I believe that donations have power to change our world. Although most people may not agree with my idea, we, the Japanese people, should have experience of donations. When we were at the elementary school, we put a small amount of money in the box and got the “Red Feather”. This was exactly the donation and all of us did it before.
On the other hand, it seems that we don’t care about the actual result of our donations. We tend to think that putting our money into something social-good is the completion of our social contribution. I was also this kind of person, but I changed myself to care about the result of my own donations after several failures.
Here, I would like to introduce you four steps for how to make your donations more successful. Because donations can make the world better. Frankly speaking, developing countries need Money or financial support from developed countries. Of course, each individual’s contribution is a small amount of money comparing from all ODA budget, however, USD 10 per month will allow one girl to go to school instead of taking care of her family. Those girls are real hope of their country. Your donation can contribute more to make it happen once you change the way to donate.
1st Step: Listen to a voice of your heart.
Listening to a voice of your heart is the 1st step. Because, making a donation comes from your true heart. You are not in the mood, you never think of donations. When you want to make it, it’s the right timing.
Unfortunately, there are lots of problems around us, not only in Japan but also all over the world, such as global warming, discrimination, poverty, wars and refugees, and so on. We see them on newspapers and TV programs every day. So, the timing depends on each person. It comes suddenly and unexpectedly. And, when it comes, you should listen to your heart and follow what you want to do.
Furthermore, I have to mention that a motivation to change your wish of donations to a real action will be related to your financial condition. When you see financial difficulties in your personal life, you may not have any spare money to someone else or you may not have time to even think about donations.
I myself have been made contributions in Cambodia since 2006. However, the starting point was when I met the Cambodian woman working at the Cambodian Embassy in Akasaka and heard her sad family history in 1994. My timing came 12 years later. It was when I met a director of the NPO, World Assistance for Cambodia, and heard his NPO’s activity of providing with school buildings to Cambodia. Also, in the previous year or 2005, I had gotten the bonus from my company. So, 2006 was the perfect timing for me.
No one knows whatever and whenever hits your heart. You just listen to your heart and wait for your timing.
2nd Step: Find an organization which you make a donation to.
Once your timing comes, the 2nd step is to find an organization which you actually send money. It won’t be easy and also may take some time. Because there are many NPO/NGOs in same field where you are interested and some are good and some are not. Moreover, there are some crowd funding platforms these days.
Consequently, in order to narrow down the potential organizations, here are some tips I want to share.
Firstly, listen to your friends/relatives/teachers’ opinion.
Secondly, check trustworthy word-of-mouth opinions on the net.
Thirdly, check the organization’s real achievements from their website.
Regarding my Cambodia case, my friend introduced the NPO and I checked their website and then decided my donation. It seems that the 1st step and 2nd step came together in my case. On the other hand, I made several failures. One NPO provides women in poverty with woven skill education and gives jobs to them. It looks great activity and I made a donation. However, I knew that after one year education, only 5 of 100 women remain the work and 95% left. That NPO keeps the Japanese manager instead of local people and doesn’t see the actual needs and culture in the area. To avoid such kind of mistakes, I put importance on my friends/relatives/teachers’ opinion.
In summary, you have to find an appropriate organization before making a donation.
3rd Step: Make a donation.
It’s simple. You just send money to the organization which you choose.
4th Step: Monitor the organization’s activities.
Monitoring the organization’s activities is also the key factor for success and should be the 4th step.
As I mentioned above, there are good organizations and bad ones. Even good organizations supposed to be, they may change their aim or even mission because of financial problems. To get more donations to survive, they will change their direction easily.
I will explain more about it here.
There is one Japanese NPO which runs a nursery school or kindergarten in the rural area of Cambodia. At first, their target “release mothers from their children care burden and provide with good early education to kids” seemed great and got donations very much. However, once their income(donations) became decreasing, they planed and organized a “study tour for donors” and trained kids to make smiles when donors visit the kindergarten and take photos. I agree with this kind of study tour because it’s a good opportunity for donors to see the real achievement of their donation. However, they trained poor children and made them like as attractive pretty animals. I never forgive the NPO.
Moreover, I would like to share another example with you.
This NPO also gets a good reputation from Japanese donors. Their monthly reports and year end financial reports are perfect and reliable. I never complained them. However, one day I realized that they always transfer and rotate three Japanese staffs from Japan to Cambodia and those staffs still remain top management position at Cambodia office, even after 30 years operation. From both of contribution and cost effectiveness perspective, the NPO should educate Cambodian local staffs as managers and at least within 5 years, they have to switch their formation from Japanese leading style to Cambodian local self establishment style. That’s because the Japanese director in Cambodia isn’t necessary to achieve their mission “to improve education environment of Cambodia”. They should make the appropriate person by themselves within some years. Also, donors precious money should be used effectively. I think that cost of one Japanese manager (assumption USD 3,000 or more per month including living cost covered by NPO) can hire three senior level managers in Cambodia. Normal manager’s salary is much less than USD 1,000. And please imagine that one kid can go to private kindergarten by USD 10.
Consequently, it’s important to monitor their activities, both of plan and achievement, carefully by reading their reports or attending meetings.
Your aim of your donation is to solve the problem and change the world better. So, if you realize the organization’s change and it doesn’t meet your aim, you should stop the donation and go to another organization. If you see good progress or improvement, you may be happy to add up to support their activities more.
As for me, I continue to make donations to the same organization and expand the scope. I read the reports from them and give my feedbacks though emails because I would like them to maintain their activities better and as long as possible. I think it’s my responsibility.
Do you think making a donation seems difficult? No, it isn’t. Please think about what you can change the world through your donation. Even you can’t do something social good by your hands, your donation makes it happen. It is really exciting and it gives sufficient and great feeling to you.