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Helping others – investing in yourself Helping others – investing in yourself
The holiday season is approaching: that time of the year when we observe heightened activity from various charity organizations and fundraisers for lofty goals.... Helping others – investing in yourself

The holiday season is approaching: that time of the year when we observe heightened activity from various charity organizations and fundraisers for lofty goals. It is always worth it to join in on such charitable events.

You should treat good deeds as an investment.

Even if we don’t have the resources to put in a lot of time or energy into goodwill activities, there exists plenty of readily available methods for supporting such causes and contributing to them in a practical way without too much effort. When out shopping, we can give part of what we buy to a shelter or food bank, send an SMS to the right number, or dedicate part of our taxes to a chosen charity fund. Most larger corporations provide support for organizations which are statutorily helping others; such as being the middle man providing gifts to hospices and orphanages. During such an action the organizers make a list of gifts and give them to the potential donors, so that they can choose their donations in accordance with the needs of the beneficiaries. These are not always toys; often they are in fact necessary items such as cosmetics, diapers, or a blender for a child on a feeding tube…Just reading such a list of “gifts” changes our world view and makes us more sensitive to the needs of others. It also changes the way we look at ourselves in this world. This is one very important aspect of helping: affecting yourself, shaping character, and forming a habit of helping others. It also gives a chance to build up a feeling of self-worth, noticing the misfortunes of others or areas of society which need our support, and bringing us closer to the world around us.

By helping others, we help ourselves, even if we don’t realize this. By sharing our surplus, we make ourselves feel better, useful, and valuable. When siding with those helping others we notice that we have far more than we think and we feel grateful that it is not us who are condemned to wallow in misery depending on the good will of others; as well as giving us hope that if we were ever to find ourselves in that situation that there will be some empathetic individual willing to help us through it as well. Helping allows us to fill a void in our hearts after a great loss and regain a feeling of sense in life in moments of doubt, and can even allow us to accomplish our dreams by supporting a certain athletic discipline or professional team which has always inspired us. We can cultivate local patriotism by subsidizing entities operating in the region and local initiatives. What is truly important is to remember that help is not only the amount of money transferred to a charity fund. Acts of help that are more directly engaging are also worthy of admiration and glory, such as volunteering. It is the offering of time and attention, visiting with those in need, and a direct confrontation of their misfortunes. This all requires a great deal of bravery.

Let us not forget, that charitable events are a great form of promotion. Eager to take advantage of this are not only legal entities but also private individuals. It is not a coincidence that most larger corporations lead charitable campaigns if not on a regular basis, then at least seasonally. One might ask the question: is it about helping others or appreciating and promoting themselves? Though I prefer the concept of the “invisible hand”, it does not mean that very visible and expressive forms of help are bad. If it serves to benefit both sides, then its great. The important part is to have a solution where everyone benefits, where everyone is happy. This applies to both businesses and individuals, recognized or not, conducting a marketing campaign of their personal brand.

Everyone wants to be associated with a positive image and warm feelings regarding their brand. Such connotations are easier to achieve by way of charity events, which are well organized and ensure that the donated help reaches the appropriate hands.

The list of benefits from helping is long and undeniable. If someone needs concrete numerical arguments, then I would like to remind you, that I encourage you to help those in need. For this, there have been numerous foundations called to action, to provide a catalog of goals of social and public benefit (see: Statute governing the works of foundations for public benefit and volunteering signed on the 24th day of April, 2003 – Dz. U. 2003 Nr 96 pos.873). Donors can deduct their donations from their tax obligations. In the case of legal entities, the deductible amount used for charitable donations can be up to 10% of the individual’s total income, as written in the above-mentioned statute. This is also mentioned in article 18 of the income tax law signed on February 15th 1992. When pertaining to private individuals the law is slightly different. The maximum amount of income that is deductible as a charitable donation is 6% of the total income of the individual. This privilege does not apply to individuals who calculate their income tax per the 18% linear income tax model (PIT 36L) or by way of the tax card (PIT 16A) – such individuals have no deduction for donations.

Additionally, a private individual has the right to dedicate 1% and 0.5% for benefit of the church (by way of indication in section KRS during the annual income tax declaration). It is beneficial to read article 26 of the income tax code for private individuals signed on July 26, 1991 (Dz. U. 2010 Nr 51 pos. 307). Remember that the deduction is not subject to the donations granted to individuals, legal persons, and organizational units without legal personality, engaged in economic activities involving the manufacture of electronic goods, fuel, tobacco, etc. If the subject of the donation are goods which are taxed under the VAT tax, then the total value of the donation is assumed to be inclusive of the payable tax.

Helping has a lot in common with investing, where the objective is also a joint victory. Perhaps this is why known and recognized investment bankers in Poland and around the world share their success by supporting various ideas and goodwill events, which I encourage you all to engage in as well! ■

Elżbieta Maśloch-Matrejek

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