Charities are everywhere, in your emails or even at a kiosk in the mall. They’re unavoidable. However, many people stop and ask themselves whether or not they should donate to charity. It helps a lot of people. However, many people seem to avoid doing it. Therefore, let’s talk about why you should be donating to charities!
1. Do Charities Really Do What They Say?
There is a common theory that some charities are scams. Although this may be true, it isn’t always the case. However, are charities really doing what they say? We’ll let’s take a look at a few charities and see how their money is being allocated.
Let’s take a look at a well-known charity, MS Society (Multiple Sclerosis). Canada has some of the highest rates of MS. Therefore, it’s only natural that this charity is very will know. MS Society’s main goal is to conduct research and provide education on Multiple Sclerosis. In the words of MS Society,
MS Society has made major impacts on the medical industry. These impacts include advancements in diagnosis, symptoms, medicines and helping people live with this auto-immune disease. Also, you’re able to go on their website and view their impact reports.
Every year MS Society posts annual impact reports for everyone to see. The point is that there are amazing charities that make major advancements in their respective industries.
On the opposite side, there are charities who make little advancements or are blatant scams. Charity scams and embezzlement is nothing new.
For example, after Hurricane Katrina, the world was in shock. People from all over the world were looking for ways to donate money to help those who were affected. Here is where the problems arise. There were many people looking to capitalize off of this tragedy. Therefore, scammers created many fake websites in hopes that people would think its the real charity and donate. It worked
Another example is Bernie Madoff who created a billion-dollar Ponzi Scheme. Yes, I said a billion dollars.
However, there are many things that you can do to avoid getting trapped.
2. How To Choose The Right Charity
Choosing the right charity starts with you. There are a couple of things that you should look at when making this decision. First, pick a cause that really resonates with you. People often choose a charity that they have been personally affected by. If this isn’t the case for you, simply pick a topic that you can get behind.
Next, it’s time to weed out the bad seeds. As one would assume, there are many. Every single day there are legitimate and illegitimate charities being created. Your job is to now identify the real from the fake. This can be done by any number of ways. If you see a charity that you like, do a simple google search on them.
This search can sometimes tell you all that you need to know. This includes any fraudulent acts. Furthermore, there are other minor signs. For example, you might be redirected to an unsecured site. The way to tell is unsecured is by checking if there is a lock next to the URL.
Next, the charity should have a record of its financial statements. However, this can be hard to understand sometimes. Look out for some key factors in what they do with their funds. For example, how much of their money goes towards research and development. Furthermore, look for how much money goes towards administrative costs.
Most companies have a relative amount that goes towards administrative fees. However, there used to be companies that would have fee that is as high as 80%! This means that if you donate $10, only $2 goes towards research and development.
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3. Benefits & What It Does For You
Donating to charity can have many benefits. However, you won’t be able to see all of these benefits. Sometime’s they manifest in different ways. However, it is a fact that there are many pros to donating. Some people may have a bitter taste in their mouth because something negative happened in the past. However, this is not always the case. Therefore, we are going to take a look into how donating can benefit you.
A Great Feeling
One reason people donate to charity is that it provides them with a great feeling. This feeling can be defined in many ways. Some would call it happiness and others call it fulfillment. This feeling can become addictive, making you want to acquire it in more areas than just donating.
It’s completely natural for humans to feel a sense of happiness when we achieve something. However, I guarantee there is no better feeling than knowing that you’re helping out someone in need.
Since this feeling needs to be absolutely genuine, I’d suggest donating on your own accord. Allow me to elaborate. If you live in a densely populated area, there is a good chance that you’ve been asked by people in your local malls to donate to charity. These people are put into the mall to convince passers-by to donate to charity. I believe that this is the wrong way to go about it.
Firstly, if you were to sign up on spot for a random charity who pulled you out of a crowd, would you feel a sense of joy? Maybe. Will that sense be equivalent to if you were to research and donate to a charity who supports your cause? Probably not. However, everyone is different. The problem with these types of people is that they’re salesmen. They are treating donating and helping the world as a sales job, earning a commission.
Although this isn’t necessarily bad, the salespeople will do and say anything to get you to donate. This includes creating a false sense of accomplishment. Therefore, donate on your own time without any pressure, I promise it’ll feel amazing.
Something that everyone should know is that you can earn tax credits when donating. This is a huge bonus for those who usually pay a lot in taxes every year. It’s true that the school systems, especially here in Canada, fail to teach their students about taxes. However, we can counteract this with self-teaching. To put how donating to charity affects your taxes simply:
There you have it. Eligible donations grant you tax credits which can be used to reduce the amount of money you owe on taxes. However, it is important to note that you’ll receive 15% tax credit for the first $200 worth of donations. After that, it’ll be 29%. Combine this with the first positive, it’ll be hard to find a reason to not donate to charity.
Helps Improve The World
This one goes without saying, you’ll be helping the world. If you donate to a huge charity like MS Society, the amount may seem small. Furthermore, it may even seem like your little donation won’t do anything. However, ever little cent adds up over time and promotes change. Donating is one way to be apart of the solution. However, it’s not the only way.
To end off I want to say that you should only be donating if you’re in a position to do it financially. It’s true that every cent helps. However, you should help yourself first. This way, you can create more impact without having to worry about your own financial well-being. Don’t let anyone force you, donating should come from the heart and a position of stability.
Take care and happy donating!
Christopher is just a man on a mission to help those around him gain financial success. Obsessed with writing about all things finance, this GTA native is constantly learning and sharing his experiences with others.