Another blog post about the emotional fitness exercise: Practicing Kindness.  This one, however, is about giving money away wisely.

Giving to charity is practicing kindness, a major emotional fitness exercise.

Giving to charity is practicing kindness, a major emotional fitness exercise, however, some caution is needed.

I often give to the homeless on the streets, even to bums.  I once gave $5.00 to a guy on the Bruckner Blvd who flashed a sign at a red light, saying, “I want to be honest, and I want to buy a six-pack.”  The friends in the car with me all laughed, but criticized me for giving to him.

When walking the mean streets of the Big and Bad Apple, I often dropped a dollar in the begging cup of someone who was already so drunk, they seemed to have passed out.  That sometimes got me dirty looks from other passersby.

I have my reasons for both actions.  The drunks on the street are probably end stage alcoholics.  A little known fact about alcoholism is that withdrawal from drink kills more people than withdrawal from drugs. So that was one reason – hoping to keep the drunk alive so he might get sober.  A feeble hope, but part of my reasoning.

I also have always worked mostly with the neediest and the drunks on the street are far more needy than say the Salvation Army bell ringers.  And yes, I give to the Salvation Army guys and gals.  But the dead drunks pull on me also.

I come as they say in the rooms from a long line of drunks. A few have killed themselves drinking.  So that is also part of the mix that has me giving a bit to the drunks.

The guy with the sign was a professional beggar, self-employed,  and good at his job.  He gave all of us in the car a big laugh.  My donation was paying the laugh.


Tip one:  The self-employed beggar on the street may be more honest or more in need than many charities that seem more worthy.  The most recent edition of the Chronicle of Philanthropy made this point in their lead article:

“Some 60,000 nonprofits in the country have the word ‘veterans’ in their names, and it takes more expertise than the average donor—and certainly the average recipient of a fundraising call at dinnertime—can muster to distinguish between the legitimate and the illegitimate, the effective and the ineffective.

The tip: you work hard for your money, think and explore before you give it away.

Tip two:  Be particularly careful when giving to family based not-for-profit charities.  One such charity sited in the above article paid themselves  outrageous salaries leaving little left over for the people in need.

Tip three: Some church based charities also need a closer eye.  One well-known religious group which touts its charitable work, spent 0.7% of it overall revenue on charitable causes. Compare that figure with the American Red Cross which spends 92.1% of its revenue on the physical needs of those it helps.  

It is also important to remember that religious organizations not only do not pay taxes, but often are given very large  government grants.

Tip four:  Give where you have a personal connection.  I love my synagogue and support it with my dues and by going to its fund-raising events.  Because I am active there, I am confident the money is well spent.

I also support three charities where I know the people starting or directing them.  Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Israel is one.  This charity was founded by a former student, one of the most ethical people I know.

Tip five:   Want to check out a charity? Besides the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Charity Choices is another place to visit.

Tip six: For more of my thoughts and the charities or people I try to support, to visit my Practicing Kindness Pinterest Board.  These speak to my heart, but you need to check them out before donating.  When you give, give carefully, but with your heart fully involved.

Stay strong

Giving and practicing kindness does not always seem come back to you.  This is particularly true if you give expecting rewards or “Thank you.”  So don’t.  Give because it is good for your soul.  Expect nothing in return, and be very grateful for any direct rewards from those you have given to are returned.

Given my coming birthday party and book launch event, my last reminder is in the form of a cranky poster coach of mine.

A cranky old lady rant.

For all you do to support me and others, as always thank you.

As always stay strong, I work at it all the time.


DISCLAIMER ONE: EMOTIONAL FITNESS TRAINING IS NOT THERAPY.  It is a self-care, self-help educational program. Therapy is about healing, Emotional Fitness Training is about strengthening.

DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA.  If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. Dysgraphia is a not well known learning disability and means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are.  If this troubles you, feel free to read elsewhere.  If you persevere, you are practicing kindness by lifting my spirits for that means you find what I say helpful and that is one of my missions. Kindness always repays those who spread it.

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.