The basic reason I don’t give money to charities is because I think I can do a better job of “doing good” on my own. I guess I’m kind of a control freak and at the end of the day I don’t know how my money is being used. I don’t like that. It’s the same problem I have with paying taxes. I have no problem paying for the government services that I use or believe in, but I don’t like not having control over how the money is spent. I have this underlying fear that my money is just being wasted, and really, why would I give my money to someone if I feel that they are just going to waste it.
This is not say that all charities waste money or that YOU shouldn’t give money to charities. This is just how I feel about it. Maybe there are others who feel the same. It’s important to explore all of our thoughts and beliefs about money and giving is a big part of money.
Also, and this is where the haters will hate so I’ll try to word this carefully, I want to know who I’m helping. Not everyone who needs help is ready to accept it. Sometimes people are in the situation they are in because they choose that situation.
In general if I’m giving a stranger the money that I (or my family) worked hard for every day I want to feel like my money is being put to good use. That’s why we stick to our budget every day and live frugally. I do a lot of sacrificing in my life to make sure that every dollar is being used in the best way possible and when a third party gets involved it can be risky, no matter how well intentioned their cause. If I give money to someone I expect them to do the same. If I find out later that the charity that I’ve been giving a big percentage of my money to had a big year-end celebration for their bigwigs then I’m going to be mad. No, I’m sorry, I gave you that money to help, not wine and dine your people.
The type of giving that does get me excited is when I can personally impact someone’s life. I’d rather give to a struggling neighbor than to donate to a big international charity. I could totally see myself setting up some kind of foundation or scholarship in the future. There are certain causes that get me more excited than others, of course. Programs for teen moms are one. Sick kids pull at my heart-strings too. And, of course, financial literacy classes are always awesome.
Do you regularly donate? Do you stick to a percentage or dollar amount? Do you have good intentions but never follow through? Is it a “someday” thing?