Perhaps you spent Black Friday or this weekend running from store to store for that perfect gift. Or maybe you plan to take advantage of Cyber Monday in order to find the deals. Of course it is wonderful to give to family and friends, but let’s not forget helping others this time of the year (and really all year). Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, and I hope we all set aside some time, money or talent to donate to worthy charities that share our goals. Many times you can even buy your gifts through charities, or through companies who donate a portion of their proceeds to a cause that is dear to you.
If you are giving to a charity that you may have heard of, but don’t know much about, do your homework. There are several websites such as Charity Navigator and Charity Watch, that rate charities on a variety of topics.
It’s also important to make sure the charity is not part of scam. Here are some signs from consumerreports.org that the charity may not be on the up and up:
- The “charity” can’t provide details about how donations are used.
- The caller can’t provide proof—like a Federal tax ID number—that it’s a qualified charity and that your donation is tax-deductible.
- You’re pushed to donate immediately.
- You’re asked to wire a donation.
- You’re thanked for a pledge you never made to convince you that you already agreed to donate.
Charity Navigator says you should be especially skeptical of charitable solicitations that come via email if you haven’t signed up to receive electronic communications from the organization the email purports to be from.
Many scams also use the names and logos of legitimate charitable entities to trick you into giving money. So even if you see a heart-wrenching picture of a wounded warrior or a mournful-looking lemur, do not automatically click through to any link. Respond with your head, not your heart, by checking the organization out at the charity watchdog websites and assuring yourself that the email is legitimately connected to the organization you wish to help.
And so as not to end on a bummer note, I have included below some quotes about giving that I hope inspire you to give to a cause close to your heart. According to Maimonides, the great codifier of Jewish law, there are eight stages of giving, relating to how sensitive the giver is to the recipient. I aspire to the the two highest: giving anonymously, where the recipient does not know the giver, and vice versa, and helping someone become self-sufficient. Let’s all do our part to reach those highest levels, not just tomorrow, but on a continuous basis.
Top 10 Giving Back Quotes
“If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody.” ~ Malcom Bane
Brainstorming ways to maximize the number of lives you hope to touch or trying to think up ways to increase your range of influence isn’t as important as the actual act of giving and getting started! If you do have big plans that can make a real impact in the lives of many, by all means, pursue them! But don’t let that interfere with the small deeds anybody can do on a daily basis.
Remember, “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted” (Aesop) “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” (Buddha) Make what change you are able to make now, and let the ‘giving spirit’ spread like a virus, infinitely touching the lives of people you may never meet, across boundaries you may never cross, in ways you may never imagine. That is the power of giving and your ticket to changing the world.
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” ~ Albert Einstein
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” ~ Zig Ziglar
“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” ~ Arthur Ashe
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” ~ Muhammad Ali
“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.” ~ Disraeli
“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” ~ Anthony Robbins
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.’ Hungry not only for bread — but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing — but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks — but homeless because of rejection.” ~ Mother Teresa
“Giving is the highest expression of potency. In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power. This experience of heightened vitality and potency fills me with joy. I experience myself as overflowing, spending, alive, hence as joyous. Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.” ~ Erich Fromm