Donating funds or volunteer time to international causes has a vital, far-reaching impact on empowering economic stability, promoting equality and building a better world.
Let’s be honest. In recent years, it has often felt like the bad news just keeps coming. As soon as one heartbreaking event works its way through the news cycle, another devastating headline pulls our attention to the next pressing issue. Wow, what a positive way to introduce this topic, right? Take a moment to reframe your thinking and acknowledge at least one silver lining to the historical events of the past few years. I like to think that we have become more compassionate. I know I have, and the giving data agrees – overall giving has increased by 11% since 2019.
Many thought that after the rise in 2020, giving numbers would decrease to pre-pandemic levels in 2021, but in fact people continue to show generosity. It may seem unexpected given the recent economic fluctuations, but it makes sense because along with current issues come new causes we are passionate about. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic might have made you realize the importance of equitable access to health care. Studies show that once basic needs are met, charitable giving makes you happier than if you were to spend money on yourself. Of course, in the face of so much sadness, it is no surprise that people want to feel good and make the world a better place.
We can all agree that giving to charity is a good thing, but it can be overwhelming to decide where and how to donate. Local giving is great, and it makes sense to think that nearby causes would have the most immediate impact. However, “starting at home” does not always make the biggest difference.
Donating funds or volunteer time to international causes has a vital, far-reaching impact on empowering economic stability, promoting equality and building a better world. That is why I thought it was important to highlight why your generosity is so imperative and, especially, how far your contributions can go when you give to global causes.
Why give global?
At least 700 million people around the world live on less than $1.90 per day and struggle to access basic needs like health care, education, food and clean water. Giving to international charities creates a worldwide impact. Even a contribution of $10 per pay period can save and improve the lives of so many citizens. Here are five reasons why you should give global to amplify your impact.
- Your dollar goes further.
In the poorest parts of the world, your donation has a much larger value than it would in the U.S. For example, it costs much less to feed a child in a developing country, so your gift produces more meals for those in need. To the millions of people surviving in extreme poverty, a donation of only a few dollars equates to a meal that would otherwise be missed, or access to medicine to prevent an unnecessary death.
Poverty in developing countries differs from poverty in the U.S. and other developed countries because the access to resources is not the same. Of course, poverty is a difficult challenge no matter where you live, but in developing countries, basic human necessities like clean water, medical care and access to education are not accessible. One stark example of the difference between poverty in the U.S. versus poverty in developing countries is child mortality. Most sicknesses that cause child mortality have been eradicated or are easily treated in the U.S. but remain a challenge for developing countries due to the lack of access to lifesaving resources.
The combination of essential needs and cost differences make your dollars more effective when given to the right international charities.
- There’s a gap in funding for international causes.
In support for countries and our common interests, the U.S. provides development assistance in the form of foreign aid. However, the U.S. government does not give as much global support as you might think. Most Americans think that 25% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid, but in fact, foreign aid only makes up less than 1% of the federal budget and most citizens believe it should be 10%. You can help make up for that difference.
In recent years, only 5% of individually donated dollars from the U.S. went to international causes. That means most of our charitable giving is not being used to fight poverty in the parts of the world where widespread poverty exists.
- Giving overseas helps at home, too.
If we didn’t already know it, the COVID-19 pandemic proved that we are all globally connected. We are also feeling this with the economic effects of the war in Ukraine and the increasing natural disasters due to climate change. While there is plenty of evidence showing that foreign aid and international giving benefit the receiving country, we also see advancements for U.S. interests.
Lifting the global economy creates new markets and investing in development helps individuals provide for themselves and their families. Life-changing support enables people to lift themselves out of poverty and invest in their communities.
- International giving is a wise financial choice.
As shown above, we are fortunate to live in a developed country where the world’s most extreme poverty doesn’t exist. In order for that to be the case everywhere, it is imperative to share our fortunes with effective poverty relief efforts.
Donating can also be a great asset to your financial strategy. While the charitable tax deduction is not the sole reason you want to contribute, it is a nice fringe benefit. Tax rules and regulations can be confusing, but it is possible to make tax-deductible donations from the U.S. to charities working in foreign countries.
One of the easiest ways to do it is through an IRS-approved 501(c)3 nonprofit. Global Impact’s charity partner list is an excellent place to start, ensuring you are choosing a highly trusted international charity and making a tax deductible gift.
- Experience matters.
Our Charity Alliance consists of well-established international charities that are committed to improving the world. Their long-term experience paired with their expertise and connections increases confidence that your generous gift is going directly to those in need instead of administrative costs. Larger nonprofits have the infrastructure and grants so that your donation is used directly for measurable improvements.
For example, our charity partner, ChildFund International, got its start 84 years ago and today, their work benefits 23 million children around the world. International Medical Corps was established in 1984 and because of their existing presence in countries like Ukraine, Afghanistan and Tigray they were some of the first to respond tot he Ukraine crisis and provide disaster relief. CARE was founded at the end of World War II, delivering care packages in war-torn Europe. Now, the charity reaches over 100 countries providing humanitarian aid, fighting poverty and promoting social justice.
Those are just a few of our Charity Alliance members that have grown to create millions of global touchpoints for you to connect with anytime you give.
I hope that what you’ve read so far inspired gratitude and generosity. In our daily lives, we tend to focus on what we don’t have, but the reality of global poverty quickly puts into perspective how fortunate we are to live in this country. Now that you are inspired, it’s time to take action.
How to give global.
- Give through your workplace. Support one of our incredible Charity Alliance partners during your employee giving campaign this year. You can find your workplace and learn more about giving at work here.
- Choose a cause that you care about. Do you feel particularly motivated to end hunger or help women & girls? Consider giving to a cause fund of your choice or learn more about charity work in a specific cause area to find the charities you want to support.
- Spread the gratitude and give global together. Your family, friends and coworkers may be interested to learn about the far-reaching impact a small international donation could make. Multiply your impact by inviting the people in your life to participate.
- Follow along. Global Impact highlights a cause area every month. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more about all 11 cause areas and how to change the world.
Any amount helps.
Here are some examples of how your one-time gift or payroll deduction could make a real impact worldwide:
- $62 gives a bike to a health worker to bring health education & resources to villages.
- $75 gives critical prenatal care for mothers and babies in a crisis.
- $99 gifts a family with a goat, generating extra income from the sale of milk and cheese.
- $150 wraps warm, cozy blankets around 30 children displaced by conflict.
- $317 trains a group of travelling handpump mechanics to support community water points in India.
To explore international cause areas further, check out all of our give global resources.