Top Tips for IELTS

IELTS charity essay

In this lesson I show you two model IELTS essays about charity at home and abroad. You’ll find ideas for more essays and advice on:

how to address the question

structure your essay

 

IELTS charity essay

Understanding the question and task response

The discuss question

Some people think that charities should help people in need wherever they live, while others think that they should only assist people in their own country. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Read the question carefully

Note the word I have highlighted – only. It’s a small word but it makes all the difference to the meaning of the question. Note it. Underline it.

Task response

To get this task response for question right you need to think and plan carefully.

discuss both points of view – that means you may need to write about a point of view you disagree with

state your own point of view too and make that consistent throughout

Avoid a common problem

This type of essay can be tricky to get right as there is a danger that your point of view is unclear because you are also discussing other views too. My advice is

be very clear in your introduction about what you think

be equally clear in your conclusion about what you think

show when you are writing about what other people think and not what you think

Consider possible opinions

When you state your own point of view you have broadly a choice of saying:

I agree that charities should only work at home (essay 1 below)

I think they should work at home and abroad (essay 2 below)

They should in some instances work at home and in some work abroad  (a balanced point of view)

Only national charity essay

One issue today is whether charitable organisations should continue to provide aid to people in need in developing countries or just in their home societies  My view is that it would be a more effective use of resources if they concentrated their efforts on helping people in their own countries.

The main reason why international aid from charities is ineffective is that it provides no long-term benefits. Indeed, evidence shows that international poverty has actually increased in the last 40 years despite the best efforts of charities. This means that there are now just as many people living without fresh drinking water as ever before despite millions of dollars of aid from NGOs. In this case, there is a clear argument for restricting international aid from charities and to rely on national governments to build the correct infrastructure.

In contrast national charitable aid  is much more efficient and leads to real benefits. This is because charities are able not just to target the people most in need but also provide them with meaningful social support within their community. An example of this is how local charities are able to provide services such as home visiting for the elderly and sick, counselling for the depressed and food banks for the poor. In all these cases care will be provided by people who know and understand the problems and how to address them by providing local support that is appropriate for the person in need. The same is, sadly, not equally true when charities work in foreign countries.

My personal conclusion is that charities should concentrate on helping people in their own countries as they can provide proper social support in a way they cannot when they work abroad,

Both national and international charity essay

In this time of financial crisis charities play an increasingly important role in helping people in need. My clear view is that we need charities that support the vulnerable and less well-off in society both at home and abroad and it would be a mistake to restrict charities to providing assistance in their own country.

The main reason why some people argue charities should be restricted to a national level is financial. Most countries now face severe economic pressure and are unable to provide help to those most in need at home. This has led to the creation of an underclass is society made up of homeless people who often sleep on the streets and also rely on food banks to eat. Therefore it is argued that it would be a waste for charities to help people abroad when they can more effectively help people in their own community by providing help in the form of housing, food and even healthcare.

There is, however, a stronger argument for saying that charities should also help on an international level. This is because there are certain humanitarian crises that demand action from charitable organisations and NGOs, wherever they may be based. A good example of this is when a country suffers from a natural disaster such as an earthquake. In this case the host country is often unable to deal with the immediate consequences of the disaster and, for example, thousands of people might die needlessly through lack of water or blankets to keep them warm. This is a time when charities have both means and expertise to make a real difference in saving lives.

In conclusion I would say there is perhaps some reason for saying that charities should focus their efforts on helping the less well-off in their own society but this does not mean they should not act internationally too.

Notes on essay structure and task response

Point of view

If you take a look at both essays you should see that I make the point of view of the essay clear throughout – highlighted in red. Also note how I use the introduction, main topic sentences and the conclusion to do this.

A simple essay structure

You should also see how I use the paragraphs in similar ways in both essays – even though they take different points of view. Each paragraph talk about one of the main points of view in the question. This is the easiest and clearest approach.

Essay 1

para 1 – international aid – negative

para 2 – only national aid – positive

Essay 2

para 1 – only national aid – discussed and commented on

para 2 – international aid – positive

Note that in each case the final paragraph contains the view I agree with most. I do that because it helps me link to my conclusion.

It often helps coherence to keep the point you agree most with for your final paragraph – to link to your conclusion

Are other structures possible?

Of course!

You could try a structure where you discuss a different topic in each paragraph (e.g. finance/sustainability) and look at how they are affected by charities at home and abroad. In some ways, that structure is more interesting but a problem  is that it is a more complex structure and harder to write in a 40 minute test.

In a exam essay it’s normally a good idea to choose a simple structure – especially when you only have 40 minutes to write

Vocabulary

One point to note in both these essays are the way I use collocations to make what I say more precise. See these examples (highlighted in blue above). Note many of these are adjectives and adverbs that add meaning to what I say

actually increased 

fresh drinking water

a clear argument

the correct infrastructure

meaningful social support

address problems

face severe economic pressure

effectively help

humanitarian crises

demand action

immediate consequences

make a real difference

More ideas

There were a number of ideas I didn’t use in these essays. Here are some I decided to leave out because they would have made the essays too complex! Remember you don’t need that many ideas tow rite an IELTS essay – you need ideas that fit together and allow you to finish in 40 minutes:

When charities do help internationally

famine and flood – water supply

provide education and training – for business/economy

provide housing – poverty

train in use of clean energy

combat malaria and other diseases

provide food

short-term relief

Why charities should not work just at home

Duty of countries – especially developed countries – help poorer economies

We live in a global village – poverty and problems abroad effect us all – see the refugee crisis

Some countries do not have a charitable infrastructure/culture of charity

Problems with international charity work

creates dependency – governments don’t take action

not sustainable

cultural differences – language barriers – ignorance of local customs

cost inefficient – transport of people and materials – high administrative costs

money lost through corruption – aid not sent to people most in need

better done through multinational bodies such as UNICEF

Benefits of national charities

better able to integrate with local government and social services

 

Coherence

Writing a conclusion to your paragraph – making your point of view clear

One paragraph writing skill to note in this essay is how these two paragraphs have conclusions that match the topic sentences marked in red. It’s a useful skill when you want to make sure that your opinion – point of view – is clear.

In contrast national charitable aid is much more efficient and leads to real benefits. This is because charities are able not just to target the people most in need but also provide them with meaningful social support within their community. An example of this is how local charities are able to provide services such as home visiting for the elderly and sick, counselling for the depressed and food banks for the poor. In all these cases care will be provided by people who know and understand the problems and how to address them by providing local support that is appropriate for the person in need. The same is, sadly, not equally true when charities work in foreign countries.

The main reason why international aid from charities is ineffective is that it provides no long-term benefits. Indeed, evidence shows that international poverty has actually increased in the last 40 years despite the best efforts of charities. This means that there are now just as many people living without fresh drinking water as ever before despite millions of dollars of aid from NGOs. In this case, there is a clear argument for restricting international aid from charities and to rely on national governments to build the correct infrastructure.

The general pattern is:

main idea

explain

explain

restate main idea

Grammar – using modal verbs

Modal verbs are an excellent way to help your grammar.One way we use them is to discuss future possibilities and to comment on them See these examples here:

it would be a mistake

it would be a waste for charities

thousands of people might die needlessly

More IELTS essay lessons

I regularly post sample essay lessons to show you how to approach IELTS essays. You can find them here

Sample IELTS essays

You can find links to all my essay lessons here

IELTS essays

   

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3 Responses to IELTS charity essay

  1. Mussa Hassan Hatem October 26, 2016 at 4:34 am #

    I am really thankfull for your kind help you are such a good teacher indeed.
    Yours
    Mussa Hassan

  2. Laurence Goldman October 26, 2016 at 5:59 am #

    Hi Dominic, excellent explanation thanks with really constructive and well laid-out breakdown.
    I have a question though-
    The answer above is most definitely a band 8/9. Most of my IELTS students here in Israel only dream of a 7, so I was wondering if you could offer examples exactly as above, but at a band 7/7.5.
    This would give them and others the confidence to do your questions knowing they don’t need to use words such as meaningful and multinational.
    A contrast between the band levels and words will be super.
    I follow all your work and am honored to do so.

    • Dominic Cole October 27, 2016 at 10:01 am #

      Hi

      This is definitely on the agenda. I do need some more examples of what makes the difference between levels and examples of what is a band 7.

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