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

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

  1. Charity is a bit like deciding to go on an intensive fasting retreat while eating junk food the whole time, then coming home feeling whiter than white. We are attracted to the good to make up for the bad we think we are living.

  2. Could it be possible charity begins at home and when we are Living a True way of being then this is all that is needed as no one can save us and we all have our own relationship with evolution? And if so illuminating Judgement!

  3. “What if we, and our charities, were to first focus on what our intention was in carrying out the object of the charity . . . ” I like that – perhaps this first focus on what our intentions are can also have an effect on everything we do in our day to day lives. Maybe our world would look differently.

  4. There is so much corruption in the many well known charity organisations which highlights to me, money is not the answer for solving world poverty. The only currency that can make a difference is love and truth, and this is what can fuel us to put a stop to the cause of poverty and go direct to the root cause.

  5. It is amazing how willing we are to distract ourselves from addressing the real issues at hand most likely because it requires us to honestly address our irresponsibility in all that we have surrounded ourselves with and are currently facing as a humanity. Doing ‘good’ is a great way for us to think all is OK as long as we are at least trying to make a difference. Yet in truth we are dishonouring what the truth is and what is truly needed to arrest the ill-momentum or consciousness that has driven us to be in situations in which we are unwell or living in standards that impede our innate way of being. True service is living our truth with the love we are in which we then naturally support others to live the truth of who they are be it directly or by way of inspiration.

    1. Brilliant Carola, great to expose how we can easily hide behind a mask of ‘doing good’ to avoid responsibility and avoid living our truth.

  6. Great exposure of our current charity model which has many flaws and as you so rightly point out e.g. in Africa many charities have had limited positive impact on the lives of those they are supposedly trying to help. It is very imposing to dictate to others how they need to be helped instead of working together to make the changes they feel would be most beneficial.

  7. “Is it “true service” to give money to charities?” Great question as many of us give to charity to feel better about ourselves by doing what we think is good, however how many of us are discerning enough to look into how the charity works and how they spend their money and does it truly support humanity.

    1. Yes no matter what we do, whether it is paid or voluntary, official business or everyday life, big picture stuff or minutiae of details of daily life, if we do it with love we are having a charitable effect on the world.

  8. This is a great topic to explore, and one that makes me feel uncomfortable. I guess I am struggling to find the ‘right’ thing to do and how to be with and in the world with everything that is going on, and in that I can feel a seeking of solution, my investment in creation – for the world to be a better place for everyone.

  9. “change can only come about if those serving inspire others, through the quality of their service.” True charity is to respond to the call of brotherhood.

  10. I do think it’s very worthwhile to not be blinded by the ideal or desire of ‘doing good’, to not lose sight of the whole picture and consider all aspects of the process and the impact on everyone involved along the way.

  11. It simply does not make sense to me to have the lion’s share of money raised for a particular charity being spent on wages and running costs. For transparency maybe every time we give money to a charity we should be informed with accurate figures of the last financial years activity and exactly how much money went to the actual person / place in need of the charity.

  12. Am I still often puzzled why we champion people putting their bodies at risk, not respecting the limits their body communicates and putting themselves in extreme circumstances for the sake of charity. How can anyone benefit from something that harms the body of another? This is not possible and it is time we start to admit that. Thank you for your contribution, Anne.

  13. “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” Bam, and the truth be told. Honest, powerful and true – and you are not alone in that one, but maybe one of the few who dare to say so publicly.

  14. Raising money makes those raising the money feel good though it seems that nothing really changes, if anything things are getting more extreme.

  15. It is ironic that charities espousing to be caring, supportive and helping of others by asking people to potentially harm their bodies.

  16. That’s a great point too Elizabeth, our intention in giving money to charities is equally as important as the intention of the charity itself.

  17. Charities are known to not be all that charitable when inspected a little more closely and engage in some very dubious fund raising activities that are aimed at gaining recognition and even notoriety, all under the guise of doing good but in truth never changing the underlying issues.

  18. It’s great how you’ve brought the question of intention to the forefront when it comes to charity, I reckon a high percentage of charity is actually done not to truly serve and support another but for self-gratification and a sense we’re “doing good in the world”. It could be a great practice to first review our intention and our integrity before we act so we can ascertain if our actions do come from a place of true charity or if were actually doing it for ourselves. For example – how does running a marathon for charity or climbing a mountain actually truly help anyone? And if it was truly about helping someone why not give them the money directly – it just demonstrates how often when we give something we want something back.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. ” ‘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.”

  28. 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.

  29. “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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

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