Read these 17 Charities Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Charity tips and hundreds of other topics.
In the United States of America, the Attorney General of each state maintains a registry of charitable organizations.
Donations to charities in the United States are deductible for income tax purposes if the organization has exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, usually under non-profit organization section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.
The Salvation Army is a faith-based international organization that provides a range of services designed to address the needs of people in hardship. Itprovides Addiction and Dependency Services, Health Services, Social Work, Emergency Response, and Family Tracing Services, as well as many other community development and ministry efforts throughout the world.
In the United States, the bell-ringing Santa by a red urn is the probably the most well-known emblem of the Salvation Army and its giving opportunities (Santa may be followed closely by the white receptacle for clothes donations in many suburban parking lots). In addition to these iconic presences, the Salvation Army provides a wide range of ways to contribute to its cause, many of which rely on the idea that what you no longer need or want will be of great use to someone else.
You can find lots of information about the Salvation Army's mission and services on its international web site, www.salvationarmy.org, and you can find information specific to the Army's work in the United States (and in your neighborhood) at www.satruck.com. Through that site, you can arrange donations of items such as clothing, furniture and even vehicles. You can also make a monetary donation through the site or find a local thrift shop and other local opportunities for making Salvation Army donations.
For more than 20 years, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has been a global leader in the fight against breast cancer. The Komen Foundation supports innovative research and community-based outreach programs.
Working through a network of US-based and international affiliates, and through events like the annual Komen Race for the Cure®, the Komen Foundation aims to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by funding research grants and supporting education, screening and treatment projects in communities around the world.
More than 75,000 people make a difference in their communities by volunteering with Komen Affiliates; if you are interested in supporting the Komen Foundation, visit www.komen.org to find an affiliate near you.
Goodwill Industries is one of the world's largest nonprofit providers of education, training, and career services for people with physical, mental and emotional disabilities, as well as those with disadvantages such as welfare dependency, homelessness, and lack of education or work experience.
The Goodwill believes in work's power to transform lives by building self-confidence, friendship, independence, creativity and trust. Goodwill accepts financial and goods donations. You can find more information on Goodwill Industries and how you contribute at www.goodwill.org.
Maybe you have a soft spot for animals. Maybe you and your loved ones have been affected by cancer or alcoholism or autism. Maybe you believe in being green. If you know what you care about most, you can be far more effective in your giving because you can concentrate your donations on causes you believe are most important.
In addition to helping you get the most satisfaction out of your charitable donations, such focus will help you be less likely to respond to pressure, grow your giving plan over time, and be a part of a charitable community with a common goal.
The American Cancer Society is making a difference every day in the lives of people touched by cancer through its advocacy, education and fundraising activities. Contributions to the American Cancer Society help fund research programs, education, advocacy and services that help the American Cancer Society advance its mission-the elimination of cancer.
The American Cancer Society sponsors such events as Relay for Life (which raises money for the American Cancer Society) and Strides for a Cure (which raises money to benefit breast cancer advocacy, specifically). Such events gather together thousands of people to support ACS's goals and provide excellent, local opportunities to either participate in the events, volunteer to work the events, or to sponsor someone participating in them - or all of the above!
*Visit www.cancer.org for more information or to make a donation.
While your sense of charity might be enough to spur you to action, there are plenty of reasons to give to charity, and occasions on which to do so. Below is a list of a few:
• Giving money and/or material donations (such as clothes, books and vehicles) can help you keep your tax payments and other costs down.
• Donating items can help you clear some clutter out of your own life while providing necessary and important things for people less fortunate than you.
• Rather than throwing away those old clothes, donate them and be proud that you are keeping a family warm, or giving an unemployed person a nice outfit in which to go to interviews!
• Giving money or items to charity can also be a good way to celebrate something in your own life: many recovered addicts, for example, mark anniversaries of sobriety by giving a gift to the organization that supported them through their recovery.
• Donations to a charity can also be a fulfilling way to honor someone who has died: often, families prefer donations to research organizations, hospitals, or hospices rather than flowers as memorial gifts.
The mission of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is to foster an environment of goodwill and camaraderie among Combat Wounded Veterans, promote patriotism, support necessary legislative initiatives, and, most importantly, provide service to all veterans and their families.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart is classified by IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization through its Service Foundation. As such, all donations are tax deductible by the donor. Funds received as a result of these donations are used to defray expenses in helping veterans in a variety of circumstances, but primarily in processing claims against the government resulting from service-connected maladies that worsen through the aging process.
*Visit www.purpleheart.org for more information on the Order and its Service Foundation.
Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the number one cancer that afflicts women in the United States. More than likely, you or someone close to you either have been directly affected by breast cancer, or know someone who has.
Many forms of breast cancer are treatable and survivable, but early detection and medical attention is crucial to effective treatment. Breast cancer patients and survivors benefit from strong support networks, and several high-profile groups have emerged to advocate for education, broader and easier access to mammograms, and ongoing research. These groups also provide an extended community of sympathetic and positive compatriots for people affected by breast cancer.
Canada has more than 75,000 charities registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), more than 75% of which are places of worship and educational institutions (such as libraries and universities). About one quarter of registered charities in Canada exist to help the disadvantaged.
Political organizations and environmental groups do not currently qualify for registration as charities in Canada. About one third of Canadians donate time to a nonprofit organization and, on average, Canadian individuals donate $239 per year to charities.
The Canadian government provides almost two-thirds of the funding that charitable foundations operating in Canada receive. As a result, government budget cutbacks directly and negatively affect programs that receive the bulk of their funding from the government.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation's is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to save lives by increasing breast cancer awareness. The Foundation advances this mission through education and by providing mammograms for those in need, including women who do not have health insurance and who do not have access to regular health care.
The NBCF works with free clinics to provide funding and educational materials supporting breast awareness and regular breast health checks. The NBCF also provides free mammograms to underserved and underinsured people throughout the United States, as well as in Puerto Rico.
*To learn about the kinds of programs that the National Breast Cancer Foundation funds, or to find out how you can contribute, visit www.nationalbreastcancer.org.
The United Nations estimates that AIDS will kill 70 million people over the next 20 years. 95% of all people with AIDS or HIV live in developing nations, with the countries of sub-Saharan Africa particularly hard-hit. Education about HIV/AIDS and the availability of preventative measures, such as condoms and needle-exchange programs, has already stemmed the spread of HIV/AIDS in the United States and other developed countries, and the availability of advanced medicines has extended the lifespan of people with HIV/AIDS.
HIV continues to spread rapidly in developing nations, and access to affordable medications is negligible. While NGOs are spearheading the fight to get international funding for programs that focus on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs in the developing world, smaller nonprofits are also on the ground and working against AIDS every day.
*Visit www.UNAIDS.org for more information on the problem and on AIDS charities, what is being done, and how you can help.
The Family Care Foundation (FCF) acts as an incubator for effective philanthropic ideas and entrepreneurial leadership, providing humanitarian services. The FCF also trains and lends technical assistance to organizations worldwide which work to enhance the quality of life for all members of the global community, especially those who are poor, suffering, or are otherwise disadvantaged.
*For more information on the Family Care Foundation and how you can help, visit www.familycare.org.
While everyday life abounds with small opportunities to help and be generous to others, there also exist more structured routes through which you can funnel your sense of charity.
The term charity (plural: charities) thus also describes those that have been set up and are operated for philanthropic, educational or religious reasons, including (but not limited to) the relief of poverty, the advancement of education, the support for medical research, and religious causes. The recent trend away from paternalistic terminology has precipitated a general switch from the use of the term "charity" to the use of the term "nonprofit organization."
Political correctness aside, nonprofit organizations - including charities, charitable trusts, charitable foundations, religious institutions, educational institutions, and other entities set up not to make a profit but to make a difference—are federally registered with a charitable status that allows an organization to issue tax receipts for donations, and involves rules and regulations about governance, advocacy and operations that may provide a higher level of accountability than non-charities.
The term "charity" derives from Christian theology, in which charity is one of the three great moral virtues (it means loving kindness towards others). Though the term charity itself is from the Judeo-Christian tradition, this fraternal regard for a kindness toward others is inherent across traditions:
• The ancient Greeks used the term "agape" (or love) to describe a person's seemingly innate inclination to help others.
• In Islam, the term "hubb" or "mahabbah" denotes tenderness and affection, and often results in "sadaquah," or almsgiving.
• In Buddhism, there exist multiple kinds of charity, but pure charity is considered the best merit a person can possess.
This sense of charity translates into a moral duty to help others, often through self-sacrifice. In its most common incarnations, such self-sacrifice includes the giving of money or goods to those less fortunate, or the donation of time to help others in need.
You really did them a charity! "How charitable of you!" We say such things to applaud kindnesses - but what does it really mean? Generally, charity is known less as the inclination toward kindness that it describes than as the action that it engenders.
Charity is also the act of self-sacrifice for the benefit of others, the giving of money or of aid, the being generous and full of sympathy and understanding. Charity can be giving your spare change to a homeless person, or writing a check to an organization that does research on medicines for sick children. Charity can be spending time with lonely elderly people, or it can be offering sympathetic words to someone who is having a hard day.
The translation of your sense of charity into action can be as small as letting someone cut ahead of you in traffic when you are in a rush, or as large as a million-dollar donation to an organization that provides disaster relief or any number of other public services. There are innumerable opportunities every day to put charity into action.
In recent years, the number of charitable organizations based in the United Kingdom has grown as charities have taken over services that used to be provided by the state, such as health, old age and unemployment services.
As of early 2005, more than 200,000 charities were registered in the UK. England and Wales have a registry board through which charities based in those areas are listed; Scotland has its own registry. Northern Ireland's charities are not regulated by a central body, but are registered locally.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|