On September 5, people worldwide observe the International Day of Charity. This event fosters a sense of generosity and kindness among millions worldwide2. Beyond inspiring people, the International Day of Charity facilitates charitable actions worldwide.
The event is a platform for philanthropic acts that transform understanding into tangible support. But it is also a day about giving time, sharing skills, showing empathy, and promoting solidarity. It reminds us that there are many ways to contribute, and each act of charity can uplift those in need.
Each year, this event emphasizes our shared responsibility towards each other. Charity begins at home, but it should not end there. Read on to learn more.
Featured in: September - Awareness Months, Days & Observances
History and Background of the International Day of Charity
The United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of Charity in 2012 to acknowledge Mother Teresa of Calcutta's humanitarian work, for which she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. The United Nations General Assembly chose September 5 because it coincided with the anniversary of Mother Teresa's death in 1997.
The International Day of Charity has significantly impacted local and international communities experiencing various humanitarian crises. It honors selfless acts alleviating humanitarian crises and human suffering and addressing socioeconomic challenges, promoting empathy, kindness, and humanitarian interventions.
From its early days, the International Day of Charity has focused on raising public awareness, facilitating charitable efforts worldwide, and contributing to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
Stressing the critical role of charity in promoting human welfare, the event represents a long-standing ethos of solidarity and social cohesion.
Related Read: National Volunteer Month
The Cause and Its Challenges
The International Day of Charity highlights a persistent issue of humanity: poverty.
Hunger impacted a staggering 828 million people in 2021, marking a considerable spike from previous years. Nearly 10% of the global population struggled with hunger, reinforcing the growing crisis.
Moreover, hunger mainly affects children. In 2019, malnutrition stunted the growth of up to 144 million children under five.
The growing threat of climate change exacerbates the problem1. Climate change can severely impact agricultural productivity, worsen natural disasters, and displace entire communities.
Charities addressing such issues face difficulties, including a need for more resources and corruption.
Our primary focus is to wipe out extreme poverty globally by 2030, a crucial target set by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Through the International Day of Charity, we all act and overcome poverty for a better tomorrow.
5 Facts on Why International Day of Charity Matters
- By 2030, it's predicted that around 670 million people, or 8% of the world population, will suffer from hunger, mirroring the rates seen when the 2030 Agenda started in 2015.
- The economic fallout from COVID-19 caused 3.1 billion people to struggle to afford a nutritious diet in 2020, a stark increase of 112 million from 2019, primarily due to increased food prices.
- The 2020 data revealed that socioeconomic factors tremendously influenced these statistics, with 22% of global children under five being stunted, 6.7% being wasted, and 5.7% being overweight.
- The latest annual report on philanthropy by Giving USA recorded that U.S. charities received approximately $499.33 billion in 2022 after two consecutive best years of charitable giving.
- There was a 3.4% drop in total giving in 2022 due to economic uncertainty and market instability. Even if increases were recorded in five of the nine nonprofit categories that receive donations, the growth fell behind the 8% inflation rate.
Related read: Poverty Facts & Statistics.
Efforts and Initiatives
Globally, efforts to eradicate poverty through charitable giving are gaining momentum, with numerous organizations like the United Nations through the World Food Programme. There are also nonprofits like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Oxfam International.
Among others, these entities invest in resource provision for impoverished communities and actively involve themselves in policy development and advocacy for poverty alleviation.
The United States focuses on poverty eradication not only through direct giving but also by strongly emphasizing policies and programs that enable self-sufficiency.
Prominent American charitable initiatives such as Feeding America and United Way function on multi-level strategies, from food provision and educational support to offering financial assistance and workforce development programs.
How to Get Involved and Celebrate International Day of Charity
- Find a cause that resonates with your values and beliefs.
- Join charity events or donate to numerous local and global charities dedicated to making a positive impact3.
- Organize a charity event, such as walks or bike rides, combining fitness, fundraising, and camaraderie.
- Volunteer at nearby animal shelters, homeless centers, or food banks.
- Raise awareness on social media platforms and encourage others to get involved by sharing inspiring stories.
Charitable giving, whether in a local or international community, can significantly contribute to eradicating poverty. As we mark the International Day of Charity, let's remember that every act of selfless giving can make a difference. Start today, uplift a life, and contribute to a better future for all.
International Day of Charity FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
International Day of Charity is an annual observance established by the United Nations to encourage everyone to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities.
It is celebrated on September 5th every year.
It raises awareness about the importance of charitable acts in addressing social and humanitarian issues globally.
Donate money to charitable organizations, volunteer your time and skills, or organize fundraising events to support a cause you care about.
You can positively impact the lives of others, contribute to the betterment of society, and promote empathy, compassion, and solidarity.
FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO. 2022. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022. Repurposing food and agricultural policies to make healthy diets more affordable. Rome, FAO.
Bekkers, R., & Wiepking, P. (2011). A Literature Review of Empirical Studies of Philanthropy: Eight Mechanisms That Drive Charitable Giving. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 40(5), 924–973.
Sargeant, A., & Woodliffe, L. (2007). Building Donor Loyalty: The Antecedents and Role of Commitment in the Context of Charity Giving. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 18(2), 47-68.