Giving to charity is embedded in cultural and religious traditions that go back hundreds of years. But today, on 5 September 2016, the UN’s International Day of Charity, why is giving to charity still such an important thing in the modern world? Imogen Champagne gives you her top 5 reasons you should embrace splashing cash on the charity of your choice today.
1. You’re doing yourself a favour
First things first – you like it. You know you do. And science knows you do, according to researchers at the University of Oregon. Their study, supported by the National Science Foundation, found that when people give money to good causes, pleasure senses deep in their brains ignite. This is especially true for altruistic people; whose senses positively TINGLE with excitement at the thought of giving a large chunk of their money away to a good cause. So go on, do yourself a favour and splash some cash on your favourite charity and make yourself feel good at the same time.
2. It promotes generosity in your children
If you’ve gone mini versions of yourself and your partner running around out there in the world, you want to instill some good values in them. When they see you giving to people who really need it, they’ll do the same. Grace heard her Mum and Mum’s friends talking about the children they sponsor at Sunrise. She was moved by hearing stories about children just like her in different countries and different situation so she started fundraising. She made decorations and sold them for $2 each. She raised $310. Next, Grace held a bake sale and raised even more money. Not only is Grace developing into an amazing, giving, generous child, but she’s got more drive and entrepreneurship in her 10 years than most adults!
3. Charities know exactly who to help and how
It’s pretty common for people to visit a country, make a connection and want to give their money to that person directly. And this helps. It does. But the awesome thing about charities is that they have spent YEARS researching, acting, evaluating, optimizing and acting again to make sure that every single cent that comes their way from kind-hearted donors has the biggest impact it can possibly have. They know where to spend money to get the most kids to school, they know where to get the best quality materials to build good houses and the lowest cost and the know how to do it while keeping the money in the local economy and giving that a big boost while they’re at it.
When the operations manager at Kampong Speu, Hem Tola, realised that the 80 girls in school stopped coming to school for a few days every month he wanted to know what was up. Turns out, for 14-year-old girls going through puberty, sharing one dark and dingy toilet block with no privacy with a bunch of boys and younger girls was pretty off-putting. So, Tola built another toilet block with locking doors and lots of privacy. Now, more than 300 girls rock up to school every day. So, if you want your money to hit right where it hurts, a charity is the way to go.
4. It makes real change in people’s lives
You do lots of amazing things in your life. But how often do you actually change people’s lives for the better? Ok, it made your Mum’s day when you bought her a big bunch of roses on her birthday, but think about how much more you could do! Working at a charity, you hear so many amazing stories from the kids, parents, families and communities whose lives have been completely transformed by the generosity of Australian donors. Parents who slept on the street with their kids by their sides and are now sleeping warm and safe in their very own home. 12-year-old kids who had never stepped foot in school and by the time they’re 18 they have been awarded a scholarship to university – real change happens when you give to charities.
5. You’re making an investment in our common future
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon leads of International Day of Charity with the words “Charity is one of the best investments we can make in our common future.” This is so true. Creating a better world doesn’t come from separating yourself from people worse off than you. It comes when you take those people by the hand and drag them up to where you are. Together, your future can be amazing. Separate, not so much. Here’s a simple example of this: something everyone needs to do when they visit Cambodia is to go to Angkor Wat. It’s stunning. It’s a wonder. It will change your life for the better. But if we, global citizens, don’t invest in sustainable education for Cambodian kids, then Angkor Wat might not be around in the future. The knowledge to sustain it and restore it won’t be in the hands of the people and your grandkids and their grandkids won’t have the incredible experience you had as you sat by the lily pond waiting for the sun to rise silver over the peaks of Angkor.
Got the charity fever? Give now to Sunrise Cambodia to invest in our common future, change lives, show your kids what generosity looks like, make your dollars go further and give yourself a treat. Donate here.