don't enable
#Write28Days - FiveMinuteFriday - Justice and Social Causes - Money Matters

Don’t Enable!

Don’t enable! Be wise about the consequences of your giving. Investigate who is getting your money, and know specifically how you are helping.

Paul Sutherland, Chairman, Utopia Foundation

Don’t Enable! Be Wise About Your Giving

We are often drawn to give to charitable causes. I know. I’ve been there and done that. But how many of us find out where our money is going, and if it is actually going to the cause you’ve donated for.

I worked for an NGO and happily raised funds for it. Then I began to watch closely what happened with the money that people gave so generously. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate that organisations need money for administrative purposes. Staff must be paid adequately for the work they do, especially on the field. The work that you and I can do. But I questioned if it was necessary for the Director to have the latest I-phone? Was an absolutely top of the line Apple computer vital for documentation? These are things just some of the things I was not comfortable with.

When We Give To An Organisation Due Diligence Is Vital

So when we give to an organisation, due diligence is vital. We need to find out more about them and what they do. Are they in the business of fund-raising and creating dependence. Or are they working on empowering people to become independent. Is the organisation working to solve problems in a sustainable or resilient way, or are they just around to provide employment for their Director/s and some staff? An ideal organisation is one that is slowly working towards resolving a problem until they are no longer needed.

The Jewish philosopher and scholar, Moses ben Maimon, commonly referred to as Maimonides, defined 8 levels of charity. At level eight is giving unwillingly. He said  “the highest form of charity is to help sustain a person before they become impoverished by offering a substantial gift in a dignified manner, or by extending a suitable loan, or by helping them find employment or establish themselves in business so as to make it unnecessary for them to become dependent on others.” 

Photo by C Technical from Pexels

With Individuals – Empower, Don’t Enable

I know that is a much used proverb but it does apply here:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

I’m a very soft-hearted individual and have often given away money to people who I think need it. But that hasn’t always gone well. I’ve learned to :

  1. Give in kind. Buy groceries, clothes, books, etc
  2. Pay for education. Pay school/college fees directly to the institution or ask for a receipt.
  3. Give loans. Interest free loans with an easy instalment plan can be a life saver to a person in need.
  4. Point people in the direction of jobs, offer assistance with resumes, etc
  5. Suggest entrepreneurship ideas to people and help them set up a business with small loans.

I’m sure you’ve had experiences about charity and philanthropy. Do share your thoughts in the comments below.

#Write28Days

I’m undertaking the #Write28Days Challenge and will be posting every day in February. I am combining this with my regular features – #MondayMusings, #FiveMinuteFriday and #100WordsOnSaturday.

fiveminutefriday

This post was written in response to Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday prompt – Enable.


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An inspirational writer, a creativity and writing trainer/coach, I write about life, gratitude, healing, wellness, relationships at Everyday Gyaan. I offer training/coaching to anyone looking to explore their creativity and heal through writing via The Frangipani Creative, located in Secunderabad, India. You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for my weekly newsletter, Bytes of Gyaan, on Substack.

12 Comments on “Don’t Enable!

  1. Such a wise post! I’ve had former students ask me for money, and I always let them know I can’t give money, but I can give assistance in other ways–car rides, education, groceries, etc. The school I work at is funded by donations, so I know how important using those gifts wisely is!

  2. I once gave to a charity
    whose work I thought was vital,
    and then I saw with clarity
    that its poobahs felt entitled
    to jet around the world first-class,
    and they saw nothing wrong
    in having more than just one glass
    of fine Dom Perignon.
    Then they chose to take a trip
    (and set off quite some dramas)
    to study servant leadership
    at a resort in the Bahamas;
    yes, careers became the cost,
    but those they’d served were those who lost.

  3. I appreciate your concern for giving wisely. I like to know that my charity dollars are well spent too. I know we can’t always understand exactly where the money goes, and I’m okay with that, but it’s a blessing when we know we can trust those who are in charge of it.

  4. A really good and empowering post advocating to Enable. It’s true about sharing your experiences on charity. I feel it’s important to give in-kind be it groceries or education. I know few people who helped raised funds during the pandemic and clicking pictures of goods reached or money transferred to shop. I normally give through well-known corporate organizations and I keep getting follow-up on emials.

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