Allah says in Qur`an, that if he were to bestow riches upon his servants they would run amok in their mischief making. He also says that were he not to check the actions of some men by the actions of others that oppression would rule the earth. By the same principle, were He not to make giving a requisite to receiving, there would be no good deed done on the planet at all.
Charity is blessed. Giving (for the right causes) attracts barakah (blessing). The proof of intention is action and action is a giving (contribution). The quality of the action (giving) can certainly vary, but you become what you do, and speech is also action.
Sufis are told that the smallest of charity is to toss a rock out of the way of foot traffic. Another small one is to lick a bowl or a plate clean. Another is a smile, or a friendly greeting, and to say "Alhamdulillah" when asked about your state.
Charity can take the form of learning the things that are required of you for congenial social interaction, studying Islamic law for the purpose of self-application, learning Qur`an properly for the purpose of recitation and teaching others.
The relationship of the person and the receiving (from Allah - of charity) is also very interesting. Allah says in Qur`an: " Antum al-fuqara`, wa Huwa al Ghaniyy-ul- Hamid", "You are the poor, and He is The Wealthy Beyond Measure, The Only Worthy of Praise." While the classical translation of fuqara` (Poor, sing faqir) implies poverty, it is different for the word "miskeen", which also means poor, implying poverty but signifying an irreparable lacking of means to recover. The sufis use the word "faqir" to signify one who is acutely aware of his dependence upon Allah for all things, and in another to signify a dervish, or one belong to a sufi order. In this significance, the shaykh, master or teacher of the order is the 'owner of the house, the host at the table of whom sit the guests, the "fuqara`".
Concerning the word sadaqah, it is used in many ways. Allah says in Qur`an that charity (sadaqah) ids for the poor (fuqara`), the traveler, the orphan and widow, and in that respect the masters put up with their students.