Choose Wisely Charities You Donate To
Choose wisely the charities you donate to. Small charity is better than big charity, because overheads are lower, you know where money goes and most small charities are usually with better ethics, giving help rather than funding company cars and sending pens. Also see the post on why to only give to humane medical research (ones that don’t test on animals).
Want to Donate Anonymously?
This is how it should be anyway. It even says so in The Bible: ‘Be careful that you don’t do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them. Or else, you have no reward from your Father, who is in Heaven’. In other words, give to charity silently, then shut up about it.
It’s fine to tell people that you tithe your income or give a percentage of your business to good causes, people like this. But that’s enough. Don’t go on about it. Not only does it mean the charity-giving is coming from your ego (rather than your heart). But it’s also disrespectful to the recipient, who often is not very happy to be in a position of being a ‘charity case’ and would rather take the offerings silently.
We all love to give. But sometimes it’s difficult, because there are so many good cause needing our help, it’s difficult to decide who to give to. The problem then is if you give to one, you get bombarded with requests, and then feel guilty if you give to someone else – but then feel guilty if you stick with the first charity, and don’t have enough money to give to both.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Just donate via Charities Aid Foundation. You can set up an individual giving account and regularly donate anonymously. Or just donate to any charity of your choice instantly, by ticking the ‘make my details anonymous’ box. That way, you can give to who you want and when you want. Charities do great work, but they should not be spending their time sending you emails asking for more.
You give what you can and so do others, and then you also give to other charities that need help. There are not enough donors to fund all the wonderful work they do, but you have a right to give to the charities you choose. And they tend to be the smaller ones (it’s the big ones that sell your name on and use donations less wisely).
Other Ways to Give to Small Charity
Charity Commission lists how charities spend your donations. Most major ones spend around 60% to 70% on actual causes (Cancer Research spends just 2% on NHS drugs). World Animal Protection and IFAW spend much more on causes (above 80%).
- Local Giving is a website set up by a former guest on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire. Small charities join up and get all gift aid calculated and far more coverage. Donate here direct.
- Kitchen Table Charities Trust was set up by newsreader John Humphries, who wanted to offer a small simple charity, so you knew where the money went. All the donations here go to fund small projects in Africa like cataract operations, hospitals and grants for small business. Nothing goes on UK admin.
- Small Charities Coalition is the organisation that looks after the welfare of tiny charities nationwide. It has a series of guides and can provide advice. It also runs Charity Setup, a free guide to clarify goals and set up a charity account.
- Stewardship is a giving account run by and for Christians. Very simple, just sign up in 5 minutes, then choose your charities and donate. Although the big charities are involved, there are thousands of small churches and Christian churches that would benefit from your donations, so give them donations. You again have the option here to remain anonymous.
Why Charity Shock Tactics Don’t Work
Buy from clothing brands that help animals instead
Charity shock tactics don’t work, because those of us who are empaths (can imagine the pain of others) simply can’t cope with ‘seeing pictures of tortured animals or starving children overload’. We do care, but we are not going to keep watching your TV ads or opening upsetting brochures through the letterbox, or else we will have a nervous breakdown, and then won’t be able to help anyone or anything.
Of course there are places for undercover investigations, to ensure abuse and illegal activities are brought to book. But for the rest of us, the best way to help is to keep trying to stay grounded and peaceful, and to help, while looking after our own mental well-being. This does not happen with charities that use shock tactics to make people feel guilty.
Or end up doing what they did to that lovely old poppy seller from Bristol, who on her death (she threw herself off a bridge, although her depression was apparently not solely due to this) was found to be giving away everything she owned, as big charities had been selling her name on, to pass on news of her ‘generous nature’.
Small charities tend to use funds more effectively, with no money for big TV and newspaper ads, company cars or free pens. The average ‘shock tactic’ TV ad costs thousands of pounds, and those who donate ‘£3 a month’ don’t even cover the cost of the ad (the idea is to get you sign up to give regularly or leave a legacy).
‘Chuggers’ (charity muggers) also get commission, by accosting you in the street, to make you feel guilty for not giving to a big charity that does not spend its money as efficiently as small local charities. Negative campaigning is not the answer.
Let’s take an example. Say a charity puts posters of tortured abattoir animals through your letterbox, and the brochures cost a fair bit to print too. The people who don’t care will just throw them away. Many people will throw them away anyway, because they feel bad, but don’t know how to make a vegan bacon sandwich. And empaths will be so negatively affected, they probably won’t be able to eat any dinner at all.
Why not spend that money instead, on something more practical? Say make up little brochures of one-person-on-a-budget meal ideas using everyday ingredients from the local shop? Surely that’s more helpful? Here are some other ideas, to inspire from here and around the world:
New Ideas for Charity Giving
- Buy from clothing brands that help animals. Next time you need a new t-shirt, hoodie or beanie, buy from companies that sell organic versions, and use the profits to help animal charities.
- Good at sewing or knitting? Snuggles Project has free patterns on its website, that you can download to make blankets for animal shelters. The shelters have to register, but then get free donations for pets who don’t have to sleep on hard steel floors.
- Or make donkey nose harnesses. These are given to working donkeys abroad, to help stop sores caused from ill-fitting or no harnesses.
- Mutley’s Snaps is a hugely talented dog photographer in Scotland. He takes photos of adopted staffies for an annual calendar, to help change mindsets. No snarling teeth, just happy smiles! One Californian town takes photos of local dogs, then sells it to residents and visitors, to raise money for local animal rescue.
- The Humane League is a US charity for farm animal welfare, started by this man who says focuses on the good gets more donations. Rather than leave people guilty, scared, depressed or traumatised. If you’re upset by factory farming, join Fast Action Network to have supermarkets & MPs change policy.
- Waggle (US) crowdfunds vet fees for those in need (vetted applications). Then instead of emailing you to make you upset, they update you how the pet is doing that you helped. One supporter (who lost a dog and has financial backing) set up Eli’s Fund to match donations, so the bills are paid faster.
- Charity Bank offers simple savings accounts, with short application forms. It’s a cross between a charity and a bank, so you save money while helping to fund local community projects.
- Meem is an ethical mobile network that lets you keep your number, runs on 99% of EE networks. 10% profits go to your charity.
What is Poverty Porn?
This is a term has been coined by those fed up of western charities portraying people in Africa as ‘needy’. People film babies with flies around their eyes to raise money, instead of going in to remove the flies and help the child, you know the kind of thing. Why not feed the starving donkey, instead of film it from afar? It’s voyeuristic, and leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.
No-one is denying the huge issues faced with 800 million people having no access to food and fresh water (and millions more animals suffering). But showing these images does nothing to help. People who are feeling uncomfortable even switch off, rather than watch more. Far more beneficial to help in direct ways, like crowdfunding individual projects, or switching savings to Shared Interest Society which gives Fair Trade loans, to help people help themselves. Buying Fair Trade foods is another good way to help.
The Good Things Guy (a wonderful site) has a super post on the 10 reasons to avoid poverty porn, which include the right of children (and their parents) to not have a camera shoved in their face, when they often are not in a position of free will to answer, less they ‘anger their patron’. By removing anonymity of those at risk, it could even risk their lives.
And just like the news will report the Syrian war without ever explaining what it’s about, poverty porn videos never mention that the main issues are not lack of money but corruption, civil war, climate change and gender inequality. He asks simply: if you and your child were starving, how would you feel if someone rammed a camera to your child’s swollen belly, and asked you to look at the camera, in order to be able to eat?
How Tiny Charities Can Raise Funds
These ideas for how tiny charities can raise funds, offer food for thought. Often it’s the big charities that get most of the money, yet it’s the small charities that often use the money raised most efficiently. And are more likely to be run by volunteers on a shoestring. These ideas are proven to work by tiny charities already:
- Design organic cotton t-shirts at Teemill. You can design your own using pretty illustrations, then simply print and sell them in your online shop and keep the profits like Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
- Sign up your small charity to Everyclick. Supporters then simply switch their search engine, and each time they search, corporate sponsors give money to the nominated charity. Its only criticism is that it has now added a ‘buy lots of junk from Amazon et al and we will help fund the charity, which just encourages the consumerism lifestyle that’s part of the problem.
- Local Giving is a website, founded by a former guest on The Secret Millionaire. Sign up and get benefit of their expertise (they take a small cut for good SEO, gift aid and managing donations).
- Givey is a site developed to help small charities raise funds online. Your charity gets all donations, they charge users 5% fee for costs. This keeps the site transparent and offers a free fundraising platform. Total Giving also gives 100% of donations.
- Small Charity Support offers help for small charity, from tips to instruction booklets. And CAF offers an emergency fund for small charities (people who sign up with a giving account can give anonymously, which usually encourages more donations).
- Ask for some seed money. Organisations like The Sanctuary Angels, The Pollination Project and Awesome Foundation all offers ‘seed grants’ (up to a certain amount) to help small causes blossom.