Why We Donate

The short answer is because it’s easy.

Donation (i.e. giving to charities) is an easy way to help others without bothering much. Does that sound a bit too harsh on us who give regularly? Maybe. But there’s probably some truth to it. Many of us give because we want to do some good to the rest of the world and yet realize that we just don’t have what it takes to give just “too much.”

In this short Federalist article below, Huenink writes that donations are not what a poverty-ridden community needs in the long run. The modern humanity’s tendency to want a “quick fix” to everything makes the prospect of dropping off our no-longer-needed household items, clothes, and food to a donation box quite appealing. But in the long run, what a poor community needs is development, not charity:

If charity hurts the poor and increases poverty, why do we do it?

Because it’s easy to spend an hour at the grocery store buying food, or scrounging through the cupboards to find an old can of spinach to donate. There’s no planning. You don’t have to meet new people, or try to understand the complex web of relationships in a new place. You can even think you have all the answers to someone else’s problems.

It’s easy to push our duty to care for our neighbors onto the government, too. But bureaucrats can’t do development. They don’t have the flexibility to make decisions or the time to get to know the people they are helping. They can only plug someone into a program that distributes according a formula written in a legislative chamber or governor’s office far away. Relief is just easy.

Read in full here.

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