I can change the world
With my own two hands
Make a better place
With my own two hands

-Ben Harper


As the focus of this weeks Peppermint Magazines kindness challenge is ‘donate to charity’ I thought it might be nice to revisit the content of a post that ran back in March looking at the ‘degrees of charity’. While researching idea of redefining the measures of success to include ‘well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving’ as a third ‘metric’ for money and power for a series of blog posts I was running during the time (check out this post for more info) I came across this great ‘hierarchy’ of giving by a jewish sage

According to Moses Maimonides there are eight levels to charitable giving. These begin with:

  • The first, or entry level of giving is when donations are given grudgingly. Like when those pesky canvassers (I can call them pesky because I was one for a while and I annoyed myself) harass you in the street for donations while you are trying to do your grocery shopping.
  • The seventh level is the act of giving a little, less than one should but doing so with cheer. This could be donating your change from your coffee to the charity box at the register. You know that thirty cents won’t do too much but it’s better put to use at the wildlife reduce than it is rolling around your handbag.
  • The sixth level is donating to the poor when you are asked directly. Giving to the man who sits near your bus stop every morning and asks you directly for money.
  • The fifth level of charity is giving without being asked.
  • The fourth level is giving when the recipient is aware of the donors identity but you aren’t aware of the identity of the recipient. The perfect example of this is the easter Children’s Hospital appeal where your donations are televised and all who are watching to see, and the hospital itself know that you donated, but you have no real idea who will end up benefiting from your funds.
  • The third level is when you are aware of where your charity is being given but the recipient is unaware of the source. An example of this would be placing an envelope of cash into your struggling neighbours mailbox.
  • The second level of giving sees that the donor and recipient are totally unknown to each other, just like blood donors and blood transfusion recipients.
  • The highest level of giving is to sustain a person before they become impoverished. This could be offering gifts in a dignified manner, providing them funds or a loan, or by assisting in their education or helping them find employment.

This list made me consider ‘at what level can I give’, and at what capacity can I give?

From past fundraising  attempts I have always experienced a level of doubt when trying to encourage others to give for a cause. Not because I don’t appreciate the cause itself, more that I feel that ‘everyone is fighting their own battles’ and I feel rude asking them to assist in another. Years ago I ran a ‘big’ fundraiser effort in memory of a friend and really struggled with the emotions that I experienced when asking for donations (especially when people gave on the ‘first level’ of the hierarchy, begrudgingly)

Have you had any similar feelings when attempting to ‘give’ or encourage others to give in a charitable sense? Perhaps there is a way you prefer to give?

Please be charitable and share any thoughts you have with us below.

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