When it comes to charity, it’s easy to tip your change into a canvasser’s outstretched pot or donate a percentage of your income by direct debit and feel smug, but simply handing over your cash to charities isn’t enough to make a difference. Most donations go straight into the overheads of running a charity, without ever reaching the recipients you intended to assist. Charities cannot achieve their aims without employees and volunteers dedicating their precious time and effort into the mechanics of running the organization – and that’s not even taking into account the manpower needed to physically assist most causes.
Whether you’re interested in providing aid and relief during natural disasters; helping war-torn countries and refugees; contributing to political causes and agendas; helping to protect endangered species or fighting the never-ending battle against poverty and world hunger, your time is an infinitely more precious resource than your money. Real change requires people-power, and that’s why Tej Kohli has dedicated both his time and financial resources to establishing his own practical endeavours: The Tej Kohli Cornea Institute, which is committed to eradicating corneal blindness; and Tej Kohli Ventures, which aims to empower and mentor forward-thinking entrepreneurs with a leaning towards technical innovation.These endeavours are living proof that donating money is not the only way to do good in the world – by establishing forward-thinking, philanthropic businesses you can make a real difference.
Of course, you don’t have to start your own charity or forward-facing enterprise to do some good in the world – you too can donate just a little of your time towards making the world a better place. Don’t waste your next holiday lying prostate on a beach in the sun – use it to get involved in a cause which is close to your heart. You’d be amazed how much happier you’ll feel by using your time this way – whether you help by building schools in North Africa, helping the conservation effort in the Amazon or cleaning oil off of pelicans following an oil spill, the fulfillment you’ll experience is indescribable. And you don’t need to travel to contribute to a charitable cause either – it’s been proven that people actually prefer the experience of positively impacting a single life to the vaguer good of doing just a little for many. So why not dedicate an evening a week to keeping the elderly company, helping to take autistic children swimming at the weekend or helping to care for the disabled? Not only will meeting the people you are helping face to face be an enlightening experience for you, you will be able to see the positive impact your time is having on these individuals – which, of course, will encourage you to do more.
It may sound sanctimonious, but humans are social beings and they simply aren’t meant to be selfish. Unlike most animals, caring for the sick, the weak and the young is embedded in our genetic make up. Not only is engaging in charity work fulfilling, it’s also an important part of the warmth and empathy of the human spirit – so don’t just chuck your change at charities, get out there and do your bit!