article ran on CBC Marketplace and this morning
I read this post over at Huffington and this
article in the Globe and Mail. I am sure it is
all over the web but sadly I am not surprised.
Citizens have become pretty jaded the last 10 years
what with two major recessions, governments that
seem to be ineffective, politicians that seem to
care more about being re-elected and their perks
than assisting constituents. I know this is a broad
brush and there are many within all these
organizations that do have the "right stuff" and
have the best interests of citizens first, but the
perception among citizens seems to be that those
with the citizens best interests are in the minority
and always fighting an uphill battle.
Today many charities are big business. They have
presidents, vice presidents, managers, supervisors,
office complexes, marketing gurus, ad consultants,
publicists, lawyers and well it seems almost
I realize that running a charity is not an easy job
and donations are down during this recession, but
honestly all I need is an ad once a quarter that
says "We spend 90% of your contribution actually
fighting cancer". Or how about "Only 10% of your
contribution goes to running our charity". That's
all I need. I understand that there are always costs
and I know that fund raising is difficult and
important, so why not become realistic and spend the
billions of dollars raised on actually researching
rather than fund raising.
This is why I have annually decreased my charitable
donations to what arguable have become large
businesses. At times I wonder if they might as well
become public companies with shareholders and trade
on stock exchanges.
The bigger problem that I witness every day is
negativity. It is so easy to be negative. I prefer
to take a positive approach. After all I think being
positive is an important part of investing for one
self and in a bigger picture, I think it assists my
overall health and well being.
So what can I as a lone citizen do to still
contribute to the benefit of my society? After all
if no one cares, imagine the world we would live in.
I have figured out that when I give locally I more
often than not, see the actual results. Here are 7
1) I prefer to give to my local schools when
they are in need of books, technology purchases or
such educational supplies. I know when I give them
money they are buying exactly what they have told me
they are in need of. None of that money is being used to
pay the teacher, professor, support workers or principal.
2) I like to give to the
local Teen Challenge as again I know that
when I donate a used vehicle, it is a terrific
assistance to that wonderful organization.
3) My local Church will
indicate clearly if they need money for a wheelchair
to assist a parishioner, food services for a
shut-in, repair to a roof or window.
locally students got together and did a clothing and
utensil drive and donated the clothes and household
products directly to needy families in the area.
5) Every year Christmas in my local community they have
a "Santa" parade asking for gifts for needy families
in my local area. They send a list of the type of
things to consider and I love to help. Again when I
buy a book and donate it I know it is money well
spent and none of it is going to "pay for gas" for
delivering it or for the "time" cost for a volunteer
to sort and hand out the gifts.
6) I have a very large
extended family. When one of my nieces or nephews
graduates I love buying something that says "Good
for you", "Keep it up". I look at it as a charitable
donation that I see the results from.
7) Sometimes my local hospital has a piece of
capital equipment such as an MRI or Dialysis
Equipment that they need. They call or send me a
request indicating exactly the cost and I know I am
giving my money to be used to purchase something
that is badly needed. None of it is going to
administration, who's salary is already being paid
Many charities seem to have lost sight of what the
word "Charity" stands for. I am sure there
are many more charitable organizations and ways in
which we can escape "charitable industries" as I
like to call them. As well many local charities such
as my local School, Hospital, Church, Salvation Army
and Teen Challenge give tax receipts. But when I
donate I am more concerned about how much I have
helped rather than how big is the tax break.
Today in the mail I received address stickers from
one charity, a free notepad from another and a
calendar for next year from yet another charity. I
don't need this so please stop spending charitable
dollars sending junk in the mail. Instead send me a
pledge form that re-assures me that 90% of my money
is going specifically to the intended charitable
work I am sponsoring, otherwise I prefer to continue
giving my hard earned money to local charitable
efforts where I see the difference.
This article is just my opinion and is not intended to