Sewing for Charity

Have you ever thought about putting your sewing machine to good use for the benefit of the community and others? There are so many worthy causes that you can take part in. Your generosity can change lives. A cursory online check will let you know which projects you can participate in; within your locality or even internationally.

So how can you participate in sewing for charity?

  • Donating sewing machines

You may have a sewing machine that is collecting dust in your house because no one uses it; how about giving it to someone deserving. The Salvation Army will accept sewing machines that are still in good working order. All you need to do is allocate some time and drop it off at one of the collection points.

  • Volunteer to teach

You can share your skills with other people by volunteering your services as a tutor. Some organizations teach new skills to individuals who have been through hard times. Domestic violence shelters and homeless shelters help people rebuild their lives. You never know; by teaching someone how to use a sewing machine, you could be changing a life entirely.

  • Donations

With your love for sewing, you are always making new stuff. You probably have items you no longer use. Collect such items and drop them off to the nearest collection point or the Salvation Army. You can also drop them at your church, children homes, among others.

The donations can also be in the form of specific items. Cancer support facilities, for example, need special bags for palliative care. Patients need personal effects bags and syringe bags, among others.

Activity mats are helpful for people who have autism, dementia, or head trauma. If you have a particular skill in that area, you could donate such items to the caregivers or facilities. Your local hospital should be able to advice on how you can help.

Do not throw out any old sewing patterns. Together with your sewing machine, you can donate them to those who need them. Goodwill or Salvation Army accepts such donations. You can also identify any sewing clubs or schools so that younger people can benefit from them.

  • Volunteer services

Volunteer your sewing services to organizations or homes that cater to the needy. Typical children’s home, for example, will have many sewing or repair needs. By donating your services, you save them from having to hire someone to do the work.

Sewing for charity allows you to put your sewing machine to good use. Whether you are donating actual items or even your time, you can change someone’s life. Do not throw out any sewing items you are no longer using. Patterns, thread, sewing machines are some of the items someone else can find good use for. You can donate your time to teaching other people some essential sewing skills. With such actions, you get to arm someone else with the ability to perhaps earn an income or save some money from what you teach them. All you need to do is identify a worthy cause and pass on your love for sewing.

Reaching Out to the Community

People who know me also know that I am all about community outreach. I support the process of addressing the needs of people in my region (I live in New Mexico). I have been part of the charity circuit for a long time. My mission is to encourage others to follow my lead and play a part in a vital enterprise. All you need to do is read about various organizations and select those of immediate interest. You can help the homeless, provide service at a home for the aged, support the elimination of animal abuse, or work with kids in any capacity. There is always need for your time and/or money.  I do both.

Here is how it works for me. I volunteer a day here and there for a particular charity organization that is helping rebuild part of a church that burned down in a wildfire that spread rapidly to adjacent structures. You might expect a religious group to fund its own cause, but help is needed to bring about the actual work in a timely manner. It is not always about money. In this case, the church did not have a reserve fund but it does having caring parishioners. They promptly organized a volunteer group to address demolition and new construction.

This is the kind of grass roots project I love to see happen. It shows how volunteerism works and how a charitable program operates, especially on an emergency basis. I am usually first on anyone’s list in my area when it comes to manual labor. People know I will make time and use whatever skills I possess. Oddly enough, I don’t have any real talent in construction and was surprised to be included in the newly assembled building posse. In fact, I am rather leery of power tools since my cousin had a minor accident with one and almost lost a finger. Fortunately he did not, but it still reminds me of the danger of getting into something outside your purview.

Where there’s a will, there’s always a way. When I arrived at the church and joined the group of volunteers, I noticed a variety of materials and tools. They were being handed out with each person selecting what they wanted to use. I spied a paint spray gun from Paint Spray Pro and immediately glommed onto it. This was the perfect device for me. Not much danger of injuring yourself with a bit of stray paint! The “construction boss” said he would show all of us how to wield our chosen gadget and in what order our services would be needed. You don’t just jump in when it comes to renovation. There is a proper order to things. The paint comes in at the end so I had to bide my time and be patient. I elected to run and get sandwiches for the crew. I could make myself useful while I waited for my turn. I was rather looking forward to finishing off the project with a lovely color.

Silent Auction

How active are you in your community? Rate yourself on a scale from one to ten. If you are hovering near the bottom, listen up. It is vital for citizens to play their part in any way they can by supporting local causes as a volunteer, by giving money, or donating goods to reputable charities. Society cannot function optimally if people bury their heads in the sand. Even a small gesture is meaningful, especially if it is the start of a personal commitment to the public good. My advice to you is that all charity matters. It is my philosophy, so let it be yours. You don’t have to be rich to count. It is a matter of numbers; the more people participate in the community, the stronger and healthier it will be.

I am always pleased to see how people step up at critical times. In my area, we have a serious homeless problem and I support a charity that conducts silent auctions to raise money for local shelters. I help collect items and they can range from appliances and clothing to jewelry and watches. I was delighted to see a nice Invicta watch given for a recent auction since I knew it would draw multiple bids. These watches are extremely popular and you see them all around. The watch came from a neighborhood store who donates something of value each and every year. I went in to thank the owner and took a gander at all the fabulous watches in the case. I would love a new one, so maybe I will bid on the Invicta. The owner said that he would replace the donated watch (for a man) if the winner was a woman. I could then choose from several designer models.

The auction was well attended as we had hoped. After the chairperson for the day gave a rousing speech about homelessness and the need to eradicate it, the bids started to multiply. Toward the deadline, there was a flurry of activity. I noticed a line standing in front of the Invicta watch on display. I knew our charity would make a good profit once this item was sold.

Even though I bid on the watch, I didn’t win. I have my limits. The watch went for over its retail price, but people know that silent auction prizes are a tax deduction. Most of the time, they hope to get a deal and secure something below cost. While this often happens, it was not the case on this particular day. People went that extra mile to bid on everything up to the max in support of homelessness. It is a topic that brings tears to the eyes. The chairman had spoken of even children living on the street with single parents. Some of the luckier ones slept in cars. He gave the numbers that shocked the crowd. Today’s event was a great step forward in lowering the incidence of homelessness. We were proud of our success.

Another Successful Auction

If you hook yourself onto my star, you will have to get into charity fundraising. I expect to attend an auction or supportive event at least once a month. I am on everyone’s mailing list of course. I help out and volunteer since I can’t give grand; but maybe you can. It is so important to be a part of your community. Think big, select an organization for a donation, and go for a nice sum. Every charity needs more money and we wrack our brains for new ideas to capture kind-hearted people and bring them into the fold. One of the best ways is a charity auction that features super nice items that people want and therefore they will bid on them. You must get these items donated from local companies so there is no expense involved. It is good to have a variety of coupons for dinner at popular restaurant, days at the spa or salon, baskets of wine and cheese, jewelry and accessories. Men love sports memorabilia so don’t fail to include some. Now if you are running a charity auction, also go for the big time and get something like a top rated inflatable SUP and add a couple of free lessons for a willing instructor.

These inflated paddleboards are becoming more and more popular with people who live near a lake or river, or better yet the shore. They are durable and long-lasting and easy to deflate, fold up, and store. You can attach them by means of a D-ring to a boat or a dock. They have a nonslip surface which makes them easier to ride. You get better balance and avoid falling off. We made a display of the deflated board and a big photo of someone riding the waves at the beach. It looked easy and fun. The instructor promised me it made for a good time and we would secure many bids. I was so sorry that I couldn’t afford to get it and outbid the first people who raced to the auction table once the doors were open. I watched as the bids climbed and reveled in the thought that the charity would make a bundle. We should get a board donated every year. The water recreation supply company did not say no. Once we explained where the money would go, they are on board, pun intended.

If you have never tried an inflatable paddleboard, you are in for some adventure. They are just as sturdy, made of PVC and a special stitching construction, and they are certain just as good as the permanent non-inflatable kind. The paddleboard was the big ticket item that brought in a tidy sum. I am so glad we thought of it. It outranked all of the other auction items although in total, they made for a successful event. On to the next one! Each one has a different theme and attendees. Sometimes there is a lavish dinner for which people pay a hefty price. It’s another world, my friend.

Dress Down Day

Who remembers a time when there was such a thing as “dress for success?” There were rules that someone made up about what is appropriate at work and what is not. It was almost as if you wore a uniform: a navy blue suit, a white blouse, and a maroon string tie under the collar. If you wore this garb, you were assured of a promotion and a raise. People now say what a croc. You can wear most anything to work these days unless there is a strict dress code. Many companies have them and I for one am appreciative. People look nice and professional and perhaps it actually affects their work ethic. Imagine that. How you dress makes a difference to productivity. It isn’t a novel idea. While dress for success has runs its course, there is a certain demeanor that one is expected to have at work. This is particularly true if there are clients and visitors in the office or special events and conferences.

I do have these occasions that I host and am expected to set a good example. It is not a high-tech work atmosphere where torn jeans and a work shirt will do. You stand out like a sore thumb if you don’t comply. I don’t mind dressing up for work when the situation merits it and we do get breaks now and then. We have a dress down day now and then when we can kick back in some casual clothes and a comfortable pair of flip flops. If you want to have a good laugh, my flip flops are not rubber but are made out of nice leather. Why would I indulge? For dress down day. Flip flops are not Just Beach Things. A nice pair can accessorize any outfit from pants to sweats. They come in many different colors and even patent leather. They are the best flip flops I know. I wear them to the grocery store to do my shopping and to run errands everywhere. They don’t fall apart like the rubber kind and look like hell. You know the kind: the ones that cost a dollar at the drugstore. Meanwhile the leather ones are sold in nice department stores by brands like Coach. They are for people who want to wear flip flops in style.

So when dress down day comes, I am ready. There is a limit, however, as to how far to go. There is a trend now to wear pajamas in public. This is not my speed. Just give me some pants and a blouse and I am “business casual.” Let the torn jeans stay in the closet for a day at the park running with the dog. We don’t do casual Friday every week like many companies so it keeps people in check. Nothing is outlawed on dress down day so it is fun to see what people conceive of as non-business clothing. I am not the only one wearing flip flops by the way. They are very popular.

Outdoor Gala

A local golf course is under new management, and they contacted me to see if I had any upcoming events that would be appropriate to host there. They wanted to offer up their location free of charge to show the property and catering service off to prospective new members (aka my guests) and to possibly entice other people to have events there. It sounded great to me, although I didn’t have anything I thought would work there at the time. I decided to take them up on their generosity, though, and create a charity event for them instead.

I went through my usual go-to list of artists and craftspeople and was able to scrounge up several items to be auctioned. The proceeds—or in some cases, the whole amount—would be donated to a charity of the artists’ choosing. It was a bit late to do much print marketing, so I went the electronic route, blasting messages on social media instead. I did, however, let several print and online media sources know about the event, and most told me that they would be attending. When I reported back with a head count to the host site, including some of the promised press, they were very pleased. Honestly, so was I! I love getting my friends and neighbors together to do great things for this community. This was one of those dream assignments: I got to plan a party, raise money for charity, and support a local business all at the same time. I didn’t really see a way that this could turn out poorly.

And then we got some bad weather. As in, unseasonably cold weather. Now, I had guests coming who were going to be dressed up, so think women in sleeveless dresses. Normally we would have just moved the event indoors, but the new management had decided to renovate the clubhouse and it wasn’t finished yet! That started full-on panic mode until the new event planner walked me off the ledge by offering to rent some patio heaters for my guests instead.

Problem solved!

They did a wonderful job with the décor and showcasing the art that was up for auction. The heaters were both unobtrusive and very effective. Many of the female guests thanked me profusely for thinking to add them, expressing surprise both at the unseasonably cold weather, and the effectiveness of the patio heaters. I was so relieved to hear that the guests were comfortable and enjoying themselves. We ended up raising $1,200 for various charities, which wasn’t bad for an event I had three weeks to set up. I also heard afterwards that the strategy paid off for my generous event hosts—they were contacted about booking at least three other events. They also enticed several golfers to schedule tee times for the following week. What a creative way to kick off new ownership!

I am hopeful that after more people read the press coverage of the event that even more people will schedule bookings or come to check out the golf course, although only time will tell!

Upgrading and Renovating

I have accumulated many items of jewelry, some with precious stones, over the years by bidding on things in silent auctions for charity. Immediately they go into the safe in my closet. It does double duty as a gun safe as well since I have one firearm that I am permitted by law to keep on my premises or to carry as a concealed weapon. I bought this many years ago after a spate of burglaries in my area, and given my jewelry collection, I wanted to deter robbers, especially those that had even more evil in mind.

I value what I have amassed on behalf of various causes and don’t want to see a single piece of jewelry go missing. However, as the collection has grown, it has taken over the needed space for the gun. I need a new safe that is a bit larger but still fits within a reasonably small area. I am looking for something more compact yet allows for one or more pistols and a jewelry case or two. The current safe can easily be lifted and dragged away, so I seeking a built in or something that can be bolted down.

I am planning on an electronic lock as I here tell they are easy to operate as long as you don’t forget the combination. I know you have to replace the batteries now and then, but I am pretty good at remembering things. I don’t need anything too fancy or expensive such as a biometric gun safe you can open using your voice or fingerprints. While I love things that are state of the art, this feature seems excessive for what I now own.

I want my new safe to be fireproof as well and have the requisite seals that react to heat and close off any openings. I can then place important documents inside along with the gun and bling. Since no one will see the safe, it doesn’t matter if it has hinges on the door inside or out. I don’t need a custom sleek design. I am going for the basics that are most practical and affordable.

I know many people keep their safes under the bed and this seems so obvious. It is the first place a thief will look and he will force you to open the unit in the hope of finding cash. In the closet, bolted to the wall behind my clothes, the safe will be less conspicuous. I would get there before the robber and stave off any ransacking of my apartment. Yes, guns must be used at critical times in one’s life for security and protection. But you have to know what you are doing and have the maximum of self-control.

So I expect to be covered in terms of fire, flood, and earthquake damage and to ward off home invaders. I do not expect to carry the weapon in a holster on my person. I have made this personal decision to eliminate rash actions and retaliation from assailants. Some people differ on this point, but I feel that mugging isn’t going to be imminent.

Awesome Score for a Great Charity

Hey, everyone! I just couldn’t wait to log in and tell you all the great news! I’ve been working for two weeks now to help out a charity close to my heart—Habitat for Humanity. I really wanted to help one of the local chapters out because they have done such wonderful things for the people here. I asked them what dream items are on their wishlist, and they actually had to get back to me. I guess it isn’t a question they usually get—people typically donate money and then they just go buy what they need. Leave it to ol’ Samantha to make things difficult! I did get a phone call two days later; after deep consultation, they told me they could use a couple of air compressors. However, good heavy-duty ones like what they need aren’t exactly cheap. I told them I would see what I could do. They said they understood if I couldn’t come through. But honestly, dear readers, I just felt like I could not let them down! Especially because they didn’t seem to think it was possible. You know me, I like to make the impossible happen!

So yours truly went to a specialist store near my house called Compressor Force and I talked to the assistant manager. I know, not the best person to start with but she was the only one there at the time and my goal was to rally as many people to my side as possible on the management team. It couldn’t hurt, right? She really wanted to help, so she pitched it to the manager. He was into it too, so he went to the owner. The owner wasn’t big on the idea, and honestly, I don’t blame him. Habitat’s resale store does take away some of his customers. I wasn’t trying to make any enemies here, and so I told him he had every right to make his own decision and say no. I left it at that, but then the next day I got a call from the assistant manager. She told me that the employees were actually willing to donate some of their salaries to buy two compressors, and when the owner found out, he changed his mind! Happy dance!

I called him up right away, before he could change his mind. He did have one request: he asked me if he could stencil his store’s logo on the side and I thought that was a really good way to show some good faith and keep him happy. After all, the volunteers who use the equipment might want one of their own and now they’ll know where to get it. It feels like everyone wins this way. The owner’s putting the stencils on today and they should be ready to go by tomorrow!

I cannot wait to pick these babies up and bring them over to the Habitat people. They are not going to believe it. Hopefully, this is the start of more “grand” things for the area, and it just goes to show you that people will step up and be kind in the most amazing ways!

Keeping Your Cool

Working on behalf of charities is a most rewarding experience. It is a labor of love. When you can help others, whatever their respective goals, you feel you have made some kind of mark in life. Your imprint comes from your personal sense of self. The sense of community is dwindling in America as urbanization is rampant; but you can help to foster it if you try. Any place, any time—good work can be done.

In New Mexico, it is a hot, arid place for sure; but it is also beautiful and picturesque. The air is clear and the vistas are long. There is an old west atmosphere and a laid back spirit that never flags. I am proud to be a resident. I work hard on a daily basis to further my causes, and it keeps me busy and proactive. I am always looking for more fellow volunteers.

When working with a group of people on a project, we need to accomplish tasks according to a timeline. However, I believe in kicking back now and then and getting to know everyone a little better. Thus, I find a quiet place to retreat and recline when we are overly embroiled and want to have a glass or two of wine. A crisp, cold chardonnay or pinot grigio does the job of keeping me cool. It does so since it has been chilled at the perfect temperature in the communal wine refrigerator.

This wine cooler was donated by another volunteer who runs a review site and had received one from a manufacturer to test out some time ago and has gotten its share of frequent use. It is the perfect way to store wine for those special times. It holds several dozen in two zones: for reds and whites. Each has a correct temperature setting. People thus have a choice. It is nice that volunteers bring bottles leftover from parties or given as gifts. We don’t often have to buy them. We do, however, have to take care that our stash never runs low and that the unit is operating optimally.

The fridge is so quiet you hardly know it is there except for a very low hum. It is modern and elegant so doesn’t take away from our “décor” such as it is—in a makeshift sort of fashion. In short, it fits right in. It is inconspicuous and demure. No eyesore this beauty! I for one am glad that manufacturers take the time to design utilitarian things so well on the exterior. On the interior, I am impressed how they keep vibrations to a minimum so as not to impact the flavor and quality of the wine. Plus, I love the interior display light and the auto cycle defrost.

In short, I am praising work breaks to the skies (ever blue here in New Mexico) and especially the ones that are long enough to merit pouring a glass of vino. Wine helps you keep your mental and physical cool and as such has no counterpart. Sure, I like sangria, beer, sodas, and mixed drinks. But give me a glass of cabernet sauvignon anytime. Domestic or imported anyone?

Every Dollar Really Does Help


Some people scoff at the idea of giving to charity because they believe that giving to charity is useless unless you can give millions of dollars to the cause. This is patently untrue, and it is an attitude that tends to cede ground to the wealthy donors of the world. Wealthy donors will sometimes be biased in the causes that they choose to support.

Being a charitable donor makes someone a stakeholder, and it is important to make sure that people from all economic backgrounds have that kind of power. As such, it is important to emphasize the reality that every dollar really does make a difference when it comes to charity. Larger donations are great, but many charities are still kept alive due to small and steady charitable donations.

Doctors Without Borders estimates that it takes around thirty dollars to purchase a basic medical kit that will save lives. Thirty people giving a dollar each will collectively save all of those lives. Naturally, all thirty of them giving thirty dollars is going to make a tremendous difference. Thirty dollars is a reasonable charitable donation for a person on a solid middle-class income. A dollar is a reasonable charitable donation for an impoverished person. Middle-class people and poor people both tend to be generous, and many of them have no problem with supplying these sorts of donations.

The people who scoff at relatively small donations are often just trying to rationalize away doing anything at all. People who would rather do nothing will tend to shame people for doing something. Doing a little is always better than doing nothing. In the context of a society in which a lot of people will do a little, then the importance of doing a little is a very good idea to promote.

Giving to Others Really Does Make Us Feel Better

Some people scoff at the idea that charity makes us feel better about ourselves. They figure that this is just something that people say in order to manipulate others into giving to charity, and that it is not a natural inclination that they would have without the requisite social engineering. The entire foundation of society is built on people being willing to help others, naturally, but plenty of people are still resistant to the idea because they take society and a good portion of what it offers for granted in more ways than one.

What I want to tell you is that there is a great deal of scientific evidence stating that giving to others really does feel incredibly good. When given the choice between giving something to others and keeping it for themselves, the people who choose to give something to others reported a higher degree of happiness than the people who were just interested in being self-serving. One of the secrets to being happy in the first place is to help others, which is the sort of conventional wisdom that a lot of people question, but which has a great deal of scientific evidence supporting it.

We evolved this desire to be social for a reason. Humans need each other in order to function in groups, and this is more important for us than it is for the majority of other animals. We would never survive on our own, given that we have fewer protections from the elements than the majority of animals. Our big strength has always been our brainpower. Brainpower, however, isn’t going to help you when you’re alone and you have no resources. Humanity created civilization with the help of other humans, and we wouldn’t have been able to do that if we did not have something of an innate desire to help one another. You tap into that innate desire each and every time you manage to help another person with anything.

Helping someone with something is going to stand out in your memory so much more as well. Lots of people don’t even remember a random sweater that they bought the one time. In a consumerist society, the purchases that people make have a tendency to blur together in one way or another. The times in which people help one another are the sorts of memories that you will save for posterity. They have much more meaning in a person’s life, and they always will.

Giving More Than Time or Money


I think that it’s important to remember that there are plenty of ways of giving something back to the community at large. Plenty of people give their time in the form of volunteer work. Plenty of people give their money and, indirectly, their time in the form of donations. However, plenty of people have a lot of spare goods lying around the house, and these are the sorts of things that people can give to charity just as surely.

Many people have certain food products that they aren’t planning on eating any time soon. People buy things on a whim, or they receive food products that they didn’t want from well-meaning friends, relatives or acquaintances. Lots of canned food drives will accept anything that hasn’t expired yet. Lots of food pantries will accept these sorts of donations as well. People should never simply throw their old food away. Even the stuff that is legitimately no longer fit to eat can at least be useful for the sake of composting.

Lots of the people who might be thinking about donating goods will tend to think small as opposed to big. Really, there are all sorts of organizations that will accept almost any sort of household goods that people can possible name and then some. For one thing, food pantries will often accept donations of toiletries and cleaning products. They’re called food pantries, but they more or less specialize in anything that is essential for the running of a house and a home.

Still though, the people who want to look even further than that are encouraged to donate household appliances, furniture, and many of the other larger household items if they have them available. Far too many people like to spread the idea that furniture, household appliances, and similar items are luxury items. The same people who will argue in favor of income inequality and the right for rich people to own several houses will often say that poor people do not have the right to a donated microwave.

People who are the least bit sympathetic to that worldview should remember that it is very difficult to keep a wide range of inexpensive or healthy food in the house without access to a refrigerator or a microwave. Poor people are very limited in terms of the selection of food that they can choose, and they are even more limited in terms of the amount of time that they have to shop for groceries. Poor people will often need to rely on canned food and processed food, and living off of that without a microwave is tough. Having no refrigerator means no milk, no fruits and vegetables, and no inexpensive meat. Poor people with certain dietary needs may have a very difficult time even getting by without access to a refrigerator.

Life without furniture is very difficult as well. People without furniture have a difficult time resting and recuperating after a long day of difficult work. They often have a hard time staying organized, since they are reduced to just throwing a lot of stuff on the floor. The consumer goods that a good portion of people take for granted actually are part of a healthy and functioning living environment. Fortunate middle class people and wealthy people are encouraged to share their unneeded items with the people who would love to have them.

Goodwill has been a great charity aimed at supplying people with goods for a long time. Habitat for Humanity will take a lot of the goods that people might want to donate as well. Big Brothers and Big Sisters will often accept these kinds of donations.

The Concept of Efficient Charity

One idea that is starting to become more mainstream is the notion of efficient charity as opposed to inefficient charity. It is no secret that certain charities are not run very effectively, and that a good portion of the monetary donations that they receive do not directly go into addressing the cause in question. It is also no secret that the causes themselves will vary tremendously in terms of how much they help society as a whole.

While I love animals, an animal rights charity is going to do very little for society at large, since animals are not part of human society in the way that people are. Given how damaging even the loss of one life can be to a community and to a family, a charity that is aimed at saving lives is going to work wonders for society as a whole. Charities that are aimed at attacking the roots of social problems were very much designed with the rest of society in mind.

I do think that efficient charity is a very important concept to keep in mind. People only have so much money to give to charity, even if they are very wealthy. It makes more sense to give to the organizations that will help the most people. While all charities will help some people, the difference between saving one life and saving hundreds of lives is unmistakable.

However, it is important to remember that adhering to efficient charity is a guideline and not a rule. I don’t want to discourage people from giving to the causes that they personally care about, and I would expect that they would extend the same courtesy to me. All people have certain emotional factors that motivate them to give to charity, and it is important to encourage those feelings. There is nothing wrong with giving to charity for the sake of warm fuzzies.


However, it should be noted that some charities are inefficient not because of the causes, but because the charities are actually doing very little to support the causes in question. All charities are going to need to spend money on their headquarters and meeting places, advertisements, and promotions. Charities like PETA barely spend their money on anything else. Even people who agree with PETA’s cause and tactics should hope that PETA is doing enough to help animals, which is certainly not always the case.

There are charities that are trying to deliberately scam their contributors. However, most of them are simply not run especially well. Making a difference in the world is really difficult. Not everyone is up to the task, which is why it is a good idea for some people to become donors instead of volunteers in the first place. Not everyone is wise enough to make that choice, and charities get headed by people who are not truly qualified for the job.

I would encourage people to research charities before contributing to them. Some charities are so efficient that a contribution of thirty dollars could save a life. Other charities are so inefficient that the donors are just helping them stay afloat, and nothing is really getting accomplished one way or another. Donors need to know which charities are which in advance, or they are going to find that their altruistic tendencies are going to waste.

Giving to Charity Versus Volunteering

Volunteer workers will sometimes speak derisively of charitable donors who just write a check for a given organization without actually contributing any of their time in order to volunteer. The people who hold this point of view are often very hostile about it as well. Some of them will draw parallels about the sales of indulgences during Martin Luther’s time. Other people will just assume that charitable donors are all callous wealthy people who don’t actually care about the causes that they give to, and that they’re just trying to achieve status among their fellow rich people.

I think that this worldview does a huge disservice to everyone involved with charity, and that includes the people that charities were designed to help in the first place.

For one thing, the idea that all charitable donors are rich is empirically false. Middle class people and poor people in the United States have consistently given a bigger portion of their incomes to charity than the rich. Naturally, when rich people do contribute, a comparatively small portion of their discretionary incomes is still going to be larger in terms of the sheer amount of dollars. However, while giving a million dollars to charity when you have twenty million is generous, the person who gives ten thousand to charity while having a net worth of twenty thousand dollars is technically making the bigger sacrifice.

People also should avoid focusing too much on the generous rich people of the world, like Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffett. By and large, wealthy people don’t give most of their money away. The image of the wealth charitable donor may convince some rich people to give away most of their money, but it also does a disservice to the middle class and poor people who really are making a huge sacrifice when they give a certain percentage of their income to charity.

The idea that charitable donors are not giving their time is also wrong in that it misrepresents economics. People need to take into account the time value of money. People spend a good portion of their lives earning money, and that is time that they could have spent volunteering or doing something else. Each dollar represents a certain amount of time that was dedicated towards earning it in the first place. When people donate money to charity, they really are giving their time, but in a very different way.

It should also be noted that not everyone who has a caring heart has a working body. Plenty of people with certain disabilities are not able to go out and do volunteer work. Even doing something like working in a soup kitchen may be difficult for people with mobility problems or problems with pain. People with psychological disabilities like social anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder may have similar problems in that sort of environment. Disabled people should not be shamed for the fact that many of them are not going to be able to help out in the manner of an able-bodied person.