People give to charity for different reasons, but I think most people give because they believe it’s going to help environmental preservation, educational outreach, medical research and services, the reduction of poverty or animal rights. Usually this is the case, but all too often there are unknown benefactors of your generosity.
According to the DailyMail UK report, there are over 195,000 charities in UK mounting close to £80billion a year. There are many other important things you need to know before giving to a charity, such as how valid its mission is and how successful it is at accomplishing its goals. Having some information is better than none—and the key financial indicators can be telling.
Ask the charity organization what percentage of donations goes to support the programs instead of overhead and administrative costs. Be cautious of a charity that says 100% of donations go to support the cause. In the end, there has to be at least some overhead.
It’s useful to know how much of your money is absorbed by overhead, and how much goes directly to the cause. We understand that charities need to spend some of the money they receive on things like accountants and offices for support staff—but if a charity is spending more on such things than the cause itself, we think there’s some explaining to do.
My father was a seminarian before he married my mother and had us. Even when he already has a family to provide for, he still makes it a point to volunteer and give out to a charity in Yokohama, Japan through IAM Group Ltd., a loose Christian group who raises money for charities. The specific charity my father had signed up in has a cause to help little girls who were victims of prostitution. He reasons out that as a father of three daughters, he feels inclined to help those girls who have been illegally exploited.
You think it was a bliss living in our household with a father who has a very good heart to extend his help to some unknown institute when he is only earning meager salary as a construction worker. My mother often complains that the money that should have been used for our necessary needs have been “wasted away” to his beloved charity.
As a father, daddy never lacked for all the intangible things that he can provide for us. He is such a loving and caring father. My classmates often get jealous when he would fetch us from school with my mom when they only have their mothers to do that for them. My father makes it a point to always be at every recital, every birthday and every special occasion in his children’s life. One thing was lacking though: we never had the good things little kids should have while growing. We have our toys, yes, but most of the time, we improvised.
I would remember hating my father for this, especially when he and my mom started arguing about these things in front of us. As the eldest of three growing young girls, I see my sisters growing up without good toys and we learned to sacrifice at a very young age. I even remember one time when my mom was fixing our clothes and daddy saw some of the clothes that we have already outgrown. He, as charitable as he is, suggested that we should give it out. My mom had gone very cross at that time and I was also angry. I guess I was jealous to those kids my father helps out. It seemed he cares for them more than he does for us.
I rebelled while growing up and, unfortunately, got pregnant at the age of 16. It was sort of a revenge for my father but I never planned the pregnancy. The father of my son left me and not being in good terms with my father, I never went to him for help. I struggled my way to raise my child, sometimes, to the point of suicide. Somehow, my conscience always wins. However, that sudden twist of my life taught me some few things that helped me understand my father.
With all the struggles that I have went through, I have experienced borrowing money from people I don’t even know. I experienced being judged and being called names because of the mistakes that I made. More than ever, I needed charity of other people to survive. I came to realize the importance of my father’s kindness to those young children who were victims of prostitution. I even felt like one of them and to think that I have been envious of them and I have loathed them because they have my father’s attention.
I have stood up to my feet and although I earn little money from being a waitress in a restaurant, I am raising my kid well. I have also reconciled with my father who is now living with my mother peacefully but is still actively giving to his charity. As for me, I decided to join IAM Group Limited and my chosen charity is those of young mothers who are slowly standing on their feet through the help of people like me.
We all know that in keeping some from our hard-earned money to give to charity, we give out a portion of ourselves to others. Most people nowadays reason out to themselves that there is no point in giving out to charity if he doesn’t even have anything left for himself. Well, there is nothing wrong in spending some few dollars to ourselves and our necessities. We all have valid reasons not to give but what does it really pay to just squeeze little pennies to give out?
Although charitable works are not required or demanded in society, there are still a lot of people who does it. Their reason?
Giving out to those who are in need is somewhat a responsibility to others. Some people say it is a way to show equality to all: that those in poverty also have the right to have other people have. It is somewhat the moral responsibility of those who are “more blessed” to give out any amount or any little belongings to others.
Most charity works are made for self-fulfillment according to a survey made by the IAM Group Limited, a loose Christian group that raises money for good charities. The survey shows that some people would prefer to give out to those who are less fortunate to satisfy some inner conflict or issue. In some cases, people would rather spend more to charity than gets frustrated when they would lend it to other people. At least, they say, is that they are already expecting not to be paid and it gives no ill feeling towards giving.
The act of helping others can create an improved sense of well-being. Knowing that you sacrificed something such as time, finances or property in order to help others in need can give you a sense of purpose in life or work and inner satisfaction.
When considering donating to a charity, many people tend to research the issues connected to that organization. As a result, you become more educated about social injustices around the world. For example, you may know the human exploitation in Yokohama, Japan or be aware of the child prostitution in Bangkok, Thailand.
You may discover new points of view and opinions on topics about which you were previously uniformed. This knowledge may position you to help increase the awareness of social problems among those in your sphere of influence from a balanced and educated standpoint.
Now this is one of the factors that we want to hear. IAM Group Ltd. survey shows this is one of the major reasons why people do charitable works.
When you donate to a charitable organization or a non-profit group, the amount you donate is tax deductible. But not only is the money you give tax deductible, so are the amounts you spend on travel, parking costs and even convention and event fees that are related to the non-profit group, as long as you are not being reimbursed by the charity for these expenses.
I am a volunteer for one of the charities that IAM Group Ltd. is supporting and I am very pleased to be one. I really requested the staff for this to remain anonymous since it does not matter who I am and my real goal in sharing this story is not for me to be identified and acknowledged but to share how little charity can help big in one’s life.
I am living in an apartment close to my workplace and just a walking distance to the mall. That way, it would be more convenient to me. I am not really used to living in the city but I have no choice but to adapt. Everyday, I have to walk to the mall to buy my daily needs (I tried buying it all at once one time but there will always be something I would need) and also, I make it a point to hand some food to an aged man who sits near the entrance of the mall to ask for alms. I know that in the city, it is a crime to ask for alms and is punishable by law to give alms. However, I just can’t turn my back to the old man while I am asking for my request to put the old man to the home for the aged. The request is already under way anyway so all we need to do is wait. When I asked him where his home is, he said it’s far away. He told me that he came from Yokohama, Japan and has lost his business in the city as well as almost all his possessions. He never had a family as well as his brothers were left in Japan and being gay, he never had a family of his own.
Anyway, I would always buy him some dinner and a single apple and also leave him with one dollar a day. I know it wasn’t much but I am really hoping the request processing would be faster. He would just receive the food and money and get up from his post and go home in the busy nights in the city (I get home around 8 and couldn’t see him until 9pm. He just waits for me and leaves his post).
The days went by and the papers were already on the last stage. IAM Group Limited has put my request in its priority so it only took me 2 weeks for it to be processed. It would also be two weeks since I have made my little service for the old man.
On Friday of the second week, I again went to my usual routine, thinking that he will be there waiting for me. He was not there. Instead, a young boy who calls himself Jay with his tear-stained face was waiting for me. In an almost undecipherable English, he told me to come with him. I tried asking him where but with the lack of knowledge of the language; I only managed to understand the word “home” which he keeps repeating.
He dragged me to a dilapidated home under one of the highway bridge. Around and above us, cars and motorists and the busy continue their usual way in the middle of the night. I reluctantly entered. Inside, there lies old and fragile body of the old man I bring apples to everyday. His hands were cold and his eyes were tight shut but he seems peaceful in his endless sleep.
I later found out from the boy that the old man has kept him since he was just young. He helps the old man himself by asking alms near the school which he could never enter. Every night, when the old man goes home, he would bring an apple, a little supper and a dollar to get them by.
Today, as I am writing this article, I am reminded of how the smallest act of kindness can contribute to one’s life. A single smile, a genuine and heartfelt laugh, a simple pat on the back and a short praise are what keeps people going.
Yesterday, we are doing a charity work for the homeless just downtown of our city with our partner, IAM Group Ltd. One of my co-volunteers, a young lady from Yokohama, Japan who had also experienced being abused by his step-father back in their country was handing a box of home supplies to a young lady carrying a baby when another volunteer dashed between them as he was playing with some homeless children. They were playing dash when they rushed into the cue of the Japanese volunteer. The volunteer got crossed as the box of supplies tumbled into the ground and spilled its content. The baby on the young woman’s hand started to wail, the Japanese volunteer started to complain, the children started laughing and they had a little chaos in their group. I started to walk towards them when an unexpected happened that stopped me in my tracks.
The young lady with a pale face and wore tattered clothes while carrying the wailing child on her arms started to laugh. I smiled as I hear her heartfelt laughter. The baby seemed almost as surprised as I was that he also stopped crying and stared at her mother instead. The complaining volunteer and the tearful young man who spilled the content of supplies also stopped their rambling to stare at the young mother. It took them a while to start laughing as well.
That was when another volunteer, our pack leader and the representative of IAM Group Limited approached me while shaking his head. Unbelief was written all over his face.
“I never have thought that there will come a time that I would hear laughter from her.” She said, pertaining to the Japanese volunteer. Now that I think of it, I never heard her laughing as well in all the times that we have been together. She was always strict. Always complaining and always mumbling. The Japanese volunteer would just offer a nod or tight conversation but she was never one to smile, much more laughing.
My co-volunteer continued, “After she have been freed from her experience with her step-father, she remained to be aloof to all of us. What do you know? Now, she is someone who can laugh at silly things thanks to that young mother over there.”
I looked at them with a smile to my face and I write today still with that smile. From the simple act of kindness from a homeless young mother even while her box of supplies where scattered in front of her, she had caused the joy suppressing in one’s life out.