A Systematic Approach to Charity
Charity is an important element of so many different belief systems and ethical standards. Christians encourage tithing and pass out a bag/plate/bowl every service. Muslim s have their giftings, Zakat, as the central pillar of their faith. Both Hindus and Buddhists agree that charity is a highly Karmically valuable action. For anyone looking to improve themselves, selflessness must be a major part of the plan, but if you’re going to do charity, make sure to do it right.
When trying to become a more charitable person, the kind of person for whom charity becomes more than a skill, but somehow instinctual, or even an art form, you want to think about it deeply. The following three issues are important questions to ask about any attempt at being charitable you might make. Not to keep yourself from doing at all, but to make sure you make your charity money as powerful as it possibly can be.
Who specifically is your charity money going to?
If you are going to be handing over your hard-earned cash, it is only entirely fair and proper that you investigate in extreme detail the kinds of people you are dealing with. Just how long has this charity been around? Are they a Johnny-come-lately to the field of philanthropy, or are they more established and in fact a coalition of veteran and expert players of this particular vitally important game? Are they a massive sprawling affair where your money could potentially get chewed up in administration costs before it actually goes towards helping people? Are they a small and lithe operator with nimble first response powers but maybe not as much weight and heft to help them get things done? Are they open and transparent or unclear and cagey?
There are many different resources available to find out more about all these sorts of questions, and charities themselves will be more than willing to answer the questions themselves. They are very understanding of the kinds of problems people have when it comes to choosing who to donate to, and so will do everything they possibly can to make their position clear to you.
When you fully understand just who it is you are donating to, you take your first step in being a controlled and careful charitable individual. Making the most of every last penny in the cause of good.
What specifically is being done with your money? Charities often have a very general overarching cause, and specific events, campaigns, and other such plans that work towards that goal. Just as Muslims have the very general Zakat for all kinds of charitable goods, they have the more specific Zakat-ul-fitr, which provides for the poor in the breaking of their fast at the time of the Eid-al-Fitr.
If you can learn more about exactly what it is your money is doing, you get that most excellent and most self-motivating of all phenomenon. Achievement. If you know specifically that your contribution was part of a push to feed a specific village through a specific season or build a particular building to preserve a particular town’s community hub, you can know exactly what you have been a part of. The feeling of accomplishment and power to impact the world that provides is exceptionally motivating, and a vital tool in any process of self-improvement. If you want to make charity not just a one-off thing, but a regular trend and part of your life, be sure the people you donate to give regular updates of what you have done, and inform you of specific accomplishments your money has helped achieve.
When is it best for you to give? Some charities are very much seasonal affairs, with particular times being vast buffet feasts of donations atop donations coming in thick and fast, while other periods are deep and desperate famines. Most charities will be very open about the best times and when they are most in need. They will also give you some idea of the best form of regularity for your giving. While most charities like the stability of the monthly gift, many others have a more unpredictable flexible set of circumstances to deal with.
Whatever charity you choose to give to, however you organize your giving, make sure you investigate the recipients thoroughly, keep track of your achievements vigilantly, and time your offerings precisely. With these three factors in mind, your charitable giving will be as effective as it could possibly be. Selflessness is an important angle in anyone’s daily quest for self-improvement, and a systematic approach to charity is perhaps the most direct and helpful practical manifestation thereof.