Donating to a cause is not only beneficial for the recipients of aid or the charities that offer that aid, but for the donors as well. Donations provide mutual benefit to both parties, and we would like to share with you what some of these benefits are and how big they can be.
A Successful Relief Effort
A relief effort that makes a lasting difference will:
- Distribute emergency supplies to victims.
- Set up sources of clean water.
- Begin repairing roads and buildings to enable transportation and commerce to resume.
- Work with farmers to reestablish local food sources.
- Establish schools to help both children and adults learn new skills that will leave them better off than before and help them prevent another disaster.
When looking to donate, you should look for a charity that either funds all of these efforts itself or else partners with other charities that do. A good example is Save the Children. They receive funds from several other charities and use those funds to distribute emergency supplies and provide education for children and their parents. Save the Children operates alongside other charities that rebuild roads and restore water supplies.
With this comprehensive approach, communities ruined by disaster or war can be restored to a vibrant, healthy state. When the population is given education and resources, they can begin to care for themselves. They can start businesses and sell their products to others, focusing more on specific things that they do well. Even better, they are able to do this on their own, which improves their self-image and helps them fit their new businesses into their culture.
All People Are Connected
In a global economy like ours, people are more connected than they realize. A disaster abroad affects the supply of goods around the world, and prices at home increase. When a relief organization rebuilds a nation and jump-starts its commerce, it can start exporting and importing goods again, reducing prices on those goods worldwide. This means that a donation is really an investment. By donating, you not only improve the lives of others, but you help to improve your own as well. The money you donate today can come back tomorrow because of improved trade. Everyone can benefit when relief is done right
A Satisfied Donor
One of the benefits of donating that is foremost on many donors’ minds is getting a tax exemption. You can donate up to 30% (or even 50%, depending on the charity) of your income and write it all off as a tax exemption. You can also give donations in kind, though you can only get 20%-30% of your income deducted when giving in-kind donations. The real joy of giving, from this perspective, is having a much better idea of how your money is being used. When you donate a large percentage of it to a particular charity, you know what they are doing with it. When you pay it in taxes, there is no such transparency.
But tax exemptions are not the best reason to donate. A better reason to donate a large sum of money is to join a “donor club.” Many nonprofits will give memberships to a donor social group in exchange for donation money. These clubs can become excellent sources for professional networking, which can provide many subsequent benefits. By donating a sufficiently large sum of money, you can find yourself at a donor meeting with influential executives and politicians who could become your customers or venture partners. This is worth far more than any tax exemption.
But the best reason to donate is altruism: feeling good about yourself. Altruism can bring a sense of purpose to your life and become a big motivator. One CEO, Mike Mann, has stated many times that all his profit-producing efforts are motivated by his desire to donate to charity. He went so far as to say that he would probably not work so hard if he didn’t donate so much to charity. When you know that the money you make helps others, it gives you an intense reason to keep working.