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Defining Charitable Work

Updated on January 13, 2018
Evaluate Motives and Goals in order to be Most Effective
Evaluate Motives and Goals in order to be Most Effective | Source

What is Volunteerism and Who are the Beneficiaries?

Reading an article on paying it forward reminded me of a recent incident with a young career-minded relative this year. I’m not exactly sure what the motivation is, but he is involved in a charity organization that reaches out to needy children.

I hope, of course, that his motives are simply to help, and they may very well be, but something doesn’t seem quite balanced with the picture he gave me. I was reminded of the fact that examining our motives can tell us whether we are being as effective as we think are.

Defining our motives can help us evaluate our goals and guide us into a more purposeful relationship with the charity we are involved in. It's important to take stock of our objectives because our involvement has the potential to be more impactful than we realize.

Defining charitable work can help us determine what our involvement really amounts to and it can help us make decisions about whether there is something different or something more that we should do to support the cause we are involved in.

Defining Charitable Work Helps Us Look at Our Motives and Willingness

In listening to my young relative I realized that there was a whining spirit couched in pity for the kids and their families. When I responded to his comments with possible solutions that would require some effort on his part he completely backed up.

He realized that there was indeed something he could at least attempt to do, but he had no desire to continue talking about it if it meant he would have to stop whining and take action on behalf of those particular needy children.

Charity Begins with Reaching Out to Each Other
Charity Begins with Reaching Out to Each Other | Source

This young relative is not a deadbeat. He is well educated, has a prestigious job that pays well, and will probably go very far in his career. Married with no children, his wife has the same blossoming career and social status.

He moves in an enviable social circle that is probably a bit above his ability to truly cope with in a way that will benefit him in the long run. He does not want to believe that he would be dropped in a blink should he not keep up with the status quo.

Being too young to realize that his employers will use him up like a sponge and throw him away at some point in time, he is feeling quite confident in his current position. By all appearances, he is doing very well for the present.

Anyway, his beef was that resources were not available to continue providing something that helped the children socially. I listened as he told of his beautiful home, deep-sea fishing boat, recent trips, and more, but I said nothing about any of that when I replied to his comments about his charitable work.

We live in America and we are still free to do what we wish, even if we have plenty and want to whine that there isn’t enough to go around. You can guess his political leanings, I’m sure, and as well, you can guess that he is too young to foresee the day that those he supports could require all that he has earned in order to ostensibly distribute it to those they deem needy.

How Much More Could We Do if We Gave Some Thought to Defining Charitable Work?

However, I did suggest that with his good looks, charisma, and smarts, he might head a campaign to gather the funds to provide all that the needy children could use in their circumstances. I outlined how simple it would be for one such as he to get the resources for going far beyond the children’s social needs.

Beginning locally, then going nationally, he could stir masses to boycott a few major sports events, a couple of big movies, and some of the mega-bucks concerts of the coming new year. The resulting funds he could garner for charities would be two-fold and large.

The objective would be for those who did not spend their dollars on the events to donate that amount to charities as well as to motivate the entertainers to use some of their outlandish incomes for more responsible purposes.

Random Acts of Kindness can be the Best Kind of Charity:

I tried to explain that with the incomes of entertainers alone needs for the new projects in Target Now’s cancer program, the needs of the Shriner’s burn centers, or needs of shelters for abused children could easily be met, but that they were using their charitable funds to support questionable-at-best issues such as climate control and population control.

Add to the entertainers' donations the donations of people who boycotted a few of their events and we could support stem cell research that did not require the abortion of babies. You should have seen how wide this young man’s eyes grew.

It was not disbelief, but quite the opposite. We were not arguing over social issues that we disagreed on. We weren’t arguing at all, in fact. We were having a very pleasant and mature conversation.

He realized that the solutions I was offering were viable, but also knew that he had to end it there or he was going to find himself in a struggle with the truth. He knew that he could take action, motivate others, really get involved. He also knew what it would require of him, and he was not willing to give it.

He ended it by agreeing, the perfect tactic in such a situation. What I had offered were real possibilities, but he did not indicate that he would consider any of it.

Kids Know About Helping Others:

While I really did wish that he would give my ideas serious consideration, I began to wonder if some sort of social work is a part of the social ascent that fits his career because even though he seems to have a tender heart toward the children, he is not willing to go the extra mile on their behalf regarding the needs he sees.

I was glad that the surreptitious whining stopped. The conversation turned to other family updates and we enjoyed the rest of our visit. I thought of writing a hub on the story of my visit with the young man, but had forgotten it until I came across a post titled Paying It Forward.

The article has good points. We should each do what we can. So, in the spirit of giving, let’s definitely consider what we can do and how far we can go with charitable living. Let’s get busy defining charitable work in our own realm and make this new year a time for paying it forward!

Teaching children how they can give back to their communities helps build them into mature adults. Doing in a fun, interactive manner makes the process easy for both teachers and students alike.

The Giving Book is a tool that allows children to learn at an early age about the possibilities they can embrace as volunteers. To know at as young people that they can make a difference throughout their lives is to know that they can be worthy members of society. Giving them a vision of a life of purpose is truly a gift that keeps on giving.

Better Relationships with Adults--Yes!

Begin Charitable Work with Role Models:

How Do You Define Charity?

Submit a Comment
  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    3 years ago from the short journey

    Johanna Boomsma:

    The paying it forward concept can have political, societal, and personal layers to it that we should consider carefully when we are involved in charity work. Thanks kindly for being interested in this topic and for adding your comment.

  • Johanna Boomsma profile image

    Johanna Boomsma 

    3 years ago from Florida

    The concept of charity (love) work or to "Pay it forward" is one that all people should be taught and part of our outlook in life because we are all in need of it at one time or another and need a hand-up to get "out" of their need. Along with that we need to be taught if the help really is "helping" or "hurting" the beneficiary in the short and long-term; because sometimes "tough" love is in order for the beneficiary not to repeat the same cycle of need and apply the concept to themselves and help themselves (children can & should learn this concept very early).

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from the short journey

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • Complaicency profile image


    9 years ago from Wales, UK

    Fantastic hub. food for thought most deffinately

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from the short journey

    Thanks very much. I hope we can keep it open.

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    And I linked to your Hub from mine, to keep the dialog going.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from the short journey

    Sally, if it's okay with you I would like to leave your comment on and include this address to your superb article so the dialogue here can be enlarged:

    There may be a better way to link it, but I'm still learning...

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    I'd email you privately, but you have that feature disabled. So, I'd be happy if you'd take a look at my Hub on charitable addresses your thoughts here, and I see it as a part of a continuing dialog, especially since your young relative is in the career position and the mind-set he is. (Please delete this comment, since it adds nothing to your Hub.)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from the short journey

    Thank you kindly for your generous comments. It is so important to consider our motivation in what we attempt. Maybe we can help more young people do so.

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    Pay It Forward is a powerful concept, something that can be done in the smallest or the grandest way.

    You gave of yourself in this conversation with your young relative, taking the time and expending the energy to do something for him from your heart.

    As you say, he is young; but I think it won't be long before he sees how your giving to him can be turned into giving to a way that comes from his heart, not in a way that is born out of frustration or obligation.

    Thank you for a wonderful telling.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from the short journey

    Thanks very much for stopping in and commenting.

    Am traveling this week and a quick catch-up on news blips makes me think there's going to be plenty of chances to help others this year.

  • James A Watkins profile image

    James A Watkins 

    9 years ago from Chicago

    I enjoyed your thoughtful Hub today. I hear a lot of moaning about helping people, generally in regard to the government or someone else helping them when the moaner is perfectly capable of making a difference themselves. Yes, let's make 2010 a year of giving of ourselves to others.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from the short journey

    Thank you for stopping by and for commenting. Happy new year to you and yours.

  • Ken R. Abell profile image

    Ken R. Abell 

    9 years ago from ON THE ROAD

    Great Hub. What a powerful real life story. Making 2010 the year that we pay it forward is a wonderful challenge. Peace, blessings & happy new year.


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