Home > Global, Life > Really Giving to Charity

Really Giving to Charity

When we give to charity, do we always make a positive change or sometimes further perpetuate a problem? Let’s say you donate money/food to starving children in Africa. What happens when all that is used up? Likely those children will require even more donations and become dependent on wealthier countries. However, what if that money was used to address why are children starving? Once you fix that problem, they won’t require donations from others anymore. As the saying goes, give a man a fish and he won’t be hungry for one night, but teach him to fish and he won’t be hungry for life.

The most recent fundraiser I helped out with was a hot chocolate sale. The logistics were simple: it ran for five hours every day for five days and there were four people running the booth at any given time. Therefore the total effort put into selling hot chocolate was 100 hours (4 ppl x 5 hours x 5 days). I don’t know how much money was raised, but I assume it was around $500. When you do the math, each volunteer raised only $5 per hour. If you think about it, instead of organizing and running the hot chocolate sale, what if the same people spent the same amount of time working at a minimum wage job ($10/hour) then donating that paycheck? We would have $1000 instead of $500 to give to charity.

Furthermore are there times when it’s better to withhold small charitable donations until the future when one can make a larger impact? For example, my friend (going to law school) currently doesn’t give to charity. However he made a pledge that once he becomes a lawyer and reaches a yearly salary of $250k, he will donate $10k every single year. If he had spent his time and money on small charitable causes, he may not have been able to focus getting into law school and potentially earn the salary required to make much larger donations in the future.

There are numerous charitable organizations, but we can’t donate to them all. It’s important to look at the bigger picture because our good intentions don’t always lead to the most favourable outcomes. Charity is more than just being nice. It’s about solving problems.

Categories: Global, Life
  1. February 22, 2012 at 7:25 am

    lols. Finally blogged about this, eh?

    The issue with the donating of money is some people don’t get enough hours at work to make enough money such that they’d consider they have enough “overflow” to give to that charity, and thus they volunteer. And also, for people who simply don’t have jobs.

    I agree about the potential problems associated with charity, although moreso for other reasons that aren’t listed here, such as the problem of fund dilution.

    • February 22, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      When I say I’ll blog about something, that may take months lol.

      “The issue…is some people don’t get enough hours at work to…have enough “overflow” to give to that charity…And also, for people who simply don’t have jobs.” I agree with that. The point was to illustrate how inefficient charities can be.

      For fund dilution, are you referring to the fact that there are lots of independent charities supporting a single cause? This greatly reduces the power of their budget since charities can significantly cut their expenses if they worked together. It’s a case of “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. I just forgot to write about that =P

      • February 24, 2012 at 11:07 am

        That is what I was referring to 😛

  1. February 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm

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