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Lucy Perry’s top 5 tips for charitable giving

We all know that we should be into charitable giving, but the excuses and rationalisations for not giving (or delaying giving) can sure stack up, can’t they? Lucky for us, awesome people like Lucy Perry are around to remind us how easy, useful — even fun — giving can be.

Lucy Perry is CEO of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, a charity that anyone who knows me well knows I support. Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia rescues thousands of women from a life of misery, poverty, ostracisation and oppression through life-changing obstetric fistula surgery. Something that is so simple gives so much help like you would not believe.

It’s a no-brainer to give to folks like Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. But you’ll have your own passions and causes you want to give to, and if you don’t, I hope this post encourages you to find that passion, and take that step. But enough of what I think; this post is actually about what Lucy wrote on Facebook today. There’s SO MUCH gold in this post I wanted to keep it, and publish it elsewhere. Take it away, Lucy:

Lucy’s top five tips for charitable giving

1. ASK WHAT THE CHARITY NEEDS rather than giving what you would like to give. The feel good buzz is the best part of generosity! Just make sure the charity really needs what you are giving. Unwanted goods or unnecessary luxuries to “give to the patients” can be very costly. Things that might seem helpful to you (such as toothpaste and toothbrush) are not helpful in a country like Ethiopia where there is an unreliable water supply. Here’s the skinny: I am unaware of any charities who would say no to financial contributions.

2. ASK ABOUT IMPACT NOT ADMIN. The old-school obsession with admin costs is damaging to charities and their ability to change the world. What industry on earth has to achieve everything they do on a 90% profit margin? Er, none. Ask your charity of choice what the impact will be with your donation. If you donate $600 to Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia – Dr Catherine Hamlin, you will fund one obstetric fistula operation and completely transform the life of an Ethiopian woman for the cost of a day at a day spa. Peter Singer quotes the organisation as a high impact charity in his book “The life you can save”. $25 to Fred Hollows Foundation restores one person’s sight. These investments have profound impact. Charities should be run efficiently, yes. But as a donor, you should assess impact over admin costs. 

3. GIVE REGULARLY. A monthly donation to your favourite charity is an easy set and forget way to support a charity you love in a way that helps the charity plan for regular income. Think IMPACT. Think $100 month. Think do that today.

4. DON’T BE SHY. If you give generously to charity, don’t keep it a secret. This is how philanthropy thrives. Giving generously inspires others to do so as well. Giving to a specific organisation endorses that charity to the tune of your investment. A year ago, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia in Australia received a pledge for $1M. Wow-zers. This was kept confidential for a while but then the news broke in the Sun Herald and BAM! It was out there. This donation inspired a number of other donors to give generously also. Help your charity of choice to attract other generous donors by making your support known. It’s not show offy. It’s necessary.

5. HAVE FUN. That’s my tip on all Lucy’s top tip lists. What’s the point if it isn’t fun? Giving should be rewarding and fun. Expect your charity of choice to entertain you. Follow the Hamlin Fistula FB page and we will entertain you. Promise.