What do you do when a beggar asks you for some spare change? Do you ignore them, tell them you don’t have change, engage with them or perhaps take them for a cup of coffee or a feed? Are you charitable towards them?
On a broader base do you support charities yourself. Do you give donations regularly or donate your time towards a particular cause?
All of these questions may create a bit of unease, yet they are important to grapple with.
Ask most people and they would say they don’t mind giving a donation to a worthy cause. But what is a worthy cause and how can we tell that our donation is well invested? I speak of course about the many occasions where only a portion of our donations actually arrive where we think they will. And what portion would it have to be for us to continue or discontinue our support.
I have managed to retain autonomy by translating my personal donation by volunteering. In recent times this included founding a charity, The Men of Leith Men’s Shed.
My philanthropy is based exclusively on the premise of not offering funds, rather volunteering my time and effort and not expecting any remuneration in return.
For many years as a family, we have balanced off gaining wealth with contributing meaningfully to charities and community groups.
This is one of my five gifts, a gift that continues to generate genuine happiness for me.
To know that I co-founded the Men of Leith Men’s Shed over five years ago in Scotland and to know that it is still making a substantial contribution to the lives of many men generates great pride for me. It sits at the source of genuine happiness for me, generating warmth and meaning in my life.
In short, I balance wealth with charity and this compelling. Please make your own choices as to charitable pursuits. I simply encourage you to be charitable and consider how you can balance the equation yourself.
My book Five Gifts Flourishing is chock full of stories, ideas and activities designed to help you find and free your gifts, especially if you are exploring important dimensions of your life. I invite you to grab a copy.