There are great benefits derived from helping others. Obviously the person we help is benefited. But the person who gives also benefits. They learn to see something beyond themselves. The old adage is that the best way to find yourself is through helping others.
So the next question is who to help, and perhaps how to help.
Charity organizations exist to help others. This is often the best way for individuals with some resources to help other individuals in need. But which charity?
One common criteria for assessing a charity is looking at how much money is used to help the people in need and how much goes to administration. But this can be misleading. Some charities have huge overheads, yet give far more to the needy that other charities. The public can become mislead here because they assume that the charity is making a personal profit. But it’s not about personal profit, it’s about paying employees to run the charity and help others. Overheads are not the only measuring stick.
A charity that reaches and benefits many people, that continues to operate for decades with a sizeable overhead is better than a charity that is less effective, and that doesn’t very last long.
The difficulty of the situation that a charity faces is another factor. A charity may seem ineffective if they are dealing with a difficult social problem. But that does not mean that the people held back by that social problem are any less in need, or any less deserving of our help. Some charities dedicate themselves to the hard-luck situations. And hopefully a breakthrough will come sooner or later.
Being able to follow the progress, and hopefully the success, of a charity is beneficial. It shows that our efforts are not in vain, that both the charity and the recipients of our donations are legitimate. One of the best options here is child sponsorship. Receiving progress reports an letters from a child show that the donations and efforts bear fruit.