Joy of Giving: Charities that Make Philanthropy Fun
Giving to charity can be a rewarding experience in and of itself. Some charities have made giving even more satisfying by allowing donors to choose exactly what items their donations will provide. For example, some charities allow donors to choose whether to supply a poor family in an impoverished region with fruit trees or sewing supplies. During the drudgery of working and paying bills, people can lose their joy in daily routines that seem to lack real purpose. The joy of giving can make life more meaningful and offer new goals and vision that warm the heart.
There are numerous charities that truly do good work locally, nationally, and internationally. Giving can be most meaningful and increase a person's sense of purpose if the aims of the charity match the values of the donor. Helping the poor, supporting the arts, disaster relief, and health services and research are just a few of the areas in which charities strive to make a difference.
Here are a few examples of charities that give donors clear choices in how the money is spent:
Formally Christian Children's Fund, ChildFund International has a long history of allowing donors to sponsor a child. While this is still an option for giving, other opportunities are available to those who want to provide a specific item to those in need. Instead of providing a meal, donors now can provide ways families can have ongoing benefits. People can choose to donate money for a chicken farm, seeds, a stove, or books among other items in the Gift Catalog.
Gospel for Asia
Gospel for Asia started with a sponsorship model. Donors would sponsor a missionary in Asia. Like ChildFund International, Gospel for Asia has expanded to include a gift catalog of specific items. While some of the catalog items are related to missions such as Bibles and radio outreach, other items include blankets, tools to help people provide for their families, sources of clean water, and sewing machines. Gospel for Asia encourages individual donors to consider a fundraising event by doing something they love to raise money for a specific donation such as a water well.
Donors can give money towards a variety of farm animals and other agricultural support through Heifer International. People also can help provide the means for a family to start a small business. One principle that is unique to Heifer International is the passing on of the gift to others in the community. When a family receives a heifer from the charity, they are expected to give the firstborn female calf to another family in the community.
Whatever charity a person chooses, I suggest doing a little research into the financial responsibility of the charity. Charities needs to use a portion of the contributions for expenses related to running the charity. Several websites provide information about different charities and the percentage of funds that goes towards administrative costs compared to how much money actually reaches the people in need. The charity's website also may provide helpful information in judging how efficient the charity is.
The examples of charities that I have selected demonstrate how a charity can increase the donor's sense of involvement and purpose. Please feel free to comment and share your favorite charities and how they give you a sense of joy.