Christmas is just around the corner and what feels better than making someone happy with a nice gift? 🎁 In this article, I want to state my views on donations and charity.
Did you know that the world has more than 2200 billionaires with a net capital of around ten trillion US dollars , while the world’s entire capital is estimated to 360 trillion dollars ? At the same time, about 10 % of the world’s population live in extreme poverty , 30 million people are entirely dependent on the world food program  and countless children suffer from hunger.
Obviously, one individual can not end the worlds’s misery – okay, in terms of money, Jeff Bezos probably could, however, money is not the only factor. But if everyone would slightly change their mind to become just a tiny bit more generous, it would certainly not hurt at all.
Of course, the decision how to spend one’s money is a very personal and individual one. However, in my opinion, people who are sufficiently wealthy – I leave the definition to you – should consider spending a small portion of their income to things they do not immediately get a benefit from. It might be anything from donating for a charity organization over supporting a homeless person on the street over giving a generous tip throughout to paying for inherently free software.
I, personally, decided to dedicate around 10 % of my monthly net income to donations and sponsoring. Around one half goes to charitable purposes and the other half goes into the open source community. The latter might be a bit surprising, especially as software developers usually do not live in poverty and are not particularly in need. However, free software and free knowledge in general is very important to me, which I will explain in more detail below.
If you want to donate money for a good cause in general, think about what matters to you. Your donations can help in various areas, ranging from humanitarian aid over education over environmentalism and animal welfare over freedom of press and speech throughout to acute support in a crisis (like the CoViD pandemic) and many more. Admittedly, the process of finding suitable projects or organizations to donate to is quite tedious. However, the best place to start is indeed Google. If you care about maritime environments, for instance, search for something like “ocean clean up charity organization” or so. Platforms like betterplace.org may assist you.
Of course, non-monetary support, like your personal involvement, is a great option, too.
While contributing to what is generally referred to as a good cause – like humanitarian and environmental projects as described above – is definitely of great importance for society, one further aspect should not be disregarded: the internet. It gives us the great privilege to essentially have access to mankind’s entire knowledge right from your smartphone. If you are eager enough, you can basically learn anything you want, entirely for free. This is why a portion of my monthly donations goes to the Wikimedia Foundation.
Besides an incredible amount of knowledge, the internet also has to offer countless free, open-source software projects, without which today’s tech world would not be anywhere near what it is now.
In an upcoming blog post I will give a few good reasons why it is worth to monetarily support open source projects and which different options you have. Stay tuned.