Philanthropy and or Charity

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“Philanthropy is the act of giving financial resources to a cause that is intended to improve general human well-being, and where the giver expects no direct reciprocation or financial gain in return.”

” Charity tends to be a short-term, emotional, immediate response, focused primarily on rescue and relief, whereas philanthropy is much more long-term, more strategic, focused on rebuilding. One of my colleagues says there is charity, which is good, and then there is problem-solving charity, which is called philanthropy, and I think that’s the distinction I have tried to make”

How much is enough? 

New Zealanders are estimated to have given $2.67 billion to charitable and community causes in 2011, and that figure Is probably double that by now, going on past increases.   Charitable donations over $20.00 are tax-deductible so that may be a small incentive to give $20.00 or more.  Although traditionally, the churches recommend  giving a 10 percent tithe to charity, the average American gives at the level of 3.2 percent of his or her income (pre-tax). From the USA Govt figures. The time volunteers spent in 2013 was worth an estimated $163.0 billion. The value of volunteer time combined with private giving accounted for just under half a trillion dollars ($498.17 billion), and volunteer time represents a third (32.7 percent) of the total. ( USA figures)

Supporting a Charity

New Zealanders are a generous bunch, but with so many tragedies it’s no wonder charities are fighting donation fatigue. Maybe you want to keep giving but wonder if your money is making it to the people who need it. And how do you decide who to give to? Decide what change you want to see, It  may sound corny, but if you’re giving to charity you probably want your money to change the world for the better..

Veteran donor Kate Frykberg says you’ll get further if you spend a little time thinking about what you want.

“The first thing is to decide, what is the change in the world that you want to see?”

“It could be that children are safer, or the environment is cleaner.”

“Then think about what work might help that change.”

Once you know that, think about who is making a difference in that area. Frykberg says it’s worth doing some web research, and not just looking at the glossy brochures.

Which begs the question – how much did they spend on those brochures?

Ask questions??

Most charities should be able to tell you the percentage of money that goes directly on frontline services, and how much is spent on things like admin and fundraising. To get a more complete look at your charity’s money, Frykberg recommends looking up its annual returns on the charities commission register. I didn’t know it existed until recently!

I always used to give a  few dollars to anyone who asked me for money on the street, I no longer do this. Sometimes I will add to a street collection but  it is rare, now days I am far more selective. I think most of us can afford to give a little but we often worry if the money goes to the needy people or is spent on huge amounts of glossy advertising.  TV advertising is expensive, do the TV companies give it for free? I don’t think so. Those charities get nothing from me. Red Cross and Save the Children do get a donation from me when there is a special calamity such as the Nepal earthquake. For the rest of the year I leave them to their own resources.

I have three charities I give generously to:

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The Fred Hollowes Foundation I give via a direct debit monthly, painless for me and such a great charity. Professor Fred Hollows (1929-1993) was a legendary New Zealander, an acclaimed eye surgeon, and social justice activist. He championed the right of all people to high quality and affordable eye care.   “An estimated 39 million people around the world today are blind. But four out of five people who are blind don’t have to be, their condition is treatable or preventable. In the last five years alone, The Fred Hollows Foundation has performed nearly one million sight-restoring operations and treatments, and trained more than 38,000 eye health workers; achievements Fred would be proud of.” It is an easy charity to support as they have many different options to give. I cannot imagine as a photographer how it would feel to be blind, I would be devastated so I am happy supporting these people to enable them to restore so many Pacific  people to better vision.

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Another favourite charity is HOSPICE.What is Hospice care? Hospice care is for people who are nearing the end of life. Hospice care services are provided by a team of health care professionals who maximize comfort for a terminally ill person by reducing pain and addressing physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. To help families, hospice care also provides counselling, respite care and practical support. Unlike other medical care, the focus of hospice care isn’t to cure the underlying disease. The goal of hospice care is to support the highest quality of life possible for whatever time remains. The Hospice staff are phenomenal working day in and day out making sure the last days or weeks of someone’s life is comfortable and as joyous as possible. Imagine doing that 365 days a year? I admire their dedication and from past experience I am so grateful they are in our community to help us.I have nothing but admiration and thanks to these folk. They also have hard-working volunteers raising funds, I spent a few years on such a committee, it is not easy in the current economic climate to persuade people to dig deep into their pockets.  Jo Seagar is Patron of NZ Hospice. The Govt. do support Hospice however that is never enough as the demand for their services increases year after year. I hope you never need the services of Hospice but if you do I am sure it will change your thinking as to who deserves funding and charitable donations in New Zealand, of course you may already give to them.

My 3rd favourite charity is a small organisation based in Auckland called HELP AUCKLAND.  HELP believes that sexual abuse has no place in civilised society. However, for as long as it continues to occur in Auckland, HELP works to enable women and children suffering from the effects of abuse to regain their lives. HELP supports and empowers all affected by such an experience to reclaim their place in their families and society. We provide a culturally safe environment and remain conscious of issues of culture, engaging in training to ensure that we cater to the needs of our diverse society in the best possible way. HELP employs over 30 staff, trained in trauma therapy and other psychotherapeutic and educational approaches, including psychotherapists, crisis counsellors, administration and management. They have one major fund raiser a year called Colour Me Purple, an auction held every March and they do receive some Govt. funding. I am impressed that I receive hand written notes saying thankyou and they make you feel like your meagre donation actually is important which is very nice. It makes me want to keep on supporting them.  I discovered them by chance when I met a staff member who impressed me with her dedication and caring attitude so I made a small donation. Several years later and I am now supporting their efforts regularly and I hope some of you might too. The 2015 event was emceed by Aaron Ward and jazz singer Jennifer Calvey plus many other live performers who all donated their time for free. Next year I hope to be able to attend.

. Learn about Sexual Abuse

 We’re here for you 24/7

 You can make a Difference

I always gave to the Cancer Society in past years until my husband needed assistance and it wasn’t forthcoming. I lived 15 minutes from the hospital and they wouldn’t collect him for treatment because  it was across the Auckland Harbour Bridge! Seriously!  Yet they would collect people 40 minutes away living south of the hospital, what was that all about? They still advertise assistance to drive patients to their treatments, so very small donations from me for them. 😦 I do stand on the street annually and collect for them on Daffodil Day but they are not my favourite charity. Charity donations have to be given with warmth and because we want to give and have good feelings with the organisation concerned, not because we are being harangued or their services have let them down. Recently I spoke to someone who had a bad experience at a Hospice and I was stunned; as you might be regarding my experience  with Cancer Society NZ.

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Donating with security.

Check this website for more answers.http://www.cab.org.nz/vat/rcc/comm/Pages/Donating.aspx  It’s generally best to donate or volunteer for charities that you already know and trust, or those you have researched and in which you have confidence. You might like to start your research by looking at the Charities Register. Remember doing volunteer work for a charity is extremely rewarding, it won’t make you rich dollar wise but it will definitely enrich your life. So think about your situation and  consider if you are being generous or miserly? Of course you are being generous 🙂

Give with knowledge and avoid scams and moonlighters. I no longer donate over the phone, it is too risky. Be wise and check people out, legitimate charities do not mind. I also give to the Sallies and City Mission –  a one-off donation at Christmas time. :):)

images (2)Feel free to comment with your experiences – good or bad.

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5 thoughts on “Philanthropy and or Charity

  1. Great article and post and something everyone should take more seriously.
    Government funding and assistance for so many services we take for granted will continue to be reduced.

  2. Great article…sensitive and responsive…I too watch who I give to…one of my favorites is giving directly to someone in need who as gone through a flood or other devastation…. I will never give to the red cross because of the lack of help when our town flooded…

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