Go Ahead and Donate that Water Buffalo to Impress Your Friends

Posted by on Dec 12, 2013 in environmental graphics, Philanthropy | No Comments
Go Ahead and Donate that Water Buffalo to Impress Your Friends

“It is more difficult to give money away intelligently than to earn it in the first place.” — Andrew Carnegie (The Gospel of Wealth, 1889)

Charities Aid Foundation released The World Giving Index this month.  It won’t surprise anyone that the United States is high on the list. In fact, we are number one.  Hardly unexpected in a country where you cannot escape the reaches of a non-profit- even at the check out at the grocery store and where online giving in 2012 grew 10.7% in more than 2,580 nonprofit organizations. (source)

In 2012 the United States gave  $316.23 billion to charitable organizations. But last year, not one of the top 50 individual charitable gifts went to a social-service organization or to a charity that principally serves the poor and the disenfranchised.

There are lots of interesting facts from the report – like women are established as being more likely to give money than men; Only five of the countries appearing in the Giving Index’s Top 20 list are members of the G20; (This may be due to the fact that other developed countries with higher individual tax rates and stronger social safety nets have  lower charitable-contribution rates.) And the people, 90% of whom are Buddhist, of Myanmar (Burma) are currently more likely to donate to charity than any other country in the world.

Why and when and how we donate is a complex issue.  Our EGD Studio does a lot of donor recognition and it seems, at least within the healthcare industry, many donors are interested in the tangible aspects of what their money buys such as medical equipment, treatment rooms, healing gardens, and play areas. It is important to see how their dollars go directly into the things that are life-saving and offer comfort and support.  The perks of being a donor aren’t too shabby either, attentive service (yes, many hospitals have dedicated resources to identify their donors if they are admitted), special events, notoriety, tax write-offs, and behind the scenes tours.

But even if part of an individual’s charitable donation is motivated by ego or other self-serving reasons, in the end, it doesn’t matter, particularly in healthcare where charities all over the world serve  the most vulnerable populations. In fact, developed countries donate far more to the public health of the developing world through private donors than through government aid. (source)

We donate to 15 different healthcare organizations (and adding more) that are based in the United States. Below are 5 of our favorite international charitable organizations that are doing great work around the world:

1. Oxfam

Oxfam is one of the leading organizations combating poverty in developing countries. They carry out a wide range of activities including campaigning, disaster relief, education, health, sanitation and women’s rights, and they have a good track record for evaluating their work.

2. The Fistula Foundation

Obstetric fistulas cause uncontrollable leaking of bodily wastes and subsequent ostracism, ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of the world’s poorest young women. The Fistula Foundation funds the best organizations they can find that repair fistulas and give the women their lives back. Each surgical repair costs approximately $450.

3. Doctors Without Borders

An independent international medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics and natural.

4. Population Services International

Population Services International work with local governments and other local organizations to assist family planning and improve the health of mothers and young children. They focus on interventions with proven impact and have good monitoring and evaluation systems in place.


Fights root causes of poverty in 84 countries; special focus on empowering poor women to lift themselves, their families and communities out of poverty.

It is vital for individuals and corporations  to give what they can for the greater good. So go ahead and buy that water buffalo to impress your friends.  Its impact is far greater than any self satisfaction or tax write-off we might enjoy. After all, as the wise Isabel Allende said, “We only have what we give.”

by: Amy Blanco

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