Charities to Relatives: The Rules to Go By

happy volunteer girl showing thumbs up sign, group in background

Sharing with Your Family Unit

Donating goods, time and services within your family is often overlooked because of the needs of the greater community. Yet, there are benefits to sharing within your family unit that don’t get much recognition.

Sharing or borrowing money within a family is near taboo. It has the potential to ruin relationships and place an unnecessary strain on the entire family, even those who are not involved in the transaction.

If you are going the share or donate money, goods, time, or services within your family unit consider the following rules:

  1. Don’t expect anything back – the very word “charity” is defined as “voluntary giving.” You are choosing to take an action, and you should do so with the understanding that you will not receive anything in return or exchange except, perhaps, the love and appreciation of your family member. Ancient Wisdom: “You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. (Deuteronomy 23:19 KJV)
  1. Don’t brag about it to other people – if you are sharing within the family unit it doesn’t have to be anyone else’s business but the few people involved in the transaction. If the recipient wants to share information it is likely okay to discuss the topic, but double check before discussing your offerings.
  1. Never hold your contribution against someone – we don’t always get our way in life so it can be easy to start a conversation with, “Remember that time when I gave you …” While it might be tempting, you should refrain from holding goods and services that you volunteered against the recipient of your donations. If they didn’t ask for the items or services, you have no right to throw it in their face when you want something in return.
  1. Refrain from stipulations – charity shouldn’t be used to bargain so refrain from language like, “I’ll give you this if you …” These conversations are more along the lines of bartering than charity.
  1. Don’t ask for the goods back – when you offer someone an item unconditionally, you cannot take it back at a later date. The common American term for this action is “Indian giver.”

It is important to maintain positive relationships with your family members, so if you have any belief that the pending transaction or donation will cloud that relationship you should consider alternative options like:

  • Sharing advice for other solutions to the problem
  • Offering to help them find alternative solutions
  • Encouraging them to fix the problem on their own.

According to, a hadith states, “Without a doubt, when a Muslim spends money on his family while considering (the action as worship), it is an act of charity”. Furthermore, it is stated, “Charity given to a poor person is charity, but charity given to a relative is two things, charity and upholding the ties of kinship,” as narrated by Abu Mas’ud al-Badri.

Christian attitudes toward charity can be traced directly to the teachings of Jesus. In Matthew 25:35-40 KJV, the most widely used Gospel says:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

Ancient Wisdom states: “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, ‘Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.’” (Deuteronomy 15:11, KJV)

Sharing your wealth and fortune with family members can be just as fulfilling as contributing to the community, but be certain to exercise extra caution. The advice above can aid you if you donate time, money or services to family members.

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