“And it’ll come right back to you.”
Late last year, the “World Giving Index” ranked New Zealand and Australia as the most charitable countries in the world. The survey included a breakdown showing the percentages of people who had given money, given time or helped a stranger. More of this money came from private donation than from businesses – it came from peoples’ personal finances.
I’m sure we’d all like to be able to give to each charity which needs it. Especially after the Christchurch quake when other New Zealanders are in such need. I’ve seen another study where researchers gave people a set amount per day to spend and used it to gauge their happiness.
The twist was that some people were told to spend it on themselves and others on people around them. You guessed it; the people who gave it away experienced greater happiness and sense of fulfilment. I imagine that getting to personally interact with happy people was what really triggered the improvement. It doesn’t need to be much and doesn’t need even need to be money!
Unfortunately, that’s the problem with lots of ways of giving, there’s no personal touch, no connection to the people.
For several years I was a Unicef global parent after they grabbed me on my birthday. I was in a good mood, being my birthday, and I happily signed up. The global parent program is a twist on the classic sponsorship of sponsoring a child. The idea is instead of sponsoring one child, you get to support thousands of children worldwide. However, I found it all too impersonal; money just came off my credit card each month.
Then I discovered Kiva. Kiva works around supplying micro-credit to those people located in parts of the world where getting capital is difficult. You get to pick someone who appeals to you personally or you can focus on a particular part of the world. I won’t go into too many details as it’s worth a look for yourself.
Closer to home, you can visit Givealittle where there lots of different causes, events and organisations. Each one has a blurb and photos to help generate that connection before parting with your hard-earned money. Plus there is the added benefit of keeping the money in NZ.
It’s obvious that wildly giving away money can be deleterious to your personal finances so it’s up to you to ‘have a system’ based on your values and stick to it. But remember it’s good for you and good for others and NZers have a reputation to maintain!