Individuals, foundations, NGOs, and many other organisations work for a cause. The trend of billionaires donating a small share of their amount for philanthropy is now worldwide. It is important for these wealthy people to address certain issues which are for morality and maintaining an ethical society. Patricia Illingworth, associate professor of Philosophy in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities of the Northeastern University explores the concept of giving.
According to Patricia, it is very important to consider the nature of giving. One has to evaluate the causes carefully. Ethics play an important role in defining these causes. While donating an amount, the donor must see to it if the money is enough to help the needy. Sometimes charitable money can make things worse as it makes organisations (like NGOs) dependent on the donors.
When asked about the different questions that people consider in discussing the amount of money for the purpose of giving, she says, ‘How much?” is the most sought after. ‘Who should be giving?’, ‘Are only the rich under the obligation to give?’ or ‘Should billionaires give a greater percentage of their wealth?’ etc. are the questions that fill the minds of the donors. More important is the dilemma between giving and helping as the moral and ethical principle or demand for global justice.
Regarding NGOs navigating their moral priorities, Patricia says that they have obligations to both donors who support them and to those whom they serve. Transparency is an essential quality of these NGOs. They cannot afford to waste the money they receive because they need to use it for good and cannot cause harm to it. Hence, she says that NGOs need to employ a method of ‘cost-benefit analyses’ in deciding what kind and section of people they need to support. And they need to select projects which will guarantee the improvement of a crucial part of the society.