While I wouldn't call myself a heavy philanthropist - I do enjoy supporting my friends and family in charitable events and causes.
I must admit, however, that I recently gave pause before I pressed the "donate" button - second guessing if I should give to a few donations. Not because I'm cheap or heartless or shallow. It was because SPAM (both snail-mail and email) is a huge pet peeve of mine.
The use of online tools has made it much easier to donate, collect, and track charitable activities. It has also made marketing database acquisition efficient and scalable.
Once we donate to a cause - our names are inevitably embedded into that Charities marketing database until the end of time. As consumers, it's OK to get annoyed by receiving unwanted catalogs - but is it socially acceptable to get annoyed by unstoppable Charity out-reach? I mean - is anyone really going to call up a charity and asked to be removed from their mailing list? That's like someone admitting they don't like puppies...
Anyway ... after the pause ... I obviously donated - and I will continue to donate. Similar to how opt-in email was somewhat self-regulated over time (thanks to better SPAM filters by email providers, government pressure, and smart marketing practices) -- I'm hoping charitable organizations follow-suit.
Finally - here's a donation of sorts to any non-profit related readers out there -- Google supplies several free tools to use for those businesses - Check them out.