It’s because 10% is simple.
It’s the traditional standard that people have used to tithe since ancient times; “tithe” literally means “one tenth of annual produce or earnings, formerly taken as a tax for the support of the church and clergy.”
As far as I know, there’s no other word that defines charitable giving by a specific amount. You don’t have to be religious to tithe, and you don’t have to give money to the church. I’m not.
10% is also very affordable. Pretty much anyone can do it, as long as they’re not in debt. If I decided to go with 15% instead (entirely possible that I might do this in the future), it’s another step I’d have to take in calculating how much I have to give away. It’s not necessarily a difficult step, but it’s harder than ten percent. For example, let’s say my boss gives me my pay-stub and it says I made $871 last week. I don’t have to make any calculations to figure out what 10% looks like. I just move the decimal place one integer to the left ($87.10) and subtract it from my total. I know now my “real” pay and I immediately feel compelled to donate at least that 10%.
15% is an extra step, though. So is 20%. Both of which make the concept less marketable.
If you’re feeling extra generous, go ahead and do more. Post it in a comment so you can rub it in, too. I love to compete. Depending on how money people I can get doing that, I’m thinking about maybe doing a 5% match for anyone else’s generous giving, too (assuming it’s reasonable).
In Matthew 6: 1-4, Jesus says, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
Sorry, Jesus, I think that’s bullshit.
Why not let people know who you’re giving your money to? They’re probably thinking about doing the same thing; they just don’t know who to trust. It sounds like something a poor man would say to make people think he’s not accepting hand-outs. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Just keep grinding, keep trying new things, and let others help you.
And if you can’t afford 10%, start lower. Contribute whatever you can, if you want. Start with 1%. I think that everyone — even those in debt — can afford to give 1% of their salary to the causes they choose.
Don’t perform mental gymnastics to convince yourself that it doesn’t matter. Any step in the right direction should be rewarded. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re giving away 10% of your income and you’re not making millions, you’re more charitable than the millionaires, proportionally. Even though they’re giving away more than you, that money could actually change your standard of living. Theirs wouldn’t.
“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog,” – Jack London.
I also don’t think that anyone’s contribution should be measured solely in dollars. Just because the multibillionaires of the world have more money to give away doesn’t mean they have a bigger impact by default. Of course it’s incredibly likely, but it’s also incredibly likely that they spend *no* time whatsoever researching the charities that they’re giving to.
That’s one of the biggest differences between philanthrocapitalism and traditional philanthropy. Before you spend a few hundred thousand dollars on a house, you research. You figure out exactly what it’s worth. Why don’t we apply the same approach to charitable giving? Why are certain people called “philanthropists” for donating millions to Harvard the year before their son/daughter applies? That’s not philanthropy; that’s bribery.
Charitable giving shouldn’t be measured solely by the standard of “dollars spent.” We don’t measure the quality of our purchases by how much money we spend on them, because you might not get a good value — that’s why reviews exist. Why are we doing the same thing with charity?
COST =/= VALUE
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get,” – Warren Buffett