Is writing a cheque for an ‘n’ amount the only way to do charity? If not the only, is it the best?
Actually the answer to both the questions is NO.
There are many, many ways to do charity. For example it is easy for me to write a cheque to ‘Isha’ or ‘Akshayapatra’ – but it has a far, far greater impact by putting it on my blog. One reader said ” I have decided to dedicate this year to child care..so every month I am planning to donate Rs. 10,000 to Akshayapatra”.
Did I cause this donation? No. But I sure triggered it. He had decided that he wanted to donate to a ‘child’ cause. He knew the amount. He could have chosen any good agency. I would have been happy WHEREVER he donated. I am happy to have been a trigger, that is all.
In most of the donation triggers..the receiving agency DOES NOT KNOW OF MY EXISTENCE. It does not matter to them that I exist, to me it does not matter that they do not know. However, whether it is Isha or Akshayapatra they are doing a great job. To me that alone is enough.
I know one person who does a lot of charity – the amounts may be Rs. 20-25,000 a charity but he does for at least 4-5 agencies. He actually goes to the organisation to see what they do. He goes around, sees how much of care is taken, whether there is any succession planning (no point in finding that after the founders death, it will just close down), whether they do what they are saying, whether the accounts are audited….and then donates. In one place where he was not sure about giving them cash, he paid for a well being dug.
In some cases where he is sure that the money will go to the right place – feeding kids, he makes a committment to feed say 10 children for 5 years.
I know one person who will not write a cheque but place an ad in a big newspaper, and pay for the ad. He feels ‘If I donate, I prefer to use it MOST effectively’….knowing that charitable agencies do not spend on advertising, he prefers this route.
When a temple had to be build in Ghatkopar (a suburb of Mumbai), a few of us got together and collected ‘things’ from people. Crompton Greaves gave us fans, EID Parry donated sanitaryware, H&R Jhonson gave us tiles….afterall to build a temple you do not need cash, you need THINGS!
When you donate, you do not want to see the donation being used in a wrong place. This actually goes against my PERSONAL life philosophy of not worrying ‘once the money leaves the hand’ – for an expense or a donation.
When I say loudly on the blog…that Akshayapatra and Isha are doing a good job, I should at least take some basic responsibility about the organisations. That I do.
And happily too.
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