I’ve always been a left side thinker. I’ve always felt the rich should share more. I think it’s outrageous that 1% of the world owns over 50% of the goods. While I’m certainly not in the global 1% I have enough to give for charity. (BTW: feeling of having enough is more of a state of mind than strictly a financial situation: poor people give more for charity than the rich. (sources: US article, UK article). Even if you don’t have much/enough money you can still give your time to help others too.
1, Donating money
Doing charity is just like any other deal with spending money: getting a good product and making sure your money goes to the best place needs a good amount of research.
Here are my tips:
– look around. Maybe your nephew’s dream of playing football could come true if you gave him 20 bucks a week. Maybe the homeless guy at your corner needs 300 USD not to be homeless any more. If this isn’t (only) where you want to help:
– choose organisations that are active close to you
– give money to people you personally know / you trust
– if you don’t know such people, ask your friends (e.g. a simple Facebook question worked for me)
– get involved with the organisation (I’ve contacted several organisations that 1, didn’t exist in reality; 2, had no running projects; 3, seemed terribly ineffective)
– give charity to small organisations where your money matters (10 USD for UNICEF? Sure, they can get 3 free bananas for the employees in their Singapore office)
– choose organisations whose functioning costs are low. If 90% of your donation goes for the multi-million dollar salary of a CEO it might be the last time you’ve ever donated
– one-time vs. regular: a one-time donations can be useful for a project with a single goal or a movement but an organisation relies on regular donations
– count from your income and make a promise/resolution: “This year I’ll have 1% / 3% / 5% / 10% / 15% of my income/expense for charity”.
2, Donating time
– make sure you feel good while volunteering. Otherwise you’ll not last.
– look for good company and inspiring people (not only an inspiring project)
– start small, don’t commit in the beginning: go and help in for a couple hours to a day to get to know the work and the people. Better try a dozen then leave one and never return
– if you want to make a change, help in regularly: even if just a little bit of time
– use the skills you are really good at / want to be good at: If you are good at teaching and languages and these are your interests, don’t look for flat renovations or health care because you are not skilled and you don’t want to be.
– in Europe there’s an organisation called European Solidarity Corps where one aged 17-30 can go to volunteer for 2 -12 months – with good financial support from EU
– you’ll spend 100% of your salary on something
– you’re going to spend those 24 hours every day doing something.
Why not to try to donate 1 hour weekly or 1% of your money? If for nothing else than to try out something new…
Charity and volunteering are things you’ll never understand until you try them yourself…