I’m going to be starting the week on a positive note that will hopefully open one or two eyes to be a bit more charitable. “I would love to be more charitable, but I just can’t afford it!” Well, that maybe true but a recent Oxfam report suggested that our level of charitable donations doesn’t increase in line with what we earn. The report found that the top 100 richest earned enough money in 2012 to end world poverty 4 times over, if we did give more in line with what we earn then I’m confident most people would commit to erasing World Poverty if it meant giving away only 25% of their earnings, yet those who had that power, didn’t. To further extend this point, Wafic Said, the Syrian-Saudi businessman accumulated over £1000 million of wealth in 2012, yet gave 40 million to charitable causes, or to put it another way 0.04% of his annual wealth. My point here is not to say that Wafic Said should have given more, indeed it is highly commendable for anybody to give away any money to charity, but that it proves we don’t give more money to charity once we earn more.
“I could write a cheque and never see you again but I wanted to do something more enduring” – Sir Stelios Haji-Loannou.
The most common mis-conception to have about charity is that it is about donating money to established charities. Because of these mis-comceptions, people like you and me will regularly come up with the excuse of not being charitable because we believe we cannot afford it… From now on, make sure that ‘charity’ in your definition does not mean monetry donation, but instead ‘value donation’, the moment that you make this re-definition of ‘charity’ it means that you look at a situation or somebody that requires help and you are able to think about what action or donation would benefit them most or solve the problem they face best, not just jump to the default of donating money. Intrestingly, once you have made this change in mindset then you will start to acknowledge that most situations and people in difficulty actually would much rather your time than your money.
“The generosity of your time is the most valuable gift you can give” – Sara Henderson
I like this quote but what Sara Henderson is probably trying to say is that the gift of your attention is the most valuable gift you can give. I could spend time in a homeless shelter, absent minded, thinking about what I will be doing afterwards, or I could be spending quality time, listening to people tell me about their situations and creating a connection with them. Its clear that indeed, what adds the value is attention not just donating time. Think about this next time that you want you want to do some good in the world, consider where you can add value with spending some time and giving your attention to a situation.
The Usefulness of You
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens
“Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water -it will make ripples throughout the entire pond…”― Jessy and Bryan Matteo
So I hope to have opened your mind to You don’t have to be on the rich list to be a philanthropist, you just need vision and a desire to make a change. It doesn’t matter whether you have £1 or £1 million to give to charity, you can still have a positive impact on your chosen causes. Money always helps charities, but your own involvement can go a lot deeper and be more rewarding.
Personally I am going to commit to giving away my time to a charitable cause once a month.
“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank