Too Many Charities, Too Much Self-Righteousness and Not Enough ACTION


too many1

How many charities are there in your hometown? How many non-profit organisations are there? One, ten, fifty…? I’ll tell you how many there are right here in the Helderberg area / Cape Town where I live. Too many. Too damn many.

Now don’t get me wrong. My heart isn’t made of stone – FAR from it, and I’m not saying that running a charity or a non-profit organisation to help other people or animals is a bad thing.

I think that the majority of these people have hearts of gold and really care about making a difference in the world, and well done to them for getting started and actually DOING something CONTINUOUSLY.

Earlier this week I came across a post on Facebook from someone (let’s call him Jim) asking everyone to check out his new website of a charity he’d just started. I went to check out this website. It’s cute. It’s catchy. And that’s about where it ends. I think it’s awesome that Jim wants to help people in need – I’m not taking that away from him. But, come on! How many charities are there that already need help?!

Too many, too bloody many…

So that’s problem number one. The other issue I have is that the homepage focuses more on what Jim has done in his career and how wonderful of a person he is. In my opinion, the focus of a charity is NOT supposed to be on the founder, but on the charity itself. If it’s new, then list what the aims and goals are, etc. Jim should have just left a small sentence or two about himself on the contact page or at the end of the about us page.

How do you decide which charity or non-profit is going to get your donation or time?

too many4That’s MY problem. There are so many in desperate need of help – I wish I could help them all. And not just as a once-off to make myself look good. Don’t even get me started on the self-righteousness of some people and companies on Mandela Day earlier this month. Fantastic that they made the effort to help for one day and get photos snapped of themselves making sandwiches for starving children.

What about those other 364 days of the year? I’d love to know how many of those people or celebrities are going to be doing things to help on a regular basis and not just when the cameras are around or when their companies get mentioned.

Yes, at least Jim and other people are helping – that’s a good thing. But, instead of opening a brand new charity when there are already too many around, why not actively support one, two, or even a few instead?

Do you support any charities or non-profits?

If you’d like to get involved, these are just a few efforts and places I’ve come across in the last year that would love the extra support:

I found another website here which lists all the charities in South Africa. I counted 150 in Cape Town alone. And that wasn’t even including Somerset West or any of the surrounding areas!

Maybe if more people pumped places and got their friends and family involved in trying to help and make a difference (that isn’t just once-off), there wouldn’t be this overflow of too many places that are in need of help.

Just a thought.

P.S If you were wondering what this post has to do with good health, here’s why: I believe from experience that doing something unselfish to help other people or animals is good for your health. It’s certainly made me feel good to give of myself without needing anything back. It might not seem like a lot to some people, but to that animal or person it’s the WORLD.

Image credits: njaj and winnond –, Melanie Chisnall


11 Replies to “Too Many Charities, Too Much Self-Righteousness and Not Enough ACTION”

  1. Many charities out here too. Infact last week all the NPO’s united and had a 5K, 10K run in a park. People got to choose which NPO they wanna support and register and get a shirt for that organization. It was fun to see a wide turn around.

    I think choosing a NPO that is closer to your heart i.e their work that rings a chord with you is essential. That helps an individual to give their 100% to it.

    Great post, Mel
    ruchira recently posted…Retirement InvestmentMy Profile

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      That’s cool! What a great idea.

  2. Yes, all talk, no action, is what pretty much sums it up. There should be concrete, and stable ways of helping out!

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      Exactly Michelle!

  3. I agree and think this all the time Melanie. If we combined ALL the charities that focused on the same things (abuse, alcoholism, survivors of tragedy) it would be so much better! Now I feel like I have to be super vigilant about making sure the charity is *real*!

    I always give to St. Jude and American Cancer Society.

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      That’s a good point. There are the scammers as well. It’s sad that you need to think like that when thinking about charities. 🙁

  4. I feel bad, because (being unemployed) we have little to give, but we support our local food bank each week and I give personally to other charities. I decided that I didn’t need any new stuff for my birthday this year, so asked for donations to a local charity instead.

    There are so, so many, and I think the important thing is to find an organisation which speaks to your heart and does the things you’d like seeing done. Then stick with them.

    I agree with you that altruism is good for the health, but it’s good for the humanity as well – without exposing ourselves to others’ plight, we can easily become insulated from their needs, and focus too much on our own desires. We are all brothers and sisters and surely must do what we can to share what we have.
    Considerer recently posted…The grass is always greener on the same sideMy Profile

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      What you’ve just said, “….important thing is to find an organisation which speaks to your heart and does the things you’d like seeing done. Then stick with them”, is so important. I think I’m going to take your words of advice and find one or two charities I can support every month. Even if it’s just R50. When I couldn’t afford it, I would donate clothes once a year. I don’t think you should feel bad though that you have little to give. It’s not about who has the most to give or even if you can. When you can and if you want to, awesome. One of my friends did the same thing for her birthday last year. Instead of presents she asked for dog and cat food that went to the local animal shelter here. I think that’s a great idea! 🙂

      1. I think it’s about doing what you can, when you can, and being mindful about what you do with your wealth. I’m interested to see the positive response you had to this, because I posted something similar a while back and the comments were highly mixed (or perhaps I expressed it less well than you did)
        Considerer recently posted…The grass is always greener on the same sideMy Profile

  5. Melanie, I do get what you are saying and must admit, we too have many different charities and even get phone calls for so many. While I am not adverse to donating, I just don’t have enough money or resources to do so now, but do try to give when it is children or animals, because these are two entities which I feel can’t always help themselves and need it the most from my opinion. As for your friend, I hope that he is on the up and up trying to do something nice, but you are right about making himself a little less present on the page then and making it more about the cause itself.
    Janine Huldie recently posted…You Know Want it, You Know You Love It, Admit It!! It’s Okay!!My Profile

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      Janine, the post wasn’t about making anyone feel guilty to donate or asking them to donate. It was more about trying to highlight how many charities and non-profits are popping up every day, and what some people shamelessly do in order to try and make themselves or their company look good, instead of simply helping an existing charity. That guy “Jim” isn’t my friend, he’s just someone who is in one of the same Facebook groups I’m in. Unfortunately, that’s the reality today. I had no idea there were so many charities out there until I went to go look. Charity starts at home. I know everyone can’t afford to donate money or time and I’m not trying to preach that they should. Heck, I didn’t bother for years and I couldn’t for the last few months while freelancing. The post wasn’t about making people feel guilty. It’s about highlighting that instead of putting a brand new charity together, why not support what is already existing as a charity or non-profit in your town…IF you can.

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