According to Giving USA in 2009 Americans donated more than $307.75 billion to their favorite non-profit organizations and charities. The majority, approximately 75% of charitable giving was attributed to individuals. Charitable foundations and other corporate giving amounted to 17% of total funds donated. Online giving accounted for 67% of all dollars donated in 2010. The online charitable giving channel is rapidly becoming the method of choice for how to donate.
Individuals make charitable giving decisions based upon a variety of factors. Among the leading recipients of money for charity are Human Services Organizations, Environmental and Animal Welfare Organizations, Arts and Cultural Organizations, and Disaster Relief Groups. The last category is one where recurring gifts are less frequent. Whether through online portals, mobile text campaigns, or direct charitable giving, these donations are an appeal in a time of need that elicit and immediate, although fleeting, emotional response. So then, how can individuals maximize their charitable giving to non-profit organizations and create a lasting relationship with the recipient? Will a values-based charitable giving create a stronger tangible benefit to the donor?
The preeminent philosopher Maimonides lists his famous Eight Levels of charity. According to the medieval scholar the highest level of giving is to form a partnership with a person in need enabling the recipient to overcome the necessity to rely upon others. Importantly, the concept of an ongoing partnership is raised. This is a deeply personal connection to the individual or organization in need and not a one time, sterile, or non-personal gift. A two way relationship is created whereby the charitable giving donor is simultaneously being uplifted because the action is not for selfish reasons, but a reflection and outward example of living according to ones values. In the context of Abraham Maslow, this exemplifies a life in harmony and a donor who is self-actualized.
When deciding upon which non-profit organization to donate to and determining how to donate realize that it is crucial to take responsibility for ones actions. Philanthropy is a perfect vehicle to experience and enhance ones true purpose. The highest return on charitable giving will be achieved by developing an ongoing and daily relationship with a charity that is consistent with your core values and beliefs.
One can achieve any dream or goal by insuring that their daily actions are consistent with their core beliefs. The individual is assured of success because positive life changes are in harmony with their value system and motivated by their desire to aid their favorite charity or non-profit through a charitable giving program. As the individual encounters daily success they begin to realize that they are in control of their life, able to make proactive and positive decisions, and gain self-confidence.
As the individuals are presented with appeals for charitable giving they think carefully about how they can and will make a difference in the lives of others, and by doing so, how they too will benefit and be truly inspired.