Making A Difference By Donating Better

Why do we donate? Out of guilt, altruism, or to give back? The want to contribute has been on a rise lately, but the how and why of donating have left some people confused. The motivations behind donations vary substantially. “Either they want to help other people or feel guilty and view this as a […]

Why do we donate? Out of guilt, altruism, or to give back? The want to contribute has been on a rise lately, but the how and why of donating have left some people confused.

The motivations behind donations vary substantially. “Either they want to help other people or feel guilty and view this as a way of relieving that guilt,” Brenna Kaufman (‘26) says. While this may be a common case, some people are genuinely good and want to help. No matter the reason, every donation counts for charitable organizations.

Advantages from donating are also prevalent. The science shows that people that give back with time more so than money tend to be happier,” Assistant Director of the Lasallian Student Life Office Mrs. Erin Hanshew shared.

Long term and short term studies have proven that people who consistently donate are happier than those who don’t. While gratification from helping others may not be massive, with consistent donations, contentment builds.

Not all donations have to be big — it just matters they come from a place of care. “Every time I go to the grocery store I donate $5,” CB English teacher Ms. Chrys Cassetta says. Consistent donations, even when small, can build up over time to create massive impacts to charitable organizations.

Sentiments around donations are assorted. “I think a lot of charities are corrupt and that’s why I prefer not to donate to a non-profit so I try to give where I can,” says Thuy Nguyen (‘24), who prefers to give money to smaller local causes.

The exploitation of charitable donations is not uncommon. “Some people donate to charity for the tax write offs or better public image,” Ainsley Fong (‘24) says. In the state of California, you can deduct up to 50% of your AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) by donating to charities. Taxpayers can donate assets, such as real estate or stocks, to get a write off while also not having to pay capital gains. However, billionaires are able to donate overvalued assets to private foundations they own and have taxpayers pay for the lost revenue from the donation.

Questions of the legitimacy of charities is a very important issue to consider before donating. It’s important to research the organization more and look into where the funds are really going. Research into the tax filings of charities are cataloged publicly by the IRS with a 990 Form which can be found here by searching for the name of the non-profit. This can be a great way of looking into where your money is going. Doing further research into what events the charities are a part of can make you feel more immersed in your community.

What you donate can also affect your impact. Food banks appreciate any type of donation, but cans are harder to use than money. The deals they get on food and the way they can spend it is more significant than cans. Surpluses in certain canned foods can make excess donations take up space in storage and cause inconveniences. Canned food drives are amazing for spreading awareness and to promote food banks, but the most valuable donations to food banks are money.

Money isn’t the only way to donate — time is extremely valuable to organizations as well. “You become more connected and it’s on a more personal level,” says Trinh Nguyen (‘27) of volunteering. Involvement in the causes you support fosters a greater sense of community and care that can’t be reached with solely money. While it is a large commitment and can be difficult, donating time connects us within our community and can be a great way to spend some weekends.

A basic format for writing a letter to a public official.

Writing letters to your political representative can also help fuel change in humanitarian crises. Look into The Olive Branch blog published by the U.S. Institute of Peace and follow the simple format as shown.

The need to make a difference and help preserve the planet has never been greater. “Those of us who have the wherewithal to help make some change should do so to help out those who maybe can’t or to increase the likelihood that change will happen sooner rather than later,” says CB math teacher Mrs. Annette Romani. Environmental disasters due to climate change are destroying our planet and donations of time and money can help fund research to mitigate damage.

There’s many ways to contribute to the solution for your community, country, or the world. All of these causes matter, and change is necessary for preserving humanity. But that can only happen if we all chip in a bit. Whether it be a penny, a fortune, or time — every piece helps.

Organizations to consider donating to:

  • Habitat for Humanity – “Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps families build and improve places to call home.”
  • ACLU – “The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union — beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.”
  • Amnesty International – “Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 10 million people in over 150 countries and territories who campaign to end abuses of human rights.”
  • Solar Cookers International – “Solar cooking improves the quality of life and provides a way to adapt to a changing world where there is no modern fuel. With solar cooking, women and children breathe cleaner air, save trees and soil, save money for food and education, and stay safe from violence.”
  • The ARC – “Promoting and protecting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.”
  • The Kylee Lillich Foundation – “We are a year round program and have a holiday giving tree. Our non-profit organization is 100% volunteer based. Almost all donations go directly to assisting needy children.”
  • Human Rights Campaign – “Our work centers on three pillars of action to end discrimination and fight for change at every level — and for every single one of use.”
  • The Trevor Project – “We provide information & support to LGBTQ young people 24/7, all year round.”
  • Loaves and Fishes – “In an environment of welcome, hospitality, safety, and cleanliness we seek to provide an oasis for homeless men, women, and children seeking survival services.
  • American Cancer Society – “We are a leading cancer-fighting organization with a vision to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. We are improving the lives of people with cancer and their families as the only organization combating cancer through advocacy, research, and patient support, to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.” 
  • Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation – “We bring together the largest community of IBD patients in the country, and we engage them in the fight against Crohn’s & colitis. Patients are involved in setting our research priorities, contributing data and biosamples to accelerate research, helping design our educational efforts alongside our scientific advisors, and advocating for key public policy issues to legislators.”
  • Alzheimer’s Association – “The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. But we can’t end Alzheimer’s without your help.”
  • The ALS Association – “To discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest.”
  • The Pacific Coast Trail Association – “Since 1977, the PCTA has protected, maintained, and advocated for the Pacific Crest Trail.”
  • Save the Redwoods Leagues – “Save the Redwoods League envisions vibrant redwood forests of the scale and grandeur that once graced the California coast and the Sierra Nevada, protected forever, restored to grow old again, and connected to people through a network of magnificent parks and protected areas that inspire all of us with the beauty and power of nature.”
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