Misconceptions for Donating in College

In a world full of advertisments for free pizza, free giveaways, concert tickets, and constant weekly fundraisers, the notion of donating in college seems highly unnatural and a little too far-fetched for an average college student. Many students seeking higher education face very high tuition fees that contribute to large student bills and unlimited growing costs for living in today’s world. With such little “change” to give for a profitable donation, it’s not difficult to understand why many young adults feel they have little to contribute to larger causes. While this false impression is not uncommon, the idea is somewhat ironic and mostly unfortunate, as most people and students twitch at the thought of giving, but we as a mankind have a universal hope to receive from the generous when we are in need. Seems unreasonable right? 

The first misconception that often causes people to refrain to donate is the idea that they lack the resources to do so. This idea, especially for college students, is not necessarily always invalid but it depends on what resources you are required to give. The classic way charity is requested by organizations is monetarily, but there are always alternative ways one can donate to a strong organization they feel passionately about. The first alternative option is to create something from scratch such as a homemade item like cookies or using a mother's favorite crafting skill. The alternative thought here is that: not all charitable needs are financial (Ravenscraft). This is an important idea, because time and preparation are both valuable assets one can give to support others in need. And they do help!

A second obstruction that often causes young adults to doubt their ability to make a difference is their belief that they do not simply have the time. In the midst of mandatory finals, constant homework, college tournaments and growing life in general it is not surprising we as scholars often feel we have little time to help others, and truthfully sometimes even ourselves. While time, like all resources, is always limited and scarce the truth is more realistically as the common saying goes, “There’s no such thing as being too busy. If you really want something, you’ll make time for it." Donating your time may feel hard, and especially when you are tired and feeling defeated with everything else overwhelming you, but remarkably so, researchers have studied and proven that giving to others makes people feel better, and as a result more happy (Whitbourne). Can you believe it?

To expand on this idea, a fascinating article written by Linda Andrews in 2011 was themed about financial stress and the ability of (modest) donating to help relieve anxiety and foster greater financial ease (Whitbourne). In her article, Andrews analyzed a study published in Science 2008, which was conducted with participants in a research program who were given a sum of money in an envelope with varying values, and which gave the participants of the two groups different directions on how to spend their money. The two group options were for either a. personal spending or b. charitable donation. What research showed was those who were directed to spend money on themselves felt less happy than those who spent money for altruistic purposes, however much (Whitbourne). There are lots of reasons why being charitable can a make a person feel happier, and some reasons could be feelings of social connectedness, or simply the great feeling one can get from being generous and feeling like they’ve have made a difference (Whitbourne). Regardless of which benefit is best, the moral is that we should all donate something to our communities, our friends and strangers in order to foster a healthier relationship with the environments around us. Though it might be difficult, the benefits of donating show an economic value that we may give a small cost for a larger benefit.

Now, if donating is good, what organizations should a person donate to? There are thousands of commercials, companies and landlines organized to build money off of the gifts of others. While it can be difficult to decide where to donate to, it is also important for those of us who may lack certain resources to understand what organizations ask for, and to participate with the things we may actually have. For example, Arizona State University started a “Move Out Donation Program” that has inspired colleges around the world. This program started in Arizona allowed students to fill bins at the end of the year during move out process with clothing, items, games and etc. they no longer wished to have (Ung). This is a great form and example of donation as students were able to help others simply with the means that they had and did not want.

Finally, after understanding that donating can mean much more than giving money to a cause, the challenge is now to find an organization that best suits you. Every charitable group is started for a purpose, and the things that excite you should be the first to look. Not only will helping your community make those around you prosper from your goodness, you can also prosper too! Giving blood, time or even money can be hard and its usually never easy but the rewards are tenfold from you to others and others to you. Now, as we must, let’s break the cycle of wanting and needing, and let’s start with helping and giving. Pass it on!