“Sharing is loving” as the saying goes. And at a time when conflict is everywhere, sharing more love and compassion for others can go a long way. The basic living needs have changed. Although we still need shelter from harm and the elements and food to nourish our bodies, other luxuries of the past have evolved to become a need of the new generation.
For one, having an Internet connection is now a need that will allow people to connect with loved ones, to study or to oversee and grow their business. While many people aspire to achieve more in life through social connections and the accumulation of wealth and material things, others struggle to have the most basic things in life. In many underprivileged countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, food and water are scarce and people easily die from the most common of sickness.
Those who enjoy a better life feel the need to give and share their blessings to those who have less in life. And you don’t even have to go far to see poverty and extend help to people in need.
JEFF POWERS was raised as “a good Catholic boy”. So when he sold his wall-fastener business in 2012 for $225m, he wanted to give back. And, like many philanthropists, he started close to home. He donated to the hospital where his son had spent months recovering from a car accident. He helped pay for a swimming pool at his children’s school. Today he supports all sorts of causes, from scholarships in Florida to soup kitchens in New York.
Nowadays, social media is also proving to be a powerful platform to raise awareness on certain causes or asking for help in raising funds to help an individual or an organization.
It is common to see GoFundMe pages asking for monetary donations that won’t require you to go through all the hassles of traditional donations in the past. Even challenges that have gone viral were also a vehicle in raising money in support of a particular cause.
Through the years, we’ve witnessed how social media has evolved – starting out as a simple media-sharing site, it now serves as a digital platform for brands. But what we should also be giving our attention to are the organizations who took the extra mile and used social media to raise awareness and funds for charitable causes.
Almost all of us have probably heard (and even joined!) this one. The mechanics of the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was simple – participants just had to take a video of themselves pouring a bucket of iced water over their heads, share it on any social media platform with the hashtag #ALSIceBucketChallenge or #IceBucketChallenge then nominate their friends to take on the challenge and donate to the cause. Aside from spreading awareness on the Lou Gehrig’s Disease, it also helped the ALS Association raise nearly $100m in just 30 days.
Here are some handy tips you can follow when you feel that you have more than enough in life and you want to share your blessings to others.
Look beyond the name
Visit the organization’s website and check its mission statement, along with any reports about its programs. Another great way to learn about a charity’s activities is to volunteer. You’ll witness firsthand how the group approaches the cause you care about.
Judge by the results
You have three major paths for getting clues to a nonprofit’s effectiveness, based on what you can learn online about that particular charity.
Listen to deep divers
Certain groups study nonprofits in depth to find ones achieving the best results. Your easiest option is to give to nonprofits that get their seal of approval.
If those resources don’t cover causes you hold dear, you can consult two major online directories of nonprofits, Charity Navigator and CharityWatch. Each rates charities based on measures of their financial health, transparency, and accountability. While not directly measuring effectiveness, these ratings are designed to indicate how professionally an organization operates. And presumably a well-run organization has a better chance of having an impact than one that’s a mess.
Feel the urge to give? Do it directly through that organization’s website or mailing address. Avoid giving through a third party or via links sent in emails; even if the charity is real, the fundraiser may not actually represent it. And even legitimate fundraising costs can be too high. Daniel Borochoff, who founded CharityWatch in 1992, says the data he has seen indicates that, on average, telemarketers’ fees eat up two-thirds of the money they raise.
Social injustice is everywhere. People die because of poverty or resort to doing crimes to get through the day. While the government does its best to reach out to these sectors, all sorts of help are welcome. Your small change can feed a homeless person for a day. Your used clothes and shoes can make a difference in another person’s life. But what’s even better is that you give back to charities or groups with specific causes that not only offer a palliative solution to these issues but offer long-term solutions that help people get back on their feet so they no longer rely on other people’s generosity to survive.