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.
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: