The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight. Discuss The Unbound Soul Now

The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.

Rationalizing charity payments - win-win?

Discuss morality and ethics in this message board.
Featured Article: Philosophical Analysis of Abortion, The Right to Life, and Murder
Post Reply
Posts: 5750
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Eratosthenes
Location: UK

Rationalizing charity payments - win-win?

Post by Steve3007 » July 5th, 2018, 1:48 pm

Several years ago I had a bit of a think about the various small individual payments that I was making to various charities. It made me think about why we, in general, pay into charities. A large part of it (maybe all of it) must surely be because it makes us feel good. It makes us feel that we've made a difference. So then I thought: "If we're completely honest about this motivation, will it make a difference to the way in which we donate?" The answer, in my case, was "yes".

I felt that the effect of lots of tiny payments was not noticeable to me, and that therefore I was probably less likely to keep on paying if I hit financial hard times myself. Whereas if I choose a single identifiable individual to help (via a charity) and direct all my limited financial resources to him/her then the fact that it's more emotionally rewarding for me will make me more likely to stick at it through the hard times. This will then help my chosen beneficiary.

So I cancelled all other payments (sorry guys) and started sponsoring a single, identified-by-name child in a poor African country. I'm still doing it, despite some financial difficulties.


If this kind of slightly cold rationalization, and open admission of the selfish reasons for donating to charities, helps us to keep paying, is it a good thing?

Posts: 2466
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Rationalizing charity payments - win-win?

Post by Eduk » July 5th, 2018, 1:56 pm

It's only a good thing if donating to that particular charity does more good than other things you could do with the money.
Unknown means unknown.

Post Reply