How to do charity?

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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10 Responses to “How to do charity?”

  1. Subra,

    What about charity that you do privately? No donations to any organisation but helping people in need? I know of people who cut down their needs and wants and help other. Do we have to institutionalize chairty like the west? Btw, I do not have anything against it either!

  2. Hi subra,

    I regularly follow you in fb and in your website also. But I am a silent reader. but this post made me to comment and say thank you for the enlightenment. Bcoz i usually give a part(very meager) of my salary for charity. For the past some 10 months only I am doing. I have not visited that place where am donating money . I do the online transfer and they send the receipt. This post made me to think and I will surely go and see that place(charitable trust) and continue further donation if worthy

  3. best Vignesh is to concentrate on one organisation and see what can be done. All the best.

  4. Sir, Akshayapatra gives food to prison (among lot of other good things they do elsewhere). Somehow i am not able to digest that part only fully, when there are more deserving people in the country. So am little hesitant to donate there. Just stating my opinion. Hope you wont take badly (i know you wont). (i donated to few other places you mentioned before also in your blog/FB).

  5. My family, neighbors and relative have been regularly contributing to Missionaries of Charity in Vashi for a long time. They have been doing a great job.

  6. Akshayapatra..VERY GOOD ….great commitment….A guy MAY BE 30+ i know working for Akshayapatra is a b.tetch + m.tech from IIT IS SELFLESS FELLOW SERVING THE SOCIETY…..SALUTE TO THE UNSUNG HEROES LIKE HIM…….HOPE I COULD DO A FRACTION OF WHAT THESE GUYS DO FOR THE NEEDY…..

  7. Shiva

    do not worry too much about where the charity you do is going. You are giving it in the name of God – and he runs the world and he knows what is to be done. Do not take upon yourself the burden of worrying who is deserving…..

  8. I gave Rs. 500 to Isha for trees today…

  9. It is not the amount which matters but the intent and compassion for others which makes a charity achieve its purpose. Everyone has their own ways of doing charity. The important part is that they should be doing it for the love for others.

  10. check giveindia.org…
    giveindia does the verification of NGOs and make sure donation reaches to the needy people…
    Please check it..
    BR
    Ramesh

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