When you’re walking down the street and pass a homeless person who reaches out their cup to ask for money, do you throw in some coins, or do you continue on your way as if that person’s gesture was nothing more than a shadow? Yeah, maybe they’ll buy booze, but they may actually spend it on food or shelter for the night too. Either way, isn’t it money spent on staying alive one more day or finding a cheap escape from their harsh reality?
When I lived in New York, my mom sent me 20 $1 bills to give to various homeless people, and despite not knowing what they would spend it on, it made me feel good to help them in what little way I could. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, wouldn’t you feel grateful to receive a donation or financial aid of some sort? It might restore your faith in the goodness of humanity even just a little bit.
No matter how much you have in the bank, money is tight, and people have to account for future financial needs. However, it never hurts to pay it forward. The powers that be call it good karma. Whether you’re giving your money to someone on the street or a well-developed organization, that transaction keeps society moving forward. We wouldn’t be as progressive as we are today, if we didn’t have people who believed in each other and businesses.
For me personally, my interest in donating to charity began the year I turned 20, and it erupted into a fiery passion after my first trip with Habitat for Humanity and working alongside some of Detroit’s most creative startups. For my 20the birthday, as a gift, I asked friends and family to donate to a charity of their choice because I realized I didn’t need anything. Every year since then, I’ve made it a tradition to donate money to a different charity, and this year I am pledging my 24th birthday to charity: water.
It has been a dream of mine to travel around the world for years, and now that I’ve made it reality, the next dream on deck is starting a non-profit of my own. I’m still ironing out many of the details, but it has been really exciting to learn how to build a business from the ground up. I’d also love to win the lottery or raise $300 million to host an event and give money away to a myriad of non-profits and charities that help people in need. Seeing the reaction on people’s faces when they receive funding that changes the path of their projects and dreams for the better is what makes giving back so worth it.
Of course, not donating doesn’t make you a bad person, but I think you miss out on building relationships, forming partnerships, and creating connections, community, and collaborations.
I understand the hesitations to invest your hard-earned money in a company you don’t know much about, but you just have to do your research and hope their intentions are good.