To Make World a Better Place

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Charity has always been an integral part of every culture, no matter what phase of development it was going through. To help your neighbour is a covenant which has gone far beyond religious dogma and has even turned into a philosophy of life for some people. On Christmas and New Year’s Eve people try to do as many good things as they can. But what happens afterwards, when Santa Claus and the angels go on vacation?

In this case a look at statistics is inevitable. On the one hand, statistics show that in recent years people have become less involved in charitable activities. On the other hand, the global web indicates a positive trend in the general field of good works: the internet is becoming one of the most effective platforms for local and international volunteer and charity events.

Can you measure good works?

Is a human trait like charity somehow measurable? Partly, yes it is. For several years the British international charity organization Charities Aid Foundation has conducted research reported in the World Giving Index, which rates charitable giving country-by-country. The most recent edition describes the situation between the years 2007 and 2011. During period the British concluded that although British citizens are trying to help other people around the world, in some countries charitable giving is done more willingly than in the U.K. In general, the result was disappointing: the number of people involved in the philanthropic process is falling.
Before reading the ratings, try to answer three questions that respondents were asked during the survey:
Did you engage in any of these activities during the last month:donated money to non-profit organizations, worked in non-profit organizations as a volunteer or assisted a stranger in need?

Australia – the most generous country in the world

High level of involvement of Australia’s population in all three types of charity made it the leader in the World Giving Index 2012. More than two-thirds of Australian citizens donate money to NGOs or provide direct assistance to people in need every month. More than a third of citizens act regularly as volunteers. Moreover, Australia has led the ranking in the three types of charitable activities over the last five years.

The research indicates that in 2007, 47% of the surveyed populations provided assistance to those in need, and by 2011 this figure had fallen to 45.1%. Donations to NGOs had decreased by nearly half a percent. But the most frustrating information is that involvement in volunteer work has dropped down to 18.4% from 21.4% over the last five years.

According to the report of the Charities Aid Foundation, in terms of regional differences, Oceania prefers donations to direct aid, while Africa if compared to Europe and Asia has the highest percentage of those who provide assistance directly.

Eastern Europe
Here Slovakia is the leader. In the world ranking of the three types of charity Slovakia has the highest position in monetary donations in Eastern Europe – it is the 35th in the world rankings. The Republic of Moldova, which is the second in the region, has the highest index of direct aid to those in need – 41%. The third place goes to Belarus, which has the highest rate in volunteering: here, three out of ten citizens are involved in volunteer work each month.

Western Europe

Ireland is the leader in the rankings among the North European countries. It is a leader in all three types of charity: 79% of people here make donations, 34% act as volunteers, and 66% assist people in need. Due to such high rates, Ireland is the second in the World Ranking of charity.
It is sad but true that young people all over the world today make fewer charitable donations as compared to citizens over 50 years of age – the difference is about 10%. If this fact can be explained by the lack of available funds or unstable social and financial position of young people, the figures revealed in the category of volunteering are more difficult to explain.

The graph below shows the average percentage of the population who acted as volunteers in the countries where the survey was conducted during the period from 2007 to 2011. Specifically, it represents the percentage of citizens who acted as volunteers in the month preceding the survey.

Volunteering around the world: different age groups

Traditional forms of volunteer aid are now given much less attention by the age group from 15 to 34 years. In the fraction of the population surveyed their number amounted to slightly below 22 percent while middle-aged people (34 to 49 years), on the contrary, are ahead of young adults in the pursuit of volunteerism.

According to the Financial Times, the volume of the largest endowments in the United States has  fallen from $ 43 billion in 2007 to $ 11 billion in the 2012th. It is the absolute annual minimum from the year 2000. 

False bottom

The internet has become one of the most effective ways of raising money for charity. Tens of thousands of websites in different languages ​​urge us to donate to individuals experiencing health problems or to save the entire population of Aboriginal people. Money is being collected for pollution eradication, for ending the killing of whales, and for the treatment of a neighbor’s dog which was hit by a car. None of the Research Bureaus or National Banks on the planet has a complete understanding of how much funding goes through such websites.

Prominent public figures and Hollywood stars also donate online. Charity has turned into something commercial: various forms of social and legal misconduct are forgiven and great tax credits are made available to the rich and generous for an extra ten thousand dollars lent to rescue Africa from starvation. Hundreds of funds are named after their founders, who, we have to admit, are not always sincere in their impulses. Some time ago modesty was a virtue, and ostentatious good works were considered bad form. And what now? When did doing good start to turn into a dishonest business?
In August the next fiscal scandal erupted in Britain. It turned out that despite the drop in charity volumes, wages of the heads of the 14 largest British charitable organizations had grown by 60 percent. According to The Telegraph, some of the top managers of such funds as Save the Children and the British Red Cross earned more than the British Prime Minister in 2013, or more than 142.5 thousand pounds.

Is it worth experimenting on the Internet?

Facebook and Twitter are also known to be used for charity. When the user clicks “Share” or re-tweets a special message, a certain amount of money is automatically transferred to a charitable fund or to a person who needs help. Thus, American activists were able to collect about $ 10,000 in 2009 for the blogger Drew Olanoff, ill with cancer. It was one of the first actions of such kind on Twitter.
Recently, internet scams have become an acute problem for charities. It used to be that swindlers pretended to be beggars, collecting pennies on the porch or forcing young children to beg for alms in the squares. Now, there appear bogus websites and events in which we are asked to take part and save someone from a deadly disease. Speculators are not averse to using pictures of unfamiliar children with cancer or people deprived of their limbs to arouse compassion and a desire to help in the hearts of ordinary people.

Face to face

For those who believe that charity in the form of cash donations treats the symptoms but does not eliminate the cause, the only solution is to help directly. This approach is practiced most often in Africa. In every major city there can be found an organization where you will find contacts of people and funds, which will offer you, instead of financial aid, simple human communication and support if necessary.

Example from Vatican City

Pope Francis donated a gift bike to help the poor. According to the Catholic charity Caritas Roma, a Harley Davidson, recently presented to the Pontiff by bikers, will be sold at auction. The proceeds will be allocated to reconstruction of a dining room and dormitory for the poor. According to Italian media reports, Pope Francis recently sent a check for 200 euros to a woman from Venice, who wrote him a letter of desperation after she had been robbed of a purse containing money borrowed to buy medicine for her husband.
Nevertheless the essence of charity remains the same – good morals, compassion, unselfishness and a desire to make the world better. Read the school lecture on the dangers of smoking or donate money online to fight teen drug abuse. The choice is always yours.

Parable
A man was walking along the beach and suddenly saw a boy who picked something up from the sand and threw it into the sea. The man came closer and saw – these were starfish. The boy was surrounded by them. It seemed like there were millions of starfish at the shore, it was covered with them for many miles.
-Why do you throw these starfish in the water? – The man asked, coming closer.
-if they stay on the beach until morning, the tide will come in and they will perish, – said the boy, and continued his activity.
-But that’s just silly! – The man shouted. – Look around! Here are millions of starfish; the beach is just littered with them. Your efforts are useless, you will not change anything!
The boy picked up the next starfish, stopped for a moment, then threw it into the sea, and said:
-No, my attempts will change a lot … For this starfish.

The YT team has prepared a short list of the websites where you can research charities or donate on-line

Charity Navigator works to guide intelligent giving. This web-resource aims to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace, in which givers and charities support work in tandem to overcome the nation’s and the world’s most persistent challenges. Charity Navigator is a non-profit organization under the US Internal Revenue Code and does not accept any contributions from any of the charities they evaluate.

GlobalGiving is a charity fundraising web site that gives social entrepreneurs and non-profits from anywhere in the world a chance to raise the money that they need to improve their communities. Since 2002, GlobalGiving has raised $92 million from 342 thousand donors who have supported 8,626 projects. The project aims at changing the way people give, offering donors a transparent, high-impact giving experience. You choose where you want your money to go, and GlobalGiving gets it there, quickly and efficiently.

Britain’s World Vision is the world’s largest international children’s charity. The organization works alongside communities in close to 100 countries to bring about long-term change and responds quickly to the emergencies that affect more than 250 million people around the world each year. World Vision focuses on three key areas: child protection, child health and emergency relief. Also, there is an opportunity to sponsor children.

RedRover was founded in 1987. The mission of this organization is to bring animals out of crisis and strengthen the bond between people and animals through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. RedRover accomplishes its mission by engaging volunteers and supporters, collaborating with others and maximizing the use of online technology.

Women for Women International provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies. Since its creation, Women for Women International has given hope to more than 351 thousands survivors of war and conflict and has distributed $108 million in direct aid, microcredit loans, and other program services.

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