Our Charities: How Charitable Are They?

I was recently invited to write an article on ‘service to others’ for my yoga organisation’s magazine. This led me to ponder on what ‘service’ means. For me, and I suspect for many, the idea of ‘service’ is tied in with charities – either doing voluntary work for charities, or giving them money.

When I looked around me at the main charities in New Zealand and the public events they run/sponsor, or are run in their name to raise money, such as the ‘Ride to Conquer Cancer’ (a two day cycle ride to benefit the Cancer Society), ‘Fit for Life’ (a boxing event between celebrity non-boxers, to raise money for nominated charities) and raffles (Heart Foundation), I began to wonder what ‘service’ they were actually offering to the world and started to ask myself the following questions:

  • Is it “true service” to sponsor an event that asks participants to cycle for two whole days, camping on the ground overnight?
  • Is it “true service” to ask people to box who are not professional boxers, even setting aside the known dangers of boxing?
  • Is it “true service” to encourage people to gamble?

It appeared to me that many of the events run by our charities could be putting people’s bodies and minds at risk!

For example, if I feel a certain charity is doing amazing work in the area of health and I want to support it by organising a fund-raising event, would I organise a cycle or running race that I know will compromise the bodies of those racing: in other words, that would be detrimental to their health? Would the purpose of raising money be enough to compensate for the harm to the participants in the race?

Is it “true service” to give money to charities?

There are many statistics that point to the huge amount of money going into administration of our charities, e.g. large CEO salaries, plus staff salaries, travel expenses and office expenses. Sometimes I understand these expenses take up 85% of the money coming in! Plus, the bigger charities now often engage consultants to fund-raise for them and I understand these consultants take 50% of the money raised! Therefore, if I donate money to charities, how much of this money would actually go to people in need?

Is it possible that our charities are not as charitable as we think they are? Is it possible that the current charity business model is a band-aid fix?

Why do people volunteer to work for charities? What is their motive for doing so? Could it be for:

  • Recognition (many do indeed receive medals or honours);
  • From boredom or a feeling of being unfulfilled;
  • Out of guilt, feeling they have in the past gained at another’s expense;
  • From a desire to “do good”; or perhaps
  • From a need to please others?

It feels to me that to truly serve, first of all I have to be aware of what my intentions are. Through presentations offered by Serge Benhayon, founder of Universal Medicine, I have experienced that true service must first start with self-love and self-responsibility i.e. I must be the love I would like the world to be.

As “Everything is energy and everything is because of energy” (Serge Benhayon), perhaps we first have to change the energy in which we approach service to others, as change can only come about if those serving inspire others, through the quality of their service.

This feels important because, if I am trying to “please others” or “do good” as my initial intention, this is not truly making it about serving humanity, but rather about self-gain and, in the words of Isaac Newton, “for every force/action, there is an equal and opposite force/reaction” – therefore the energy is never truly changing and we are left stuck on the same merry-go-round of problems, and solutions that are only ever temporary band-aids.

And hence, is giving money and clothes to those in need enough?

If it was, then the trillions of dollars that have been poured into Africa, through charities and governments, since the end of European colonisation would have made a bigger difference to the lives of African people. There is still much poverty and hardship in most African countries.

It is clear we need another way to serve those in need, perhaps one that would empower the people who we are aiming to serve, rather than treating them as a ‘charity case’? This way perhaps they would be able to make true and lasting change, so that eventually they would not need the charity of others.

Empowering those in need could look like the following… Maybe I am an awesome organiser and could share ways to be organised and ordered, in a loving way, without any judgement of how others live? Or perhaps I have the ability to teach (present) skills and behaviours and support others by truly connecting to them, listening to them without judgement, accepting where they are at, and supporting them to re-connect to their true selves, knowing that they are equal to me in every way and that their very essence (their core/centre) is simply love, which could perhaps inspire them to make changes to their behaviours and routines that are more supportive for them?

What if we, and our charities, were to first focus on what our intention was in carrying out the object of the charity, what skills we could bring to the service to others, and whether we were carrying out that purpose and using those skills with true love for all of humanity?

Would this then not be true service and therefore true charity?

Inspired by the work of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.

By Anne Scott, Lifestyle Consultant, Esoteric Healing Practitioner, Yoga Teacher and Mediator, Auckland

Further Reading:
Charities exposed for Cold-calling: What is True Charity?
College of Universal Medicine: A World First Volunteer Model
Universal Medicine – People’s Choice Award: True Service, True Business Model & About People

845 thoughts on “Our Charities: How Charitable Are They?

  1. ‘Pleasing others’ and ‘Doing good’ does not necessarily always equate to true empowerment and providing the quality of care that others actually need.

  2. It’s a great question to ask regarding why oftentimes the way money is raised for charity involves putting the people involved in danger or doing something harmful – is there no other way we can raise the money??

  3. I agree with you Anne you have brought absolute truth to charities. “What if we, and our charities, were to first focus on what our intention was in carrying out the object of the charity, what skills we could bring to the service to others, and whether we were carrying out that purpose and using those skills with true love for all of humanity?”

  4. How often have we given money to charity without knowing what or how they spend it, we have a responsibility too, by insuring that what we give truly makes a difference, and that it is not a way to ease our conscience by simply doing something we think is ‘good’, and makes us feel better, because good doesn’t mean that there is truth.

  5. A brilliant sharing Anne on a topic that I have myself pondered on greatly in particular the many charity events that are based on participants pushing their bodies to the finish line. True service is being responsible for how we move and the energy in which we move. It is from here we can gauge what our purpose is and bring true change through our own movements and skills to support others in this way.

  6. There is a big difference between empowering and imposing onto another. Treating others as victims disempowers and whenever we find ourselves in the momentum of this behaviour we have an investment. Whenever I go into sympathy I have to ask myself ‘what is it that I need?’ as it comes from self?… there is not one ounce of love in sympathy.

  7. Whether we are poor or rich if we do not choose the connection to ourselves and to God first then the consciousness of living in poverty or with wealth has to be one of the same… we have no right to feel righteous because we are comfortable.

  8. “be the love I would like the world to be” Many years ago I was working on an international project and the representative from Bangladesh said to me ‘The problem with International Aid makes the Government look outside for handouts instead of looking within the country and its people to support and solve its own problems.’ When disaster strikes there is always a call for support but in the everyday the greatest support is to inspire others with love to take responsibility for themselves.

  9. This blog brings something important to the fore: unless we are clear regarding what true service is all about, we have no way to be aware the truth of what do charities deliver so to be able to review our relationship with them.

  10. ” ‘service to others’ ” For me one can only be of service if their understanding to support people is a ” hand up and not a hand out.”

  11. The other day I was contemplating a scenario where people were going into sympathy with someone who was presenting a PD course to them. The person presenting was from a different racial background to those in the room, they were super solid in their presentation and didn’t ask for sympathy. When the audience went into sympathy it was dismissive of what this person was presenting and held them as lesser. It had a feeling of supremacy to it, I also contemplated what this would feel like to the presenter and how it would be easy for him to go into giving up or reacting because people were not seeing him and listening to what he was saying. So many charities are set up from sympathy and wanting to ‘rescue’ people which actually caps them and encourages them to stay in that cycle as it does not meet them as an equal and empower them to know that they are capable of making different choices if they want too.

  12. We recently had a cake morning to raise money for a cancer charity. I know this topic has been raised before, however we all know the links that are being made between lifestyle and food choices and diseases like cancer. Eating cake in support of cancer does not feel congruent.

  13. There is definitely a place for charity in the world, but I agree with you I think we’ve got charity quite wrong at the moment. This line says it all: “It appeared to me that many of the events run by our charities could be putting people’s bodies and minds at risk!” It makes you wonder what exactly we are supporting.

  14. This is a brilliant blog Anne exposing the charities that appear to be doing ‘good’ but often can be doing more harm in most cases. To empower people is indeed what is needed to the current model and to support those in need to makes steps that provide true and lasting change.

  15. If we look closely at many of initiatives put out by so-called charity organisations, it becomes quite clear that their intention may not be where they say it is. And if we are equally coming from the place of self-gain, recognition, boredom etc. we would not know the difference, or perhaps we do and just let them pass. Siding with doing good does not excuse not being true.

  16. It is not and never will be money that changes our world. It can only ever be people truly supporting people that will.

  17. This is gold Anne ‘I must be the love I would like the world to be.’ The more humanity wakes up to this truth I am sure we will see the world change enormously as love has been the missing ingredient all along.

  18. Charities are now about making money not about true service. They do what ever they think is necessary to appeal to the public to donate, without considering what is true for the whole and true service. I belonged to a breast cancer charity that initially was nearly all run by volunteers but once it started to grow I could feel how it drifted from its true intention, which was to support those with breast cancer to how to raise money to keep paying the staff that were involved in the charity. I eventually left because I could see it was going the same way as all the other charities. As you show, Anne, money is not enough, it may make people feel good, but all it does is feed the hungry directors of the charities but does very little to change the lives of the people it is raising it for. We need to start questioning where the money goes and what is the true intention of a charity before dipping into our pockets thinking we are being charitable and helping the needy.

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