Should I give to charity?

There were probably times when you asked yourself: 'Should I give to charity? Why should I?' or 'How much should I give'?

I have been working for a charity for several years now, and I have learned quite a few things about charities in general.

by Elia Strange

First of all, any charity is run as a business first and foremost.

Unfortunately, many of these charities, and especially the people heading these organisations (e.g. Chairs) appear to care mostly about earning indecent amounts of money.


You would think that setting up a charity is a noble cause. Usually, this is the case. But with time, this growing charity has to be manned by several managers, Chairs, Human Resources, and so on.

These people have been employed to work for the organisation and not for a noble cause as such.

Of course I cannot speak for every employee who works for a charity, but in many big charity organisations most of their employees see their organisation as their daily job or simply another business organisation.


If you had a chance to see where some charity organisations prefer to hold its meetings, conferences, Awards, and so on, you would be amazed or shocked. Amazed at the choice of venue and shocked at how much money – the public donation money - is being spent on self-gratification.

Many charities could hire 'cheaper' venues for their meetings, for example, by hiring a room from one of the Universities (they really are cheap). But some charities wish to hire hotel conference rooms and use external catering, which at times cost thousands of dollars/pounds.


Why do they do this?


Because it looks prestigious as they try to show-off in front of other charitable organisations.

So if you think that because the charity has a turnover of millions pounds, why can’t they spend as much as they like. You have to remember that this money, money spent on venues, meals, drinks, hotels, transport, is your donated money, money that you wished to go to helping noble cause - helping hungry people, cancer research, disabled children and adults, then it makes you think whether you should give to charity at all.

I know I sound very negative, but I do not describe all the known charities here. At the same time, I cannot name the charities that I have described.


A long time ago, Oscar Wilde said: 'Charity creates a multitude of sins'. What did he mean by that?

Roger and McWilliam, the authors of 'You can't afford the luxury of a negative thought' also said that charity provides a division between giver and receiver: "I - superior and blessed among people - give proudly to you, poor, needy person". "I - poor, needy person - accept humbly this gift from you - magnificent, benevolent, rich person". So charity is a controversial thing.

So, what should you do?  

Should I give or not give to a charity?


1) Research about the charity organisation you wish to give to. How small or big they are?

When was the charity set up? How many waged members of staff are working there? How much do they pay the directors? Where do they hold their workshops, conferences, and so on?

2) Try to find out how much help they provide to those who are need it. Of course they have to pay their own salaries, but it has to be well balanced with how much they provide to those who need it.

3) If you can, give them your time, not money. Volunteer work is often more valuable, and you don't have to pay for the nice venues for their employees. Or you might engage in doing some research for them, or assisting them with providing workshops.

4) In my opinion, smaller and newer charities are often closer to their original noble-cause idea, than the bigger and more established ones.

5) If bigger charities provide financial help to those people in need that you wish to assist, then try to find out their figures - how much of the donations received is used to provide help in a year.

Does this knowledge satisfy you?

6) Help those who need it directly if you can. Whether it is through giving them money or providing food, clothes or care to them.

I hope this article gave you a somewhat bigger picture about the world of charities. Not all charities are the same. Some do more for a noble cause, whereas others see it as business bringing in money.

It is disappointing to learn about the charity you like and support when they spend an obscene amount of your money on their Conferences, where they could spend less and give more.

Anyway, if you have your own opinion about giving to charities, I would love to hear it from you. Leave it in the Facebook comments below.

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