I’m one of those guys who never give money to street-corner panhandlers. Although there are numerous pros and cons to deciding whether to donate (as discussed on numerous websites), I’ve generally come down on the side of the cons.
But today as I drove by another of these ubiquitous characters in San Antonio, a new rationale for donating occurred to me – efficiency. Assuming that these characters are truly in dire straits, and further assuming that you believe in charitable giving to those in dire straits, then giving directly to the street-corner panhandler is amazingly efficient – i.e., 100% goes directly to the person in need. By contrast, contributions to charitable organizations will often result in 20% to 80% going to administrative expenses.
Based on this new rationale, I’m going to be more likely to dig into my wallet at street corners in my future.