Posted tagged ‘Charity’

Four small ways to give

September 4, 2018

We all want to make a difference.

There are so many worthwhile charities and nonprofits to choose from, but many of us don’t have a lot of money to donate. Or maybe we aren’t ready to make a commitment through a will or trust.

Every gift matters.

We don’t have to wait until we’re “successful” or have a lot of money to support a cause we feel passionate about.

You’ve probably heard of these ideas before, but here are four small ways to give that can have a big impact.

Loose change. We can start small, by collecting loose change in a piggy bank and writing the name of a nonprofit on it. There are also bank accounts, debit cards, and credit cards that will “round up” our purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer it into a savings account.

Birthday gifts. The older we get, the less we need – and the more we can buy for ourselves. Instead of buying a gift or throwing a party, ask family and friends to donate to your favorite charity or nonprofit. Some social media companies will help us create a birthday fundraiser, set a fundraising goal, and may even make a small contribution.

Matching donation fundraisers. One of the easiest ways to make our donations go further is to contribute to a matching donation campaign. In September, we could choose the Foodland Give Aloha Campaign, which matches each donation up to $250,00 for all organizations combined. If we shop at Foodland or Sak-n-Save, we can make donations right from the check-out line. Golfers and golf fans might like this one: In November through January, we could choose the Aloha for Hawaii Charities Campaign, through the Sony Open in Hawaii, which gives charities a “bonus boost” if they raise at least $1,000 in donations.

Changing beneficiaries. We can give a donation in the future, without committing to a specific dollar amount today. All we need to do is name a nonprofit as a beneficiary on a checking account, savings account, or retirement plan. We don’t need a lawyer, we don’t need to specify an amount, and we can change beneficiaries at any time.

How do you give back to our community? Which charities and nonprofits do you support – and why do you support them?


3 questions about charity, responsibility, and government

July 14, 2015


noun: 1. benevolent goodwill toward others. 2. generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless. 3. An organization that helps people in need.

Hawaii is a truly giving state. In 2014, an inspiring 93% of Hawaii households donated money or goods, or volunteer their time in the community, according to the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Hawaii Giving Study 2015. Households of all income levels increased their giving and volunteering. Around the nation, people are giving more and planning more of their giving.

But it seems as if there are more people in need than ever. Here are three giving numbers to think about:

  1. $2.76 billion: the amount the Hawaii Department of Human Services spent on social programs in 2014 (State of Hawaii Department of Human Services Annual Report on Fiscal Year 2014, FY 2014 Budget).
  1. $597 million: the amount Hawaii residents donated to charities and nonprofits in 2014, of which $418 million (70%) stayed in the state, according to Hawaii’s Giving Study 2015.
  1. 4,250: the number of charitable organizations registered with Hawaii’s Tax and Charities Division (as of July 10, 2015).

I was raised with my grandmother’s generosity. A devout Christian, she gave money to her church, pastors, and missionaries. She volunteered at her church and always set aside money to give to others, before she spent money on herself. She worked part-time, but it was usually for her spending money. She didn’t have to worry about paying bills or balancing a checkbook.

My husband gave me a different perspective on charity: he believes that we donate enough money to charities through our taxes, and he doesn’t feel the need to give more. Of course, I knew that our taxes pay for social services, but I hadn’t really connected taxes with “giving” before. I couldn’t argue with his viewpoint; unlike my grandmother, I worry about paying bills and budgeting. But the difference is that I choose where to give, and government chooses for me.

I don’t have any easy solutions or cost-saving ideas to helping people who need food, medical services, or housing. I don’t want to blame anyone for their circumstances or blame government for not taking care of people. This week, please think about three broader questions about charity and responsibility:

* Why do more people need help? If people need help, they usually turn first to family and friends, then to the community, and finally to government. But today, we have more single-parent families, smaller families, and families that live farther away from each other. Has government become the “family” we turn to for help? Do we expect more help, for longer periods of time, when we fall on hard times? Did we stop helping individuals and families because government became responsible for charity?

* How did we get here? Government has created a social “safety net” for all of us, not just the most vulnerable for a limited amount of time. Did government, though lawmakers and legislation, end up helping people because it meant winning elections, or because the community couldn’t? Does the community, through churches and charities, end up helping people because the government is ineffective?

* What is the most effective balance between government services and local charities? Government has the advantage of legislation, greater funding, economies of scale, and a network of other agencies to call upon. Local charities have the advantage of first-hand knowledge of an issue, a first-name basis with people in need, quick response time, and volunteers who can help keep costs down.

What charities and organizations do you support? Why do you give?

Three ideas for better charities

December 7, 2010

We try to be generous and help our neighbors, even in touch times. In 2009, 92% of Hawaii households donated to charity, according to Ward Research (“A Report on Charitable Giving in Hawaii,” 8/09). We try to choose charities that can make the best use of our donations. But how can we choose effective charities?

There are 1,451 registered charitable organizations in Hawaii as of June 2010, all of them competing for our attention, our time, and our money. That number doesn’t include all the national and international non-profit organizations asking for our support.

The number of charities reflects our aloha spirit, but I think we need fewer charities in Hawaii. So here are three ideas to help make charities more effective, and put charity organizers in touch with each other.

* Let’s consolidate charities. If charities with similar backgrounds and objectives merged together, they could share their capabilities, resources, volunteers, and donors. Smaller charities have more help raising money, filling out grant applications, and finding the right people.

* Let’s donate directly to the charities that we support – and reduce the number of charities that raise money and pass that money on to other charities. By donating to a fundraising organization, we reduce the amount that is actually spent on programs and services.

* Let’s partner with existing charities before starting a new charity. Or consider a bequest or scholarship fund as a memorial. We may not have the same impact or control, but we’d be working with an established and trusted organization.

I know that sometimes, a little money can make a big difference. But fewer charities would be able to raise more money and accomplish more. What do you think?