Charity is bringing disinterested help to those in need. Various actions can be taken to achieve the goal. The name of such activity comes from the Latin word “caritas”, meaning mercy or Christian love. Initially, charity was associated with Christianity, but now also secular organizations are involved in charity activities.
Charitable activities are carried out by various types of organizations. As a result, their reach can exceed national borders. The basis of charitable organizations is formed by volunteers who work for free for people in need.
What are charities and what do they do?
Charitable organizations are institutions whose primary task is to help those in need. Such organizations work mainly for the benefit of people or animals. These are non-governmental organizations that help the sick, disadvantaged and the poorest. If an organization has been operating for at least two years, it may apply for the status of a public benefit organization (OPP). In Poland, OPP was introduced on January 1, 2004 on the basis of the Act on Public Benefit and Volunteer Work.
Obtaining the OPP status gives charity organizations great opportunities:
- they can receive 1% of personal income tax. In the tax declaration, everyone has the right to indicate the organization to which 1% of their taxes will be transferred;
- are exempt from certain taxes – e.g. income tax and legal transactions;
- they get the opportunity to inform about their activities free of charge on the radio and television.
Where do charitable organizations obtain funds for their activities?
Charities do not work for profit, and their only purpose is to help those in need. So where do they get the funds for their activities? There are several sources of financing, including:
- a donation, which is a form of a legal contract and may be financial or in kind. The funds are transferred by the donor who does not have any benefit from it;
- deduction of 1% of income tax – each taxpayer as part of the annual settlement may transfer 1% of his tax to a selected public benefit organization;
- public fundraising – funds are collected for a specific purpose, and such action requires obtaining an appropriate permit;
- grants from public funds – they are popularly called grants and are a non-returnable financial grant that is transferred to a charity for a specific purpose.
The largest charities in the world
World charitable organizations help people on all continents. The largest charities in the world include:
- The Red Cross and the Red Crescent are organizations that help the victims of natural disasters and the poor. They also conduct educational campaigns;
- Goodwill Industries International – focuses on supporting disabled people and their families. It also specializes in training for people who are at risk of total social exclusion;
- YMCA, or the Union of Christian Male Youth – has been operating since the mid-nineteenth century. Currently, she supports young people and their physical and spiritual development.