- Can I come to a meeting without joining to see what it’s all about?
- Do I have to live in Muskegon County to join?
- How much does it cost to join?
- How do I join?
- When and where are the meetings?
- What’s a meeting like?
- When my name is drawn to speak about my charity, what should I say?
- Do I have to attend the meetings to donate?
- What kinds of charities can be nominated?
- Can a charity win more than once?
- What if I don’t like the charity that’s chosen?
- What charities has Men Who Care donated to?
- Are my donations tax-deductible?
Answers to Membership Questions
Do I have to live in Muskegon County to join?
No! We have members who live in nearby counties, and even members who used to live in West Michigan and have moved away but still care about the community. Maybe you work in Muskegon County, grew up here, have family here — whatever the reason you care about Muskegon County, you’re one of us.
How much does it cost to join?
Nothing. The Sherman Bowling Center donates the use of their larger banquet room every quarter, and we’re grateful. Because of that, we have no expenses, so membership is free. Members must commit to donating $100 each quarter to the chosen charity.
How do I join?
Fill out and submit the simple form on our Join page! We’ll add you to the email list right away. Or, just come to our next meeting! Sign-up sheets are available at every meeting, and it won’t take you two minutes to fill it out.
You might also want to add our meetings to your calendar.
Answers to Meeting Questions
When and where are the meetings?
We meet once a quarter on the first Wednesday of March, June, September and December from 6-7 p.m. at the Sherman Bowling Center (map). Check the calendar at the top of the sidebar, or watch our blog or Facebook page for exact dates.
What’s a meeting like?
On his way into the meeting, any member who wants to nominate a charity for our donation puts his name and the name of the charity on a slip of paper and drops the slip in a bag. Each member may put only one slip in the bag each meeting, and nominations must be re-entered each meeting. All members also take a separate slip for voting.
An organizer draws three slips from the bag. Each man whose name is drawn gets 5 minutes to speak about the charity he nominated, followed by up to 5 minutes of questions and answers. To ensure fairness for all presenters, questions must be answered by the presenter with no help from the audience.
After all the presentations, we vote by paper ballot. While the ballots are being counted, we hear from the charity that received our donation the previous quarter; they tell us how our money was used and the good they did with it.
When the votes are counted, the winner is announced. Each member writes a check to the winning charity for $100. Each member agrees to donate to the chosen charity regardless of his personal views.
And that’s it. Our meetings have never lasted more than an hour, though some of us might hang around and bowl afterward sometimes.
When my name is drawn to speak about my charity, what should I say?
Be passionate and knowledgeable, and plan your talk. You’ll be speaking to a group of dedicated men who care about Muskegon County and want their money to do real good in the community. We vote on the charities, not on the speakers, but a well-informed presentation that covers the basics and helps us connect to your charity will give your charity a better chance. Check our talking points for more tips.
Do I have to attend meetings to donate?
No. We have many members who can’t always attend our meetings. We notify members by email, Facebook and this website about each quarter’s winner, and members can send their checks to our main organizer, Bill O’Brien. Of course, you can’t nominate your favorite charity or help us choose the winner if you don’t turn up at the meeting.
Answers to Charity Questions
What kinds of charities can be nominated?
Almost any kind! We’ve donated to local affiliates of well-known charities like Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lakeshore, and to organizations many of us had never heard of until they were nominated at one of our meetings. The requirements are simple; each charity must:
- Be a registered 501(c)(3) organization.
- Be located in and serve Muskegon County.
- Promise that 100 percent of our donations will be used in Muskegon County.
- Promise not to solicit our members for further donations or add us to mailing lists.
- Local affiliates of regional, state and national charities that meet those requirements are eligible and have won our donations.
Can a charity win more than once?
Yes! When we select a charity to receive our donations, that charity is ineligible for one year. After one year, the charity becomes eligible again. In fact, the second charity we ever donated to won again less than two years later.
What if I don’t like the charity that’s chosen?
We don’t send collection agencies after members who don’t donate in a given quarter, and we don’t even take people off our membership list for not paying. But for our concept to work it’s important for every member to donate every time. After all, next time it might be your favorite charity that a few other guys don’t really want to give to. It’s our combined donations that really make the difference for these charities.
What charities has Men Who Care donated to?
Check out our recipients page, updated promptly after every meeting.