Does it matter why or how we give to charity?

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When it comes to giving to charity – does it matter why or how we give? This Friday evening BBC1 is mainly given over to its annual Children in Need Appeal.

People are entertained for the evening and in the process it is hoped that many millions of pounds will be raised by viewers with the help of various stars, with the aim of helping disadvantaged children. Some have asked – do people really need all these hours of showbiz? If someone gives to a charity hoping for something back for themselves in return, does that in any way dilute the value of their giving? Or does that not matter at all - because a person’s main reason for giving to charity is inevitably to help others and that getting something back is nice, but in no way essential.

And does the quality of the entertainment matter, or is it all right so long if it is done in the name of charity? Most religions urge their followers to give to charity. Usually this is because they feel that it is important that they help the disadvantaged in life. The reasoning being that you should show your appreciation for all that God has done for you, by helping those less fortunate than yourself. You give to others, out of a sense of gratitude to God and a feeling of concern for your fellow earth inhabitants.

With typhoon Haiyan causing so much devastation in the Philippines recently, several charities are asking for straightforward monetary donations to help the people there. At a time when there are many excellent charities asking for our financial support, I wonder how many people will feel that supporting the people of the Philippines has become one of their priorities this year?