Just like food and yagya, donation can also be categorized as saatvik, rajasik and tamasik.
Saatvik donation is one where the donor considers it to be his duty to serve humanity. He never thinks about what he would gain from this donation either in this life or after. He doesn’t expect anything in return from the receiver. He gives to the appropriate persons, at appropriate places and in appropriate times.
Any place/person/time, in need of what you’re giving is an appropriate place/person/time. In ordinary cases, Kurukshetra, Haridwaar, Mathura, Kashi, Prayag, Naimisharanya and other pilgrim places are considered the most appropriate places. And eclipse day, full moon day, new moon day, sankranti, ekadashi and other auspicious times are the most appropriate times. Apart from needy people, giving to all those as prescribed in the scriptures is apt.
It is our duty to serve those who’ve helped us. So such a behavior should never be considered a part of giving. A true help can never be paid back so the least we can do is to serve them and to make them happy. If we consider that as part of giving, then we’re insulting the recipient.
Rajasik donation is one which is given with some expectation or in return for some help or with bad thoughts/actions. Expectation could be directly from the recipient, could be attain some karma points, to establish one’s reputation, to get publicity, to impress someone, etc. Giving donation to somebody with whom one is involved or expects some assistance in the future is not considered true donation – because one is doing it for one’s own good. Similarly giving to somebody because you there’s other way out – there’s some political pressure or any other kind of pressure – is of no good.
Tamasik donation is one that is given without honor, in a disrespectful manner, to an ineligible person, at inappropriate place/time.