Before I get started I just have to say one thing to all the people that I see sharing/liking pictures saying ‘for every like this picture gets Facebook will donate $1 towards medical care for this child”. Just don’t. & if you did then you’re an idiot and we are no longer friends on Facebook. Read this article for more information about dumb Facebook hoaxes. [End of Rant]
We live in a time where we have the ability to make contributions to international charities with great ease. Most major charities have websites and a direct link that allows you to make a credit card donation. This increased accessibility allows these charities to raise more money than ever before, but there are risks involved. Many people achieve satisfaction of making a donation online without having to go out into the community to make a difference and offer their time. Is there a difference in the satisfaction received from a few clicks and a small $ donation added to your credit card statement versus time and effort being put into the community and being a witness to the value of your contribution? I can’t say that I am not one of those people who makes online donations, because I do. It’s a quick and easy, good deed for the day, feeling like I’ve helped someone and then I go about my business and back to focusing on what work needs to be done in my life and put my time and effort towards that. I have experienced the other side as well, donating my time to homeless shelters and organizations such as ‘Feed the Hungry‘. The food was much appreciated but also was the company and interaction, which is lacking from online donations. So from my personal experience, I can say that I felt a lot better driving home after serving food to the less fortunate than I did after I donated to my fiance’s Movember account. I am not saying that online charities are bad, really anything is better than nothing right? I’m just comparing the two.
I think that online charities take away from charitable actions because people have the ability to make a financial contribution in a matter of minutes. How much more valuable would time and physical work be over a donation? What does that $10, $20, or $50 go towards? I also have to mention the large amount of scams that have risen online, people setting up fake charities and taking advantage of other people’s misfortune as a way to con people into giving them money and thinking that it is going towards helping a certain cause when it actually is not.
Obviously we can avoid that by using certain sites that are protected and have strong credibility. So if donating online is something that you are involved in then be sure to do your research and know where your money is going and what it is being used for. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has up-to-date information on false charities and includes warning signs and advice on protecting yourself and your money when making donations.