Charity - Is Charitable Giving Ever Wrong?

First Lessons in Learning To Give

Quarters for the church on Sundays.
Quarters for the church on Sundays. | Source

Where Does Charity Begin?

There are some who would say that charitable giving is never wrong because it is a moral responsibility, a form of social contract, to which we are a party solely by being born into the human race.

But just because we are born into this contract does not mean we know how to fulfill it. For that, we become "students of giving", starting in childhood and continuing through life, making progress or falling behind, as we would in any course of study. At some point, we may have to ask ourselves if charitable giving is still right, even though we may have gotten some of the lessons very wrong.

Learning To Give

My first memory of charitable giving was dropping coins in the collection basket at church on Sunday mornings. My mother was very clear about why the coins would go to the church. Handing me the coins she would say, "These are for the children less fortunate than you." At the time, I didn't understand exactly what "less fortunate" meant or how the money would get from the church to the children, but since I did know that the church was always right, I was happy to accept that my coins would eventually be held by a child just like me, only less fortunate. It was the right thing to do, God would bless me for doing it, and that made me feel good. These were valuable early lessons in charitable giving. Not only did I learn that I had a familial and religious responsibility to give to those who needed help, I also learned that giving made me feel good.

As I grew older, the answer to the question "Why give?" became more complex. Certainly, helping others and feeling good about it remained a sufficient answer, but now I could add other reasons for giving, such as the financial savings inherent in personal tax deductions, the business contacts that could be made through social networking, and the skills training that could be gained through volunteering.

When Giving Goes Wrong

Finally, once I became a business owner and discovered the business tax benefits of charitable giving, I found myself asking another question, one I did not like at all, which was, "What's in it for me?"

With this question came the realization that my success-driven life had caused me to lose sight of the moral balance between giving and receiving. I had come to the point where I wasn't giving anything in any meaningful way; rather, I was taking everything I could get.

Sure, I was pumping dollars into the organizations of my choice, but I wasn't feeling good about it. In fact, I was feeling hypocritical. An organization would thank me for my contribution, and I would smile and say, "You are so welcome," but the smile masked my true thoughts which were, "You are thanking me for giving this donation to you, but I am really using my business tax advantage to pad my own pocket."

What was it that I failed to learn about charitable giving that led me down this destructive path? What happened to the child's simple understanding of "It was the right thing to do, God would bless me for doing it, and that made me feel good."?

Righting the Wrong

It was time for me to right this wrong. I began my search for what charitable giving means to me by listening to what others had to say about giving, and I ended by listening to my heart.

Here is what I found.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - Roman Charity
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - Roman Charity

History and Philosophy Bring Insights

We in the 21st century are not the only ones to ponder the reasons for giving. Healers, writers, philosophers, theologians, and artists before us have given this topic much considered thought.

Did you know that in the 12th century Maimonides (Rambam), the Jewish physician and philosopher, proposed an eight-step program of giving called the Ladder of Charity? This program guides a person from the least to the most effective forms of charitable giving. The highest form of giving is Responsibility, which means giving the gift of self-reliance to another. The lowest is Reluctance, which means giving grudgingly.

Clearly, I had arrived at the lowest rung on the ladder when I had asked, "What's in it for me?"

To learn more about Rambam and the Ladder of Charity, you can listen to a fascinating interview with Julie Salamon, author of Rambam's Ladder: A Meditation on Generosity and Why it is Necessary to Give.

"Pay It Forward" Is a Powerful Strategy

Giving grows exponentially when you give and ask nothing for yourself in return, except that the recipient gives as you gave, three times.

One day I was in the grocery check-out and short two dollars for my purchase. A gentleman in line behind me handed the cashier two dollars, turned to me, and said, "It's my pleasure. Please, when someone needs two dollars and you have it, give it to them." Since then, I have given many symbolic two dollars, with the same message to the person who needed it, doing my part to pay it forward.

Corporations Are Not Altruistic, But They Can Set the Stage for Meaningful Giving

The trap I fell into was thinking that my corporate dollars would take care of my giving obligation, while at the same time reducing my tax liability. This "Reluctance" form of giving is not altruism.

However, on the plus side, corporate giving can have a positive trickle-down effect, regardless of any thoughtless intentions.

Consider these potential outcomes of a corporate giving program:

  • The company you work for may have a matching program. If you donate 100 dollars to the organization of your choice, your company will match your contribution. Not bad.
  • Your company may organize volunteer days for the organization of their choice. If you participate, you will be paid as if you were at your desk, but your time and effort will go to a good cause at no dollar expense to you.
  • In some companies, you may volunteer your off-work time to the non-profit organization of your choice, and the company you work for will pay that organization a certain amount for the hours you volunteered.

The moral of this story for me? There is a greater good here. Large corporations can touch many people. If a corporation's giving policy puts their employees out into the community, then the employees, through their own personal philosophies of giving, will make up for the questionable intentions of the corporation.

Celebrity Charitable Giving Can Pack a Wallop

There is much debate over the motives behind celebrities' donating their time, possessions, and money to charitable causes. Are they doing it because their intention is to do the right thing with the right spirit, or are they doing it because it's a great public relations strategy with the ultimate benefits going to themselves? In a way, it doesn't matter, because we tend to follow after them and do the right thing for the causes they espouse. (Here's that trickle-down effect again.)

To get some good insights into this debate, read Al Barger on celebrity giving as he ponders his own charitable giving choices.

Then go to YouTube and search "charity". See what you find, and make your own decision.

Listening to My Heart

As I reflected on what I had learned about the Ladder of Charity, the exponential growth inherent in "Pay It Forward", and the powerful trickle-down effects of corporate- and celebrity-sponsored giving, I traveled back in my memory to resurrect the giving experiences that had meant the most to me. These fondly remembered experiences had two things in common: they involved direct interaction with people, and they were carried out with the genuine desire to make something better than it was, if only in the smallest of ways.

Not one of these remembered experiences was ever given grudgingly, and each was intended to support the quest for self-reliance of a person or an organization. Where writing a corporate check had stuffed my pocket with tax benefits while making me morally bankrupt, connecting directly with others to achieve a greater good had led to personal and spiritual riches.

Where To Go from Here ... Being Present

The non-profit and charitable organizations I chose to support years ago remain my choices today. Now, however, my participation is different. Although I will still make donations of money, goods, and services, as I always have, I have started to take a more active role in volunteering, connecting, interacting-in being present.

Recently I was asked to run a face-painting booth for my favorite non-profit, Special Equestrians, at their Spring Festival. Although I am not a professional face-painter, I agreed, as long as I could have two volunteers work with me. Neither of the volunteers had ever painted faces, or any body parts for that matter, so they took a few moments to practice on each other using the designs and stencils I had brought with me. Through each design, through each stroke of the brush, their confidence grew and their skills improved. Soon, they were watching their work parade all around the fair, as painted customers walked from one booth to another. At the end of the day, one of the volunteers was struck with a thought...Why not take this newly-learned skill, on behalf of Special Equestrians, to a township fair being held the following month? It would be an opportunity to generate some money for Special Equestrians, but it would also be an opportunity to provide community awareness of the organization's programs and facilities.

I was thrilled to have played a part in giving two volunteers not only a new and useful skill, but an experience that they will be "Paying Forward" on behalf of their organization.

In being present, I no longer begrudge my giving. In being present, I no longer ask, "What's in it for me?"

If you question motivations for giving, whether those motivations belong to you or someone else, you are not alone. For a look into the process that led Hubber RTalloni to a personal philosophy of and commitment to giving, read The Definition of Charitable Work.


A note about this Hub: Although this Hub was begun as an answer to ProCW's request, it quickly morphed into a personal introspection once I read Solarya's considered response. Solarya included many of the points and resources I would have as well, and I saw no point in duplicating her content or approach. Thank you, ProCW and Solarya, for setting me off down the trail I chose to follow.

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Comments 87 comments

FlyingPanther profile image

FlyingPanther 8 years ago from here today gone tomorrow!!

Sally Amazing hub again as always you rock woman.. By the way im still waiting for you email , wink!! Lovw always.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

FlyingPanther, it means a great deal to me that you read these hubs. One day, I hope that you will write here, too. Always, S.

annemaeve profile image

annemaeve 8 years ago from Philly Burbs

Sal, baby... YOU DO ROCK! I have chills just thinking about how deep you went into your thoughts to pull this hub out - and I'm so happy that you're sharing what you found. I love the idea that giving coins as a child can grow, as the child becomes an adult, into a soul-searching adventure.

Any non-profit that had you on their side would be lucky, and the gang at Special Equestrians had a better day at the Spring Festival because you were there. I'm diving back into your hub now, to check out all the links you provided.

Keep rockin', lady.

jacobworld profile image

jacobworld 8 years ago from Ireland

its a nice piece mate. Charity is just a name in a moder world. It has nothing to do with altruism

pgrundy 8 years ago

Nice hub, thank you! It's good to give money, but lots of people forget that just offering themselves cna be powerful. Sometimes giving money is just a way to make oneself feel better, but if you actually suit up and show up amazing things can happen that make you feel more like the recipient sometimes.

But honestly, even money given to the right cause for the wrong reasons is not so terrible. Some causes need money so badly, I think it scarcely matters why people give to them, so long as they do.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

annemaeve, thank you so much for your good words. Indeed, it did become a soul-searching adventure. I hope you enjoyed following the links...many people more thoughtful than I have given a great deal of attention to this subject. SE rocks and so do you!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

jacobworld, I was very intrigued by your comment, so I scouted out these definitions:

altruism: selfless concern for the welfare of others

charity: the practice of benevolent givings, a Christian virtue, a name

I agree with you that charity and altruism are not synonymous. One can practice charity without being altruistic. But can one be altruistic and not practice charity?

Thanks for the food for thought.

Regards, S.

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago


My experience with giving also started with the church.  Once I became an adult, married with a family of my own, my giving took the form of helping friends/family members by allowing them a place to stay in their time of need. 

This stems from my dear mom, who always had her door open to anyone who needed food, money, or shelter.  She allowed my friend in highschool to live with us for our senior year, as she was having a difficult time at home.  It extended to her dear friend with three children, to my friends moving back to NJ with no place to go, to my hubby and I and our two kids for the transition from an apartment to a first house,,,the list goes on and on.

I also donate blood. So for me, giving has always come from the heart, whether it was for my love of animals or people.

Wonderful hub,

love, Patty   

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

Oh this was a wonderful, satisfying read--and only partly because I agree with so much of what you say:-) You write so well, and you brought so much meaty interesting information as well as your personal experience into this. Thank you ST for yet another great hub.

As I read I kept thinking of the parable in the bible of the "widow's mite" Giving of self vs. giving of money--paying it forward--the ladder of charity. You've given me a lot to chew on.

One place on the internet that I think is wonderful is -- the internet makes giving ( or in this case loaning) possible in really innovative ways and those of us in the first world can feel like we are being really useful to people in the third on a one to one level. Go have a look:

G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

Wonderfully done my dear...And am not surprised that the lower income people give more...As we/they know what if feels like to need...not just want...and is so true in our dailey lifes and our thoughts and in our hearts. People are good.....Thank you for a great Hub and Bless you...G-Ma :o) hugs

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Pam, I really liked what you said about *suit up and show up*.  You are so right.  When you are present, YOU often feel like someone has just done something wonderful and meaningful for you.

I also agree that, from the point of view of the recipient (whether that be a foundation, charity, non-profit, or individual), it does not matter a hoot what the giving motivation was, so long as the money is there.  If I were a non-profit administrator, I'd never turn money down only because someone wanted a tax deduction.  And I am glad that the deduction benefit is there, because I'm sure there would be a lot less giving if it weren't.

Maybe I've been looking at the *Ghost of Christmas / Giving Yet To Come* lately.  In the looking, I am finding that my intentions about giving have been wrong for a long time.  Remember that saying, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions?  So I can imagine, when the time comes, meeting St. Peter at the pearly gates and his saying to me, *Well, you sure did give a lot of money away, but where was your heart when you did?*  (Mind you, he'd have a long list of other things to ask me about, but hey, I have to start somewhere!) Then I can imagine being sent to purgatory for a while, or worse.

Thanks always for your insightful comments. 

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Trish, that church collection plate played a big role in our young lives, didn't it? I remember going with you to your church as a kid, but I don't remember if you went to mine. When I went to yours, I know I had coins in my little purse for the collection.

Just like your mother's, your giving has always been from the heart. I know this. And I know when St. Peter meets you, your intentions about giving will not be on his list! (Will it be St. Peter, or another heavenly delegate? I'm not sure what your church says on this subject.)

Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, and for catching my typo.

Always, S.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Robie, thank you so much for commenting.  As always, you get right to some meaty issues yourself!  In reference to your comment above, meaty as in *something to chew on.*

Do our brains need to chew like our bodies do?  What about our spiritual hearts?  When nourishment is presented to them, do they have to break it down (chew) in order to pass it on to wherever it needs to go to be of use?  I think so, except for the spiritual heart, perhaps.  Present me with a big pizza with the works, and I'm going to chew my head off to break it down.  Present me with a big idea, and I'm going to take it apart in order to make sense of it.  Present me with an illuminating vision, a moment of spiritual enlightenment, a cry for help in the darkness, well I hope my heart doesn't have to do any chewing over that.  I hope instead it simply accepts and responds. 

This line of thinking brings to mind the *chicken soup* phenomenon.  Chicken soup is much more than chicken soup.

I did not know about, although I did know about micro-lending.  Thank you so much for bringing this program to the attention of HP...I am off at this moment to make a formal request for a Hub on the topic.

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

Wonderful information, do we give from the heart? I loved that movie "Pay it Forward" where the young boy takes on a school assignment and came up with an idea to help fix people by doing 3 acts of kindness a day and asking them to pass it forward. A movie straight from the heart. Great Hub.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

G-Ma, I am so glad to hear your words.  This may sound odd, but I've been thinking about you for a long while.  I haven't been on HP much, and I said to myself today, I'm going to see what she's up to.  And then, here you are!

Yes, people are good.  Much more good than they are bad.  And there are many more good folks than bad ones (with some tragic exceptions). 

That video is pretty provoking.  What it says to me is that people would give more if they had been in the shoes of those who need.

Well said, G-Ma.  Thank you so much for your heart-felt comments.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Dottie, I never saw the movie. I learned about Pay It Forward from a wonderful volunteer at Special Equestrians, who, when she did something for me and I said, what can I do for you, her response was, *Just pay it forward*. At the time, I didn't know what she meant.

Thanks so much for your comments. I will think about you and this special volunteer when I watch this movie.

proudgrandpa profile image

proudgrandpa 8 years ago from Charlotte, NC

I see, by the comments on this hub, that you have used your gifts of compassion and sensitivity to good advantage and reminded us of ourselves once again. I agree that you ROCK.

The late great Earl Nightengale once said "True magic happens when what we love to do benefits others". That is where I try to point my sharing and caring.

I also think we need to be a little gentle with ourselves as we analize our charity. Pure motives are hard to come by. NEIL

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Neil, YOU rock.

We do need to be gentle with ourselves, but we also need to take a hard look now and again.

I don't think that any of us has pure motives. God is pure. And by virtue of our not being God, we can never be pure.

I had a profound experience years ago when a chaplain visited me and shared her long-time experience with Navajo belief. She told me, in my time of need, that the Navajo do not seek perfection, in fact, in their art, there is always an imperfection deliberately induced, because only the Spirit is perfect, and to try to attain that perfection as a human is folly and, ultimately, a disrespect for the Spirit that gave birth to us and watches over us.

For all of you who read these comments, this is my memory. If I wrote into my memory something that is not true about the Navajo belief, please let us all know. But what this chaplain said to me gave me the strength to go forward.

Neil, I know that your heart and soul direct your sharing and caring...that's what I've loved about your presence here since you wrote your first Hub.

I don't know Earl Nightengale, but I will be sure to find that knowledge.

The best to you and yours, Proud Grandpa.

viralprospector profile image

viralprospector 8 years ago from DFW Texas


Great hub... First, it is a very important topic, and it is also very rich in imagery.

I love your opening with your days of selfless giving to the church. It is great that you remember how confident you were that the church used that donation for the poor. You trusted your Mom that that was true.

The idea that the highest level of giving is to give another the ability to achieve self reliance is one of the most true statements of all in the nonprofit sector. Many give and never try to discover whether that in fact happens. What a shame...

In decades of nonprofit management, I know that giving a hand out is rarely effective. However, giving a hand up is a crucial role we play. It is a very fine line, but let me say that the charity must know the difference and try to achieve it. Donors need to ask and be sure they know how the nonprofit looks at this. The problems of society are not fixed by tossing a few crumbs down for the poor.

The nonprofit sector is in shambles. Eighty-five percent of all nonprofits fold within five years, and seventy-five percent of all executive directors want another job. Funding is a huge problem, and it is exacerbated by the economy.

I wish I felt today that churches were handling their tithes through sufficient giving to the poor, like you so wonderfully recall. I don't, though. It bears out against my experience that the movie above is right on. A lot of others have the same feeling that their giving is hollow. However, instead of blaming you, I blame the nonprofits and particularly churches for not having a clear mission for their giving that you can really buy into. I think that everyone is pretty skeptical of the current system, seeing how much suffering and need there is all around us. Yet, we all know that a lot of money is funneled in that direction, between our taxes, tithes and contributions. The initiative to help is so disjointed that it often seems just like an afterthought.

I encourage people I know to be sure that their donations are going to really help people improve their lives, not just get a free meal. My answer is to form community centers, and yes, I do wish they were the churches. That way, it would be possible to really deal with the individual problems in totality.

Thank you for this hub. I hope you keep it up!

terenceyap07 profile image

terenceyap07 8 years ago from Singapore

Dear Sally,

This is truly a complete article. Very, very well written and a good reminder of what charity really means. May blessings never cease to find their way to you.

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

Sally  you touched the heart of giving -- when you give from the heart, you receive the most even if it's not your motivation.  You discussed that sincerely and I learned a lot from your prespective.

We knew many people in foster care for the wrong reasons, and thankfully, the giving is so deep and difficult...they normally can't stay long, but o the damage they do while they're there.  They DO give foster care a bad name.

Foster care was a deep give for us...and it took about as much or more from us than we got, it's that kind of giving. 

You made me feel better for the years we we asked ourselves "Why" many many times...but lasted 18+ years-- way over the burn out time.  I think true giving is the giving that's not easy.  You know?  For some, it might be easy to give's harder to show up and do the activity -- to participate physically with giving of the time that is so scarce for most.

"Since then, I have given many symbolic two dollars, with the same message to the person who needed it."

I LOVE the Pay IT Forward philosophy, Lynn is the greatest giver in that way -- always helping others with money time and car repair...hoping they pass it on.

"These were valuable early lessons in charitable giving. Not only did I learn that I had a familial and religious responsibility to give to those who needed help, I also learned that giving made me feel good." 

I believe giving should be taught to young kids,  we found it takes their mind off themselves, and teaches gratitude...our kids helped at the food bank, where as foster parents, we often got extra food.  It was a great way for the foster kids and our own to give back to a place that helped them. 

I'll never forget the look on all the little faces, when they took food to the needy.

Great memories, and it re-newed my desire to help...thanks Sally.  That's truly where we find happiness and self-worth. 

Why are we here?   Your hub answers that question!!

Beautifully done, I love ya!  

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

viralprospector, thank you for taking the time to make your thoughtful comments about the state of giving today.

I agree that donors need to educate themselves about the practices and strategies of the organizations they want to support. And I will add that inherent in Responsible giving, the giving that fosters self-reliance, is the duty to choose the recipients of your donations so that you satisfy for yourself that your giving is not hollow, or worse, wasted. I don't know a better way of doing that than by getting involved personally in the non-profit or charity that interests you most.

It is also wise to research the organization's distribution of its funds across administrative, fundraising, and program expenses. An excellent resource for starting out on this research is (The link above in my hub, Five Charity Myths Dispelled, is to this independent charity evaluation site.)

Thanks for bringing these issues forward. I think this is a topic for another hub!

Best regards, S.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

terenceyap07, thank you so much for your kind words. When I started to write this hub, I wasn't thinking about what charity means, I was on another path altogether. But as I researched the benefits of donating, I found many inspiring writings that eventually led me to question my notions about giving. I am happy to have gone through this self-introspection and to hear you acknowledge its worth.

Best regards, Sally

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Dear Marisue,

Where do I even begin when it comes to telling you how much I enjoy and appreciate your comments, not just on my hubs, but on everyone's? You always add information and encouragement, and you often inspire as well.

And now you have me thinking about foster care, because of your forthright comments above. I have never been involved in any way with foster care, and what I know about the business of it can safely fit on a pin head. So now I am inspired to go off and do the thing I love almost best -- research. Who knows where it will take me? All I know for now is that I am going to start by looking at the subject from a charitable giving perspective, thanks to your sharing your thoughts.

I was also taken about your comment * re-newed my desire to help.* Julie Salamon (in the radio interview you can link to from this hub) talks about feeling generous one day, but possibly not another day, even when the recipient of your giving remains the same. She says that flip-flop happens to all of us at one time or another. I think you will find that interview very enlightening.

Once again, Marisue, thank you so much for your ever-thoughtful comments.

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

Here are some things to add to your research...sometimes state foster care as well as private, have donation rooms where they take in new personal care items to give to those going into placement. Some organizations assemble goody bags for kids because most kids carry their things in trash bags. Other items would include Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, gift cards, and always computers and electronics.

If anyone spends time with a foster child, they must pass the approval tests for regular visits, it is a much needed gift. Some states hire transporters that take kids to and from visits, or Dr visits.

I should do a hub about foster care, maybe? LOL

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Marisue, you are always thinking, and you are also much more likely to act quickly on anything than I am. ;)

YES! You should do a hub on foster care. And maybe we can even collaborate on another one down the road.

This may be off the point of this hub, but about collaboration, have you seen ripplemaker's yoga hub with photos by dayzeebee?

Check it out! And now I see that I'm not off the point at all...what is the relationship between professional collaboration and Responsible charitable giving?

So much to learn, so little time. I think I need a nap now.

desert blondie profile image

desert blondie 8 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

I haven't the talent to state any more fully than those comments already here re: how moving and wonderful this hub is...but please, include me on the long list of those who admire you!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

desert blondie, thank you so much for your heart-felt comment.

Please do the same for me...include me on the long list of those who admire you!

Your fan, S.

MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney

One of the many treasures I take from the bible is the two pennies the widow gave. Christ said "She gave her all."

Yesterday Val and I were invited to lunch with eight others.

One of the knowledgeable men at this lunch made the comment, how much all these international Charitable Organizations skim off the top.

He told us that the World's recognized best grace up only 12% of their total income to the Charity intended for. I must say I was totally astounded. Meaning they gave 12% to whoever and kept 88% for themselves.

The people at the top must have marvelous lunches.

I could believe that they could rob the poor old widow quick enough to fill their coffers. What is 12% of 2 pennies, if those organizations were around in the days of Christ.

Thanks for a great hub

Koisimy Rudolph 8 years ago

It all sound good!

Giving is an element of our humanity. I teach at the College of Micronesia in the Pacific Island areas. I have the joy of recruiting college students to get involve in building homes for low income families in the community. These students represent a diverse ethnic group of Micronesians. They went into communities of people with different language and cultures to help build homes.

On a Saturday morning, we had a devotion that reflected on the parable of the Good Samaritan. The name of our non profit housing organization came out of the devotional thought on the parable of the Good Samaritan. I am in the process of building this website but you are welcome to take a peep. httP://

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

MrMarmalade, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience. As always, we learn from you.

Indeed, I am no expert in charitable funds allocations, but I do know there are injustices in that business as there are in any. That's why it's so important to research the charity of your choice, and to get involved with it as well before making a long-term commitment.

Yes, it is true that those who have the least give the most, and so thank you for the reminder about the widow's two pennies.

Best regards, S.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Dear Koisimy Rudolph,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic as well as for sharing the "sneak preview" of the website you are developing for Good Samaritan Housing. I very much admire the work you are doing.

I had the pleasure many years ago to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity through a giving program at the company I worked for at the time. It was a back-breaking day where I learned to lay bricks! One of the things that really stands out in my memory is the talent that was present. Engineers, carpenters, masons, electricians, and architects, all volunteers, patiently taught us unskilled volunteers how to demolish a roof, lay bricks, install appliances, and more. It was a day of learning as well as a day of giving. At the end of the day, we could look back on our labor and see the stunning progress we made toward helping a family own a beautiful home.

I wish your organization well, and look forward to visiting your website as you continue to grow.

Best regards, Sally

Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

I can't begin to name and number the people who have done things to help me get ahead in the world. I have always tried to emulate them by remembering that I may have the moment or the coin that helps someone else get through another day.

J.K. Rowling was a destitute mom until she finally wrote Harry Potter. Now she is wealthy, and from what I understand, she hasn't forgotten her past. I have read that she helps others because someone helped her.

Carol Burnett is also like that - she was given a lot of help and she pays it forward every day.

So to the teachers, family, friends and strangers I have never met, thanks!

Great hub.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Carol Burnett is my heroine in so many ways, and this is one of them.  Likewise, J.K. Rowling.

Our lives are changed forever when, in a dark hour of need, someone we don't know offers us a simple kindness, whether that kindness is money, time, a connection to someone who can help us, or any of the other things this gift can be.  With remembrance of that deed, we will pay it forward.

TY, Chef Jeff for sharing your thoughts and the poetic, heart-warming quote from Corinthians.  We can all do well by taking that passage and its meaning to heart.

Best regards, S.

In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California


May I add that you do ROCK! This was an awesome Hub about charitable giving. I think the final rung on the ladder coincides with pure Charity, or the pure love of Christ. Well for me it does anyway... I hope you don't mind that I thought out loud! lol Thanks for this awesome reminder that motives do matter!

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Doghouse, thank you so much for the good words.

The beauty of the writings of a person who examines the self and approaches life with both generosity and humility is that reading their thoughts leads us to recall others who profess the same. It is no wonder that the charity characterized by Responsibility speaks to others of the pure love of Christ.

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome!

CheryleJ profile image

CheryleJ 8 years ago from NEW JERSEY

I really enjoyed this hub article. Great! I'm a fan now. Thanks for sharing.

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

CheryleJ, thank you so much for reading and commenting. And thank you for becoming my fan.

Best regards, S.

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cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

Great Hub, I also find the same thing, whenever I give charity I never expect anything from them, but I find God gives me things indirectly just when I need something. So it has been real helpful. I donate money to charity, we give short term loans to poor people and don't charge them any interest, they give back money usually in three to six months. We use the same money and donate it to another one, so it is a great cycle to donate. :)

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

cgull, I am so glad you commented on this Hub about Kiva. I put out a request on HubPages a couple of weeks ago looking for info about mirco-lending and specifically Kiva. Here's the response, and it's a wonderful Hub from someone who shares your experience...

I believe with you that if you do things for others from your heart, your heart will be replenished many times over. Thank you so much for your comments.

Warmest regards, Sally.

hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 8 years ago from Oregon, USA

Awesome and provoking introspection on giving. When I give $$ I don't really think about the tax benefit, I just note it and throw it in the file for that, no sense in not taking it or feeling guilty about it. I sure as hell don't want to give any more than I have to to the government because I definitely don't like what they're doing. What I do try to do is hit organizations that really do help people, and not just go through the motions. We have been involved with Childreach for decades--I like orgs that can SHOW progreass in terms of real people, and can show a low overhead, so the high percentage goes where you want it to. I think people who can should give of themselves as well, like actually do work instead of just give money. It keeps it real. Even Americans who are struggling should still give something, it makes you thankful for what you got.

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

I agree with you about "hitting" organizations that really do help people, and not just go through the motions.  Many people don't know how, or don't take the time to evaluate an organization before making a donation.  The steps to take in order to evaluate a charity or non-profit aren't all that complicated, but it does take a little work.  As I was researching this Hub, I learned quite a bit about evaluation, but that would be another Hub. 

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments and good words.

Regards, Sally.

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

Hi Sally: I'm catching up on some reading which means, of course, here I am again reading more of your fine work. Just for starters, I love "Pay It Forward". It gives me a good feeling everytime I see it.

As many have mentioned already (and I concur), my most satisfying experiences of giving have had very little (or not at all) to do with money with money. In New York, volunteers at the post office would collect all the letters to Santa Clause, organize them into a bin, and people could come and pick out a letter or two and "answer" them. These kids would be asking Santa for clothes, winter coats, school supplies, etc., and they could break your heart. I would always "adopt" a couple of kids for Xmas and shop for them and mail all the goodies to them anonymously. I remember one little girl asked for neccessities, but added at the bottom of the letter as an afterthought, "and oh yea, I want a pony!" I just happened to have won a rather spectacular large stuffed pony at Coney Island a couple of weeks before, so into the box it went. After all, she didn't say a real pony. That'll teach her to be unspecific! But all kidding aside, nothing ever made me feel as good as those experiences every year. It took some effort, but not so much money.

Thanks for the hub and the thought-provoking insight and questions. As always, superior work. Thank you. I do adore you, you know.

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

Charity isn't just writing a check or giving some donation. If the mere act leads to corruption (There are many NGO's who show fancy ads but endup filling their own pockets with little or no accountability) Therefore any act of kindness, courtesy shown to others with our time, effort and emotions should also be considered as a charitable act and accordingly merited.

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

What a beautiful story, Christoph. Any time I hear something like this, where a person steps in with time and effort instead of just a check, it warms my heart. I believe you participated in Operation Santa Claus?

Here's the link, Hubbers, in case you don't know about Operation Santa Claus, so you all can learn how Christoph and thousands upon thousands of other caring and giving people bring Santa to those in need:

P.S. I am delighted to be on your *adored* list. I would absolutely hate it if I weren't. :)

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Countrywomen, you are so right. Just because an organization calls itself a charity, doesn't mean it isn't skimming off the top first. That's why it's so important to know as much as you can about the organization you want to support.

Yes, a helping hand or a simple courtesy, no matter how small, no matter how spontaneous, when arising from the heart is indeed an act of giving and should be merited as such.

Thanks so much for your always thoughtful and insightful comments!

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

Wow, Sally. I had no idea that it had grown so much. When I did it, it was a bootstrap type of operation. I often thought about trying to bring it here and am shocked to find that it is here and everywhere. I have never heard of it locally, so I think I have my Christmas project! Get some publicity for this program! Thanks so much for pointing this out to me.

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Christoph, here's where I tip MY hat to YOU...I can't think of a better person to get this program going in your community (if it isn't already), and publicize its value. This is the perfect time of year to kick off a campaign!

I also think HP is the kind of community that would take an avid interest in learning about Operation Santa Claus, especially from someone who's been a participant. You know I will be first in line to read your fabulous Hub about it. ;)

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

I want to relive the wonderful world of Santa which unfortunately was broken to me by friend when he said that it's his papa who was playing the part. The world wasn't the same I want to go back to the world when I was 7 and still believed in Santa. I was overjoyed to receive my favorite comics (actually each parent gives to santa before hand their kids gift in india)

Those wonderful bedtime stories of fairy, cinderala, sleeping beauty I still relish. Oops I got to get back to being a 25 year old (It isn't fair....)

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Me too, contrywomen. For me, seven years old was a long, long time ago. I think my daughter enjoyed being seven with Santa, and now I think she longs for those years herself.

Do you know, *Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus*? You can find it here...

I read this historical account every year, just to make sure I still believe, and the children in my life do, too.

Warmest regards, Sally.

Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

Wonderful hub - yes, charity from the heart as we were taught when we were young so easily grows to charity on the balance sheets! And then a hub comes along to make you think about why you need to feel as well - so thanks!

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Charity from the heart = charity on the balance sheets...What a great way to look at it, Shalini.

Thanks so much for your kind words and wonderful contribution!

nwunderlich profile image

nwunderlich 8 years ago from Sacramento

I think this is a great hub. It is fabulous about why to give and how things go wrong -a nd so many people don't recognize when they go wrong giving to charity.

I love giving to charities. I give to ones I think I can help. I don't try to give a lot, but what I can give I do. When I have outdated stuff at my house, I call a charity and find out if they can use it. When I get tired of old books, I call a book donation place that takes books to elderly homes and they get the books. If crayons are on sale at WalMart, I might pick up a few more boxes than I need and send them to a school which can use them. Charity is great- it can give you a sense of making a difference.

But I would add a warning - be careful of call-up and mailer campaigns. A lot of that money goes back to the company running the campaign and not the charity. Best way to give to charity is through their website - or sending a direct check.

Great hub!

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA


Thanks, I will forward that link to my friend in DC. I am from Seattle, Washington state... hehe

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

That's a good warning, Natasha. And it goes hand-in-hand with never giving your credit card information out over the phone or mailing it to a business you don't already deal with.

Non-profits and charities often have wish lists, and when we phone an organization to find out if they can use what we have, we can ask them for a copy of their wish lists, too. They may be needing things we never thought of, things that we just might have at hand.

Thanks for adding the excellent advice!

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi Sally, I am taking this time to reflect about giving after I read your hub. I too have been a recipient of kindness from numerous persons (some close to me, others are strangers) through out my life. This solidifies my belief that I am now willing and open to accept all the financial blessings that life has to offer because I am quite clear on what I can do to help others find their way too.

P.S. Daisy and I had loads of fun doing the photo shoot for my yoga hub. Thanks for the link. That was sweet of you.

2patricias profile image

2patricias 8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

In the past few weeks the news seems to be full of articles about 'greed gone wrong'. So refreshing to read a well written article about the opposite of greed! Thanks.

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Michelle, there is no giving without receiving, and the other way around. The beauty of it is that there is a balance. And when the balance is infused with the heart, then it is as close to perfect as it can be.

The yoga Hub is awesome. If I could shout about it from the rooftops, I would!


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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

2patricias, thank you for sharing your timely observation. There is a lot about greed in the news these days, and greed always goes wrong! I wish those who are so strongly out there for themselves would take just a tiny moment to put themselves in someone else's shoes. The world would be a better place.

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

Hi, Sally. Don't get up. I just stopped by to get that link for Operation Santa Claus (I couldn't remember the name). I knew it came up on one of your hubs, so I have been roaming from hub to hub looking for it. Hope you are having a nice day! Chris

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Hey, Chris...Always happy to have you roaming around my Hubs. :)

I'm hoping that if you get involved with OSC, you'll be writing a Hub about it. I think it can use all the PR it can get. Plus, that would be really cool to have your perspective about it now, in addition to the thoughts you wrote about your experiences then.

Very easy for me to delegate (it's what I'm best at!).  And a good day to you, too.

ajcor profile image

ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

Really appreciated your hub Sally's Trove, it is a good feeling to give and know that you are helping someone else with the basics like eating, drinking, having a roof over one's head, get medial assistance, become literate and even if your gift is small " every mickle makes a muckle" I also grew up as you did putting my coins onto the plate. My husband is a minister and we do have the opportunity to help people on a face to face basis which is good. I also believe in the pyhsical hands on approach - the giving of time. Thank- you for your wise words. Here we also have a yearly gift giving operation for children in less fortunate circumstances called "Operation Shoebox" and millions of boxes are collected from all over the world and transported across the waters, collected from wharves and then driven up into the hinterlands of the various nations (Indonesia, PNG, Vietnam etc) to villages where they are distributed to the children. The whole idea is fantastic and people give brilliantly. Have included the link for you.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

ajcor, thank you so much for your good words and for the link. I learned about Operation Shoebox only recently, and I am glad to hear your experiences about it.

I never heard *every mickle makes a muckle* before. Are you a Scott by family heritage? Or maybe this expression has a solid life in Australia? I love it, and researched it before I wrote this note back to you. Thanks so much for educating an American!

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

There's one percolatin' in my brain right now. I've been to their website and have found some good information. Thanks!

Hey! That sounds like a bluegrass song:

It just might be in vain / and it's drivin' me insaaane / but that girl's perc-oh-late-'n my braaaaayn.

ajcor profile image

ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

Thanks Sally's Trove ; *every mickle makes a muckle* is definitely a scottish saying - it's a beauty isn't it? my husband's father was a scot and he used to say "there are only two types of people in this world - those who are scottish and those who wish they were!" My two great-grandmothers were scots who both married Irishmen while on my father's side I am proud to say I am a first fleeter - English heritage. Of course we have lots of Irish in us also. Our background is so similar to yours. cheers.

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Christoph, you are a man of many talents. It does not surprise me that a simple word like *percolatin* would trip you off into a special expression. You go girl! Oops, I mean, guy.

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Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

ajcor, I married an American Scott, but my birth heritage is Polish and English. Oh, my, my. Let's leave that for another day, and rejoice in the message which is *every mickle makes a muckle*.

Thanks so much for your comments here. I hope readers will follow this comments thread to do the right thing.

Your fan, Sally

Steve Yakoban 7 years ago

Really meaningful post and great lessons to live by.

Our company has really tried to push the limits on selfless giving and I'll make sure we add some of these thoughts to our thinking.

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Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Steve, I'm glad you found this article and thus were able to share your company's website here at HubPages. The SPIA Gives and Gives! program really does make great sense. I'm glad the ideas presented here may help your company push the limits on giving even further.

Best regards, Sherri.

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

What a wonderfully rich article you have here! I'm looking forward to retuning to it as a resource and making time to read the comments. Thank you for helping me find this! May I link it on my hub?

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Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

I had a feeling that you and I would connect on this topic. By all means, please do link to this Hub. Thank you very much!

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Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

This was a wonderful well written article. You explained very well how you came to that place of evaluating giving. It's easy to write the check and put it in the plate at church or send it to some charitable association. Giving of yourself takes things to a whole new level and I don't think you can be a giver and not be altruistic. I think giving of your time when its inconvenient or helping someone that needs help but hasn't asked are higher levels of giving. The rewards of giving are great. Thanks for a great hub.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Yes, it is easy to write the check, and even easier to have charitable deductions come out of your paycheck automatically through a program like United Way. But when you do that, how far removed are you from the need that is there and the engagement that you can make that would make giving more meaningful, more effective, more poignant to you as a person?

Like fast foods at drive-in windows where we bark an order and get a quick fix, sometimes we get our obligatory contributions satisfied by signing on the dotted line. Is that enough?

Thank you for your thoughtful comments about higher giving. You are absolutely on target.

Ambition398 profile image

Ambition398 6 years ago

In a nutshell, we do have the responsibility for checking out the organizations that we donate to and make sure they are on the up and up, yes. Blindly supporting negative causes and then citing 'ignorance is bliss' doesn't make the cut. Nazi is one example of such a cause gone astray.

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Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Ambition398, thank you for reading and adding your thoughts to this topic.

Ipeoney profile image

Ipeoney 6 years ago from USA

Nice hub about giving. For me i would help family first.

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Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

TY, Ipeony, for reading and commenting.

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Guess you struck a chord! Lots of fascinating comments to your very thoughtful hub. Thank you!

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Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

TY for commenting. This is an old hub, but its message is the same today as it was then.

Robert Strobel 5 years ago


I found this article a wonderful inspiration of hope in trying times, and have used parts of your ideas in my own blog. Hope you don't mind.

Have a read and please let me know if this is ok and what you think.



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Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Robert Strobel, far from minding, I am honored that you recognized my hub as a part of your thoughtful reflections on fund raising. Thank you very much. ~Sherri

sweetguide profile image

sweetguide 4 years ago from River side

Very informative piece and well written too. Excellent.

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Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Thank you, sweetguide!

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

This is very well said - I too question my own motives sometimes, but in the end, it isn't the motivation as the actual act of giving that matters. Whether I do it for a tax deduction, or because I am a kindhearted person, the charity still has my money to do good with it. Once I let go of the rules (I can't benefit at all if it is really giving), I found more pleasure in giving, and was able to do more, and surprisingly I did give more just for the joy of giving. I am linking your hub to mine.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Well said, Millionaire Tips. Glad we have this handshake.

zionsphere profile image

zionsphere 4 years ago from Oregon

Amazing article. I completely agree that the motive behind giving is extremely important. Paying it forward has also been one of my motivators for giving.

I like that you mentioned direct contact with your recipients. Monetary giving is a wonderful selfless act, but you are right that it can become the lowest form when done begrudgingly.

I have learned to fall back on the rule that any action taken useless unless love it involved. This opens up many other forms of giving, which in the end can mean so much more than some spare change.

Again...wonderful hub!

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Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

zionsphere, thank you for your thoughtful, affirming comment.

I very much like what you say about any action being useless unless love is involved. I never thought about my actions (or anyone else's) in quite that way. You've given me a lot to think about. :)

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