Giving doesn’t require a hefty bank balance

Written by Lisa Pallavi Barbora

Lisa Pallavi Barbora is a Senior Consultant for Content at WFAN. Lisa is also a founder of In her earlier avatar, she was a National Writer and Consultant for HT Mint - a premier business journal in India.

May 18, 2021

It’s no secret that the current health calamity in our country could have been much larger and wider if citizens hadn’t taken it upon themselves to help each other. The pandemic is a crisis for humanity but it also a victory of what humanity stands for. The generosity of some individuals came forward in published stories, like the man who sold his prized car to help those in his locality with oxygen cylinders, and then there are stories which we haven’t heard and perhaps never will.

The human spirit of kindness, however, has prevailed in every form through this pandemic; be it the neighbour feeding the COIVD positive household fresh food, or the taxi driver who doesn’t charge and waits for the COVID patient’s relative, or the stranger who organizes oxygen cylinders in the middle of the night, or even the unknown person who retweets your request, or the health workers who have been on overtime for a year now or the community that welcomes those affected to open up about the tragedy they are experiencing. There are so many nameless examples of people selflessly doing good for others.

This brings us to the astonishing realization that being generous and giving towards others is not dependent on how much money you have. Rather it is driven by your intention and spirit to help.

What has also happened is that there are organizations who realise they are better placed to help others rather than individuals stepping in. They then reach out to individuals, pool a sum of small value donations and give it forward to those who need help. Habitat For Humanity, for example, is one such large organization working in various areas to help those who don’t have the means. In this current health crisis, they have reached out to schools to work with children on raising funds for deploying in areas of need.

School children are not wealthy per se, but now thanks to these networks and with the help of technology they too can contribute towards giving back to society.

Giving is one of those money goals which many of us push to the back burner to be picked up later when we perceive ourselves to be settled in life. It no longer needs to be that way. Thanks to technology, increasing reach and ability of organizations and individuals who want to contribute, you can now do a lot of good but without having to invest a lot of money. Moreover, it’s a misconception that you have to be in a certain stage in life or of a certain age to begin your giving journey.

Where you need to be careful is in evaluating where you are focusing on giving and try not be feel guilted into giving everywhere. Again, thanks to technology there will be many people who reach out to you for help and donations. You will get calls from people who claim to be from hospitals, you will get people to come to your house for collections to give to a blind school, you will get messages from friends who are helping their children raise money.

First, try to filter out the genuine requests from the fake. There will be fake requests. AS much as it seems heartless to put the phone down on a request for donations to keep a 2-year-old infant alive, you have to ask yourself if there is a way for you to verify this request to be entirely genuine. A few years ago, I fell for a request by two very honest and legitimate-looking young boys who came with pictures of a blind school that they were helping out. I heard them out and gave them a cheque with a request for them to follow up on how the money will be used. This was happening in person and I thought I could tell whether they were genuine or not by asking thoughtful questions and looking them in the eye. I was wrong. The boys took my money and disappeared. Why did I donate to strangers carrying some pictures? Maybe, because I felt guilty saying no to them.

Identify how you want to give; do you want to give your time or money? Then identify the cause, identify an organization managed by people you know personally or in a way that you can verify the end-use of funds and then extend your help in the form you are most comfortable with. Also, remember you don’t have to give to every genuine request that comes your way. Do what you can, no one person can fulfil all the requests single-handedly. That is why it’s even more important to give your money or your time to causes which mean more to you and are verified as genuine.

With rising inequality across the globe, don’t stop yourself from giving whatever you can. We all have to hold hands and together fight the hazards that attack our world. Don’t make giving a financial goal that you push to the back of the table, bring it upfront and start with a little at a time. Just like you manage your investments through regular investing, you can manage to give through regular contributions however large or small you want to make them.

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