I’m sure all of you have already made a donation to an NGO or a Charity. At least, for Christmas, you may have been asked for a few coins stocked deep from the bottom of your pocket by an adorable teenager who’s has explained you the purpose of the NGO he or she was a member of!
In France, we usually consider that as an individual person, we don’t have to finance Charities because this is why we are paying – each year – taxes. From the end of World War Two, the Welfare State is taking care of everything: education, health, social inclusion…. So, why would we have to donate for structures that are already supported by our taxes?
Most likely, because the needs of a growing population are even more important every day. Our world is becoming competitive with fewer fields for penniless people. Obviously, if middle classe needs increase, it also applies to them. That is why we carry solidarity in the western countries. As we all know, public finances are going through debt rather than to benefits! We will always hear people saying they pay too many taxes (this is a good thing, meaning that they have a good job!) but some others taxpayers also claim to choose which Charities they give their money. Of course, they will have in return taxes exemptions and in some way, they will be the one to decide what to do with public money!
Furthermore, we should remember what President Kennedy said in 1961: “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. Naturally, USA is not France. But, it is important to point out that, each year, 95 % of American citizens make donation (from the local church, to the public hospital, or the private university) when only 45% of European people are donating to charities. Religion and culture both play a huge role in helping us to understand the differences between our two continents. In the Protestant way of behavior and more extensively the Anglo-Saxon environment, wealth is well accepted when for Catholic people, money is not supposed to be showed. I’m sure all of you have heard about the Carnegie Hall or the Rockfeller center. Those two buildings have been built thanks to the generosity of rich business men : those two philanthropists offered close to 1 billion dollars to their fellow citizens rather than their own families !
giving makes you feel good, to others, and to yourself!
If you pay attention to the newspapers over the next days, you will probably noticed ads for giving through the charity. The message will carry a strong headline: “giving makes you feel good, to others, and to yourself! » Being generous helps you to be happy! That’s what said Doctor Michael Mangot according to studies he lead recently (« Heureux comme Crésus ? Leçons inattendues d’économie du bonheur » – éditions Eyrolles). Even if one donator in two (in France) gives less than 100€, you can offer NGOs not only money but also clothes, food, books… however you want to help other people to feel better.
Today, charities cover every topic in our society: poverty, education, heath, environment, animals, culture…. So, no excuses not to help altruistic and philanthropic structures! Especially when you know that they are mostly funded at the end of the year. Perhaps because of the Christmas holidays? Or maybe because we can deduct 66% of the donation from our revenue if we pledge a donation before December 31th? Last but not least; giving to charities makes your rich whatever the amount of your gift!