Charity 101 – How to Make Charity 100 a Day
Charity begins at home—with your family and friends. It extends to your coworkers and your neighbors and it reaches across borders and cultures.
To make the most of your gift, be sure to vet groups by visiting the charities watchdogs listed below. Also, confirm tax-exempt status by requesting documentation such as a bank statement or a receipt from the group.
What is charity?
Charity is the love and concern for others; a desire to help those in need; and a willingness to sacrifice for those in need. The word comes from the Latin charitas and is related to the Greek word for goodness, compassion and loving kindness.
It can be seen in our everyday lives. Whether it is giving spare change to a homeless man or helping a friend in need. It can also be seen in large charitable organizations such as the Make a Wish Foundation (where John Cena is a global ambassador) or The World Wildlife Fund.
Charities are often exempt from taxes due to the fact that they have a direct and immediate benefit to society, such as providing relief to those in need; advancement of religion or education; the erection of public buildings or monuments; scientific research; literary endeavors; testing for public safety; or fostering national or international amateur sports competition. These are the ‘charitable purposes’ set out in the Internal Revenue Code.
Why give to charity?
Research shows that people donate and volunteer for many reasons. These can be broadly grouped into altruism (concern for others), egoism (personal satisfaction in giving) and social dynamics.
For example, when a group of friends organises a clear up in their local park they will often feel the social benefits of feeling part of a team and gaining a sense of achievement. They may also feed their egoism by seeing onlookers join in and be inspired to follow suit.
Nonprofits can encourage people to give to their cause by showing photos of emaciated dogs or sick children, and they tailor their email campaigns to tug at donors’ heartstrings. But researchers have found that financial constraints can actually discourage charitable giving. That’s why some charities are working hard to encourage people to donate property instead of cash. Often, this can be more tax efficient and ensure the highest percentage of your donation goes directly to your chosen cause.
How can I give to charity?
There are many ways to give to charity, whether it is cash or goods. It is important to find charities that are reputable and well run, and to check their efficiency. Many organizations have tools for evaluating charities, and some have expert advisors available to help you determine which charities are the most effective.
Some groups focus on specific issues, like fighting AIDS in Africa or reducing the number of animals used in research. Others focus on broad themes, such as reducing poverty or improving global health. You can find some of these groups by searching on the Internet or asking friends and family for recommendations.
If you want to support multiple charities, it is best to coordinate with the charities so that your PR plans are aligned. In some cases, you may also need to ask for permission to use the charity’s branding in any resulting PR. Be sure to get the charity’s written acknowledgment of donations that are over a certain amount for tax purposes.
How can I get involved with charity?
Charity work can be done in many ways, ranging from big-scale, large-group volunteer efforts to small acts of kindness that help just one person. The important thing is to consider your own core values and find a charity that supports the cause you believe in. It’s also crucial to choose something that lights you up inside.
Some charities are more heavily reliant on volunteers than others, and the amount of time required varies. Some may require extensive interviews and training before they allow you to join their volunteer program, while others have highly specific tasks that only you can perform (like stuffing envelopes, feeding animals, or cleaning up litter).
Regardless of the type of charity work you choose to do, it’s vital to take your research seriously. Look up the organization on charity watchdog websites, and find out more about their mission and what they’re trying to accomplish. Ask about the type of skills and interests they’re looking for.