit the donate button. Like not just say, okay, that's it, I'm going to donate money to this, unless it's a group that I already know.
But again, to take a moment, and when I talk about taking a moment, I don't mean like this is going to be taking an hour, it'll probably take less time than it would to figure out the next purchase that you're going to make online. Just taking a moment to evaluate the charities, make sure that they're valid, and that they're in line with short-term and long-term goals and ideals.
Bonnie: Let's talk about how to find the right organizations because I know people are worried about fraudulent organizations. Unfortunately, there's always people who are going to take advantage of things, right? And let's talk about, because there's usually a lot of GoFundMe accounts. That's actually, you tell me, a source of fraudulent money, probably. So let's talk about that.
Recha: One thing that I thought was interesting that I found recently is apparently the funding for the IRS has gone down in terms of their vetting of charitable organizations. So there apparently has been an increase in fraudulent charity. So I think it's a really important thing to pay attention to. So they could already be in the IRS system as a valid charity, but not actually be valid.
Again, this is where I think it's really important to take a step and evaluate things. And I'll get back to the GoFundMe in just a minute. But what I like to do with a non-GoFundMe charity, but one that's actually set up as a charitable organization, is I usually do at least three steps.
One is just check to see that they're a valid charity. And often I'll use one of the bigger charity evaluation websites such as GuideStar to see that they're in good standing. But as we know, that's not necessarily always going to give you the full picture. The next thing I do is I put the exact wording in the exact order of the name of the charity in Google and just do a Google search with the name plus the word scam or fraud. And sometimes things will actually come up there.
Bonnie: That sounds so obvious, but...
Recha: Yeah, but it's amazing what actually comes up because a lot of these charities are, they use the same words maybe in a little bit of a different order, or with a couple of extra words. I'm trying to remember the most recent ones I saw were like ones that you know. Like, it was something like UNICEF, but in Ohio or something like that. It was a very big famous charity, but they had set it up with two extra words.
And so if you put the whole string in, then you would see that that one had been fraudulently set up.
Bonnie: Can I ask you a quick question before we move on to the next thing?
Recha: Of course.
Bonnie: Because this just reminded me how like you get those emails that are like from American Express, but they're really not. And sometimes they look real, although I often find that there's usually typos and weird things in there. Is that the same for these fraudulent charity sites? Like do they look fake and kind of like slapped up versus professional? You know what I mean?
Recha: That's a good question, and that was actually going to be the next point, is to go look at the websites and really dig into them. I haven't done a lot of digging on their websites, but if you do digging on valid charity, you can find things like they should have all their clear mission vision. They should have clear metrics of what they're trying to accomplish. And they should have an annual financial report or impact report.
And that's one of the big things that I look at, when I'm evaluating a charity, is to go back onto their website and look for an impact report or a financial report from the prior year, because they’ll be listing what they've accomplished. And it'll show me, one, it helps validate them, two, it shows me if it's really in line with what I would like them to be, you know what I would like my money to be going to.
Bonnie: Yeah, this is so important, like you said, because a lot of us do this reactive and rage giving and it's easy to not sort of do this and then give to the wrong place, right?
Bonnie: Anything else you want to say about that?
Recha: Well, to go back to your question on GoFundMe, this is something I don't have a lot of knowledge about in terms of potential fraudulent charities or things like that. But my personal take on that is if I know somebody directly, then I would consider doing a GoFundMe. If it is not somebody I know directly, then I don't do it.
And that's just kind of my kind of rule of thumb because I really want to make sure that the money I am putting out there goes to what I want it to be going to.
Bonnie: Yeah, because also with reactive giving, so I'm just going to give you guys an example. This was like local, so I don't know how much press it got in the US because I live in New Jersey, so the northeast. There was a really young boy in Connecticut, and maybe some of you guys remember this, he was set on fire by another kid. His face was set on fire.
And it just kind of captured the hearts of the Northeast and they had a GoFundMe page. I donated to that one, and they gave us updates pretty frequently and so I felt pretty good that it was actually legit. But I agree, it's like unless you know the person directly, it's really hard to know if it's legit because it's more common if you're a business facing person, but fake Facebook accounts, fake Instagram accounts pop up all the time.
Actually, I haven't had it happen to me, which maybe means I'm not famous enough. But they'll literally copy all the pictures you use for your Instagram and slap it up and it'll just say like, because my Instagram handle is Wealthy Mom MD so it might just be Wealthy Mom MD with like an extra dash, kind of like you were saying.
And so I could see how a GoFundMe account can easily be fake. And it's easier to do than set up a professional website, right? Because GoFundMe, it's like it's so easy to set up, so I think that's so important.
Going back to how we talked about how important it is to kind of take a beat, be intentional, really think about our values, where we want to help. The reason why that's so important, besides the stuff that you already said, is because then we're using our prefrontal cortex to make decisions. And what's unique about humans is we have one, which means we can think about our thinking and we can plan.
Because when you're in that reactive mode, it's kind of like it's activating your primitive brain system. And reactive giving makes sense, because it gives us a hit of dopamine that we're doing something. And just so we're clear, neither of us are saying you shouldn't do any reactive giving. Like it's not bad, so we're not saying that.
And I know that all of you want to be more intentional about your, I was going to say spending, donating. But it is spending, right? And doing that is, I don't want to use the word pleasure, it helps us feel empowered for the long-term.
Recha: Reactive giving is usually the easiest thing to do because you're probably inundated with asks. And reactive giving is generally also asks for small amounts, so it makes it easy to press that button over and over again. Like donate, yeah, I'm going to donate $5 to this, and I'm going to donate $10 to that, or I'll donate $100 to this. So that kind of reactive giving is very easy and it takes a little bit more effort to do the kind of intentional and planned giving.
Bonnie: Oh, I like how we're talking about it, the way we're talking about it. I just want to reiterate the motivational triad for those of you are like, what are they talking about? And so taking a step back, our brains are designed to keep us alive. I think we all know that on some level, but it's really important to understand this.
And so because its number one job is to keep us alive, and I think that makes sense, otherwise the human species would have died out, right? And so it's motivated by three things and I call it the motivational triad because it's three things. So one of them is it wants dopamine, it seeks pleasure.
It wants things to be easy, that’s what Recha was just talking about. And the reason why it wants things to be easy is it takes less energy. Because think about it, in the context of survival your brain wants to conserve energy in case it needs to have a flight response and literally run from impending death, right? And so it's always like, we want to conserve energy. And so it's always going to be immediately attracted to what's easy.
The third thing is to avoid pain, and this could be social and physical pain, also makes sense. And I also think that I never thought of it this way, but the reactive giving kind of like hits all three if you think about it. It's easy. It provides a little dopamine hit. And it relieves some of the pain we're feeling because we feel like we are helping them a little. I never thought of it this way but that makes sense to me. What do you think?
Recha: I totally agree.
Bonnie: I'll let you continue.
Recha: Okay, well, so I was just taking some notes while you were saying that because it's true, it's that quick fix for all three of them. But what I like to think of also for giving in terms of long game is, as physicians we know that sometimes it takes a really long time to get somewhere. It took us a long time to be practicing. It took us a long time to get through medical school and residency and all of that.
And if you want to make an impact on any of these issues that are showing up, any recent tragedies that are showing up, I think it's helpful to think of it as kind of that delayed gratification as well. That like long game, long view look at really being able to make an impact.
Bonnie: There's a few questions but I just wanted to make sure we kind of talked about everything you wanted to talk about.
Recha: I guess the last thing I want to say before we take questions is kind of the punch line, the bottom line is that a lot of these issues and a lot of where we got to today with all these tragedies is money is power. And we can like it or not, but there is power in money.
We've talked about this before, I would love for the people who are listening to this, the people who are learning from you, Bonnie, to be able to own that power. To be able to be good with it, to be able to feel good about making as much money as they want, and then to turn around and use their money powerfully.
And if that's donating, if that's impact investing, when that's spending. Whatever it is, when you turn around and use your money, that's where your power is. Your money is like the most powerful tool that you have to affect change in the world and I want to help give people the tools to use it powerfully. And for you to help them make a lot of it.
Bonnie: I think of money as it just amplifies who you are. I don't like putting people in categories good and bad, but for the purposes of illustration it works. If you have a big heart, more money is going to allow you to be more generous and to help more people. In fact, one of my business mentors from the past, he told me the more money you make, the more impact you can have.
And on the flip side, if there are people who don't have great hearts, more money is going to just magnify that. So money just magnifies who you already are. I know some people get offended when, not just me, but when people talk about how money is so important because in some ways it does suck that money is so important, and that the “bad” guys have more money. Like I said, I'm generalizing here.
And I think a lot of people ignore how important money is for these things. I call it a game and they get offended when I say that because people's lives are at stake and they don't consider that a game. So that's not what I'm saying. Money is really important to effect the change that we want to see. And to ignore that or to think it's not important is really short sighted.
Recha: I think it's also a bit unrealistic because that’s the way the world works.
Bonnie: Yeah, anyway, that's why I love talking about money. Okay, what questions? Let's see, how do we ensure that we are donating to reputable organizations that won't squander donations or funnel into admin salaries?
So we did answer that, but is there anything you want to say that maybe we didn't get a chance to say about that?
Recha: I would like to point out that a lot of the comparison sites talk about admin salary and use that as kind of a proxy for effectiveness. And I really don't buy into that and I think it can be really misleading.
If you think about the different kinds of medical practices that are out there, if you have a dermatology clinic that might have some expensive machinery and need very specialized help, they might have a different kind of clinic that doesn't require the same kind of things.
So I don't think it's for me to say or for people to really judge an organization by the amount they need for their administration or for the work they do. I think that they should be evaluated more on their impact and their outcomes. It's a little bit misleading to think about that the funds are being squandered.
Bonnie: Yeah, no, this is actually a great talking point. And I also want to tie it back to the brain stuff we've been talking about is, when you are in reactive giving mode, then you're not going to have time to make these evaluations.
I don't think I actually introduced you in the beginning. So tell us exactly how you help people because obviously, you know so much about this. So tell us more about what you do and how you help people.
Recha: I founded the Physician Philanthropist because I wanted to help doctors be more impactful with their giving, but also with any way that they put their money out. So with their investments and spending as well.
I do have a few online courses, self-paced courses that have a lot of the things that we've discussed and a lot in a little bit more depth about specifics in terms of how to donate effectively. And a new course on impact investing.
So I have online courses. I also have a blog, and I'm just saying all my stuff out there as well in the social media, so I'm on Facebook and Instagram as Physician Philanthropist. And I'm open to anybody's questions or if anyone wants to get in touch with me, I'm always open to that.
Bonnie: I appreciate you so much for doing this kind of last minute. Basically what happened is I saw Recha’s article in Kevin MD and I was like, we need to talk about this. And it just happened to work out that we could do this pretty last minute with our schedules. And so I really appreciate that you are talking about this because I think this is going to be so helpful for so many people.
We basically provided a framework on how to think about this and the difference between intentional giving versus reactive giving. And I know that many of my audience wants to give intentionally, they want to make an impact. And so I think it's so important to really think through how you want to give.
And here's the last thing I want to say that came to mind as we were talking is, I don't want to say these tragedies are opportunities but you might realize that you really want to help in a certain way. And to use these events to really take the time to think about it, I think that's what I mean by a great opportunity. I don't mean anything otherwise.
So I'm hoping that all of you learned a lot about this or learned a lot from this conversation and that it'll help you make more intentional decisions about where you want to give. And I think that's it.
Recha: Thank you so much for having me.
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