By: Justin Ferguson
Some question the importance of giving to charity, others give relentlessly, while others do what they can. There is no necessarily right or wrong answer to the question whether one should give or not but for me, I believe it is important to do what we can. This can take any shape or form and does not simply need to be monetary; many of us can also donate our time or our abilities.
What is amazing though, is how far the simplest of gestures can go to helping somebody else's day be a little better. When you put it in this perspective and you break it down to this level, each of us has the ability to make a better world to live in. However, it remains our individualistic choice to do such.
Some argue there is a "moral obligation or moral duty" to give to charity. I do not follow this mantra; I give what I can because I believe it is the right thing to do, if another person doesn't believe this, then that is their choice. They have their reasons for believing this, the same as I have for giving. I give because it makes me feel as though I am helping out, and it makes me feel good, not because I feel I have a responsibility to do so but because I want to do so.
And, as long as we remember this, we will want to give more. If we follow this mantra we will have given not because we "had to" but because we "wanted to" and giving because we want to will ensure we keep giving. By continuing to give, we will continue to make the world a better place.
One of the greatest philanthropists the world has ever seen - John D. Rockefeller once said: "Giving should be entered into in just the same way as investing. Giving is investing." To continue on the idea from the previous paragraph - that we can make the world a better place by giving to charity, and couple this idea with Mr. Rockefeller's thoughts, we begin to see that by giving to charity we are investing in making the world a better place. This also means that we must choose wisely how we donate our time, money, etc. We must accept that we cannot be everything to everybody but rather know that by doing what we can, we are contributing to making somebody's life just a little bit better.
It always remains our individual choice to give or not. From this perspective even the anti-altruistic Ayn Rand would agree that giving to charity is ok. Because, from this perspective giving to charity is simply the choice of the individual and as long as it remains the choice of the individual for their own reasoning, not out of "moral duty", the individual will find happiness. Rand in her own words said: "What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue." Therefore, she does not reject the idea of giving to charity, only the belief that one has to do so because of an obligation to the greater good.
No matter where one falls on the spectrum of why they give, there is no right or wrong answer as long as they are doing it for their own reasons.
If one decides to give or not, it is up to them, but for me I believe that by doing what we can, we can make the world a better place and to me this is a pretty awesome idea. The thought that the simplest of gestures can have an impact of this magnitude is one that credence must be paid to and why giving to charity is important.