Reasons to Give to Charity

Donating to the poor, unhealthy and starving must be included in society's spending binge.

In this world where consumption and waste are extreme while half the people live in poverty and starvation, is there any excuse for being unconcerned? The extent of poverty is not widely broadcast as are sports and entertainment, so there might be a reason for a lack of interest by so many. And other excuses can be used for not getting involved but the fact remains that billions of people live in poverty and do not have sufficient resources to sustain health or life.

The extent is staggering and inhumane in this world where so many have so much.
These are only a few of The Poverty Facts and Stats in a comprehensive report at Global Issues.
  • Over 9 million people die worldwide each year because of hunger and malnutrition. 5 million are children.
  • 1.4 million die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.
  • 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized
  • 15 million children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS (similar to the total children population in Germany or United Kingdom)
Besides humanitarian reasons for charity there are personal benefits.
It is good for the giver. Saskya Pandita, philisophically, "If you lend money, it is uncertain whether you shall be repaid; but if you bestow alms, although they may be small, your return will be a hundred fold."

If you don't think it feels really good to give, check out the withered old smile on Mother Teresa in a Wikepedia account of her unbelievable life devoted entirely to giving. For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.

Dave Pitchford, Intelligent Giving Managing Editor: Why Bother
A FRIEND WHO DOESN'T GIVE to charity set me a challenge: to convince her, on this site, why she should give. Here goes. I can think of 11 good reasons:

1-It will be good for you
All research on happiness comes to the same conclusion: the more we look outside of ourselves, the happier we get. I'd imagine giving to others is a good start.
2-At the moment, you're freeloading
If you have been to hospital, visited a museum, been to the theatre, walked through a park or along a canal, ... a charity has almost certainly paid to improve your experience. Fair dues?
3-We're lucky...
You live in an immensely lucky country: a soft climate, rich soil, water everywhere, a democracy, no tropical diseases/ lions/ tigers/ earthquakes/ hurricanes/ volcanoes, circled by a moat. This is not through any effort of our own. We have lucked out.
4- ....but not all of us
If every day you saw the problems in this country you wouldn't hesitate to help (which is why poor people who see the problems give more to charity). But you don't see the worst of it. Grueling statistics are available but if you don't have the appetite for them, believe it: there is plenty to fix.
5-Other countries are not lucky
If you visit a poor country you will meet people with brilliance in their eyes and you'll know they'll stay poor forever because they cannot possibly escape their situation. Then you will realize that it's not simply your genius that explains your comfortable lifestyle (see 4).
6-Others have paid for you
Previous generations dug deep to create great things you take for granted. Apart from hospices, helplines and scanners, this includes life-changing laws (equal rights, the vote, free education and healthcare) which charities lobbied for. What wonderful things will you leave behind?
7-You'll be more popular (probably)
Research on schoolchildren shows that the ones who help charities are more respected by their peers, more popular and happier. It isn't much of a stretch to imagine the same applies to adults.
8-It makes a difference
If charities weren't around, the arts would die, the country would get grimier, and people less lucky than you would suffer enormously. Charities provide a third of all social services in the UK. The money clearly makes a difference.
9-You'll be joining everyone else
The most conservative statistics say 65 per cent of Brits give to charity but most put it nearer to 85 per cent. So by not giving, you're in quite a small - some might say, mean - minority.
10-It's not cool not to give
Name a celeb who says s/he won't give to charity because it's a waste of time. Or because they're too busy. Or because it's against their principles. Would you, if the microphone turned to you?
11-You can ignore the rumours now
You can check out virtually all those rumours about fat-cat salaries and huge admin bills at No more excuses!

THESE SIX ORGANISATIONS specialise in finding good charities. Each has very different interests and ways of choosing - so do read the descriptions before viewing their recommendations.

Sometimes I am concerned about the aggressive tactics of some charities that have relegated their marketing to third parties. There can be a large amount of money wasted on advertising, junk mail and duplication of freebies such as personalized return address labels which I have received too many from various sources and of no use. One organization with a very worthwhile cause continually sent goodies throughout the year and used up most of my small donation. Their federal association did not work this way and also offered an online 'do not contact' option.

Charity Guide is an interesting site on volunteerism and giving in various ways.
Related posts - Photo source