As the holiday season is upon of us I think a candid discussion of donating and giving back to society is called for. Most of us are truly blessed by many measures. The majority, if not all, of our basic necessities are fulfilled, most of us live in convenience unfathomable to citizens of third world counties, for the most part we can indulge in the luxuries we desire, and most importantly we can afford to give our children a fulfilling and happy childhood. I believe for this and many reasons we should all be grateful and try to give back whatever we can this holiday season – and any other time we see fit.

Giving Back
Giving Back

One day on my way from work to home I counted the number of times I was asked for a “couple dollars for food” – total of four times. Now imagine this on going trend twice a day (on the way to work and from work), five days a week. To be honest with ourselves anyone who is put in the position of helping “one in need” five times within an hour and half can become indifferent to the needy and their needs. We are continuously the target on unlimited number of charities and non-profit organizations for donations towards their humble causes. More and more work places are partaking in events that help fund raise for different causes. Our kids bring home cookies, chocolates, etc to sell for charities. We are asked to donate $1.00 at the cash register of the grocery stores, and other retail stores when paying for our purchases. Because the number of charities and causes bombards us, some of us become immune to them and hence stop giving all together while others may end up giving a little to each cause and stretch themselves beyond their means. Therefore, it is important to find equilibrium in donating, here are some tips.

Find Appropriate Cause
To begin, each individual should find a cause that they would like to donate to. As previously stated there are unlimited numbers of charitable organizations that would be appreciative of any help they can get. From my experience, individuals donate to causes that have affected them or their family or friends – for example a breast cancer survivor is likely to donate or fundraise for breast cancer research. To my belief one cause can not be more important than another and hence in selecting a cause it can be easier if you consider charities that are close to your heart. With that said I know of people who are so kind and caring that they have a long list of causes that they would want to donate to. It is important to narrow down your choices to top two or three – of course for most of us one charity is fine – so as to not overwhelm ourselves.

Decide On Appropriate Donation
Donations, especially during the holiday season, don’t always have to be in the form of cash contributions. Here is a list of what you can donate:

–       Money
–       Imperishable food items, such as beans, spaghetti, jam, baby foods, etc
–       Unused toys
–       Unused clothing items or some places take used clothing items so long as they’ve been washed and are in a decent condition
–       Time – you can donate your time by volunteering for your cause
–       Blood

If you are donating money do a little research to ensure most of the funds go towards your cause and are not consumed in administration cost. Volunteering for your cause is especially effective because you can take your children and teach them the significance of giving back and sharing. As for donating blood, not everyone can but if you are in good health and eligible – based on the organization’s criteria – it is a very kind way to give. According to Canadian Blood Services every donation saves three lives – what other donation saves three lives and doesn’t affect you adversely at all? Of course this list is not exhaustive and we would appreciate your suggestions.

A lot of us have a guilty conscious and hence any time someone approaches us for donation we feel the need to give.  Once you have chosen an organization to contribute to and made your contribution according to what you can afford then you have no reason to feel guilty. Therefore, if approached for a contribution than you can decline and thank them if you are not interested or ask for more information if it is a cause that you feel you would like to know more about. Nonetheless, you are free from feeling remorse for spending money on yourself and/or your family members and enjoying the holidays thoroughly.

What is your donation philosophy? How do you decide where to donate to?