I think we are obligated to give to the poor and less fortunate. However, I think it should be our own decision as to who we help. If one prefers to help in their local communities rather than to give to communities in another country, I do not think one should feel that they have violated some moral ethic. I also believe that you should give what you can afford and only you can decide how much that is. There are different ways of giving, you can give of your time if you are not financially able to give or not able to give much in the way of cash. You can give of your belongings that you have acquired if you want to give more than what your actual pocketbook allows you to give.
I think it is only natural to prefer to give to those you know or are related to. Your conscience would play on you if you gave to strangers when your own family members may need help and you cannot afford to give to both.
As far as giving most of your money away to help the poor even though it would increase their happiness far beyond your reduction in happiness, I believe you have to plan for your own rainy day or the fact that you may fall on hard times yourself. I always say, I am as generous as I can afford to be. And also I believe that what goes around, comes around… good or bad. So you get back what you give! I don’t understand how the extremely rich live with their conscience when they spend frivolously on a lifestyle that is unnecessary.
The problem is you do not know when you give if it is truly the best place to give to or if the funds will truly be used for the poor that it was intended for. Some of the non-profits organizations have CEOs that make into the millions. I think this is overkill and if you want to work for a charity you should be willing to work for a fair wage and not an excessive wage that even the average person would like to make a tenth of. Also you do not know what percentage of donations actually goes to helping the people in need.
What are your thoughts on giving to charities? Do you have any suggestions on the best way to help someone in need?