Mindful Giving | The true value of donating cash v.s. supplies

One of the hopeful things following human tragedy like the Beirut explosion in the beginning of August, is the rapid unification of the masses to help each other.

Whether we give with good intention or otherwise, we all want to maximize on the impact achieved from the inputs we contribute (time or money).

In recent weeks, many around the world have been collecting items to send to Beirut. While these are wonderful efforts, there are opportunities to consider to maximize the impact of your giving.

Mindful to Impact Amplification

When we donate money directly to food banks and charities instead of purchasing supplies to donate of the same retail value, these organizations are empowered to amplify the impact intended. Charities have access to wholesale pricing as well as deep discounts because of their charitable status. When an individual goes to a retailer to purchase merchandise, that same amount of cash spent can purchase nearly 10 times more depending on the items purchased.

Mindful to Environmental Impact

Further, when you donate cash (especially online), you cut down on the supply chain process which means you are friendlier to the environment. You cut down on the drive to/from the retailer, to/from the donating site to the sorting facility to the shipping container/freight, to the receiving country.

People on the ground assisting beneficiaries know what is needed most. When cash is donated, the money allows charities to submit wholesale orders on what is truly needed at that moment in time. The supply chain is cut down to just the wholesaler to charity to beneficiary. That is a lot of carbon emissions savings just from transport.

Mindful to Economic Development

Another reason donating cash directly to charities can amplify impact is that you allow for local charities to purchase supplies locally and to employ full-time employees. Which means, you are also contributing to the economic development of the benefiting country. Lebanon is a prime example of this with its economy in dire state even prior to the explosion. Those nonprofit full-time jobs from increased collective donations will contribute to job creation even if short-term, economically empowering those who may not have had employment otherwise.

This article is not meant to make anyone feel bad for past donating habits. If you have already donated things, that is wonderful. You are part of the solution! The intention of this article is to inspire more to give mindfully and to think about how your time and money can be fully maximized.

Below is a comic video by Adam Ruins Everything on why you should not donate canned food. The same can be said not just about canned food but about other supplies.

Comment below to let me know what you think!