Charity is big business today so how does a charity stand out? With all these charities and good causes how do you choose one? Once you have do you have any idea what your money is really spent on?
In the last 2 months since arriving in New Zealand we have bought ginger bread horses for RDA, bought our red noses, made and bought cakes from a Plunket cake stall and donated to the school PTA for crazy hair day. On top of this I have been stopped in the street and asked to sponsor a child somewhere in the world, been in several charity shops and there are the ALS ice bucket challenges going around as well. So it’s clear there is plenty of options before you even go looking.
So how do charities stand out?
There are 4 ways that spring to mind for getting your charity noticed:
- Get connected with the community that you are working in. This is the RDA/Plunket approach where they either sell the things at local schools or ask the people who are using them to give either money or goods or time to help fund raise.
- Get a big TV show or set of shows made and then ask people to give, so the Red Nose day approach but clearly this is limited.
- Go viral on social media with something that is generally totally unconnected to your charity, such as the ice bucket challenges.
- Have people on the street approaching people/shaking cans. The Red Cross approach where ideally they will get you to commit to regular contributions.
Clearly these different approaches will have different levels of immediate and long-term success. The viral or TV thing will have the biggest immediate impact but will die out very quickly. The connecting with the community will bring in less but will be more continuous overtime. The street thing will depend on if you get regular contributions vs coins in the can.
How do you choose the charity or good cause to support?
So you’re confronted with all these requests for help, how do you go about choosing which ones to support? Clearly what a bunch of people do (and I’m guilty of this too) is to just put some coins in the tin what ever it is to get away quickly or just plain ignore the whole thing.
If you’re wanting to make a difference in the world this approach isn’t going to work. Whilst the scatter gun of dropping in the bucket or sponsoring friends irrelevant of what the cause is, will make a difference is it one that you want to make or can you even tell you have made it? At the same time trying to take in what each charity that registers on your radar does is way too much information to process.
Also if you are trying to raise globally aware citizens, how do you get them involved from a young age? For this we have gone down the route of putting coins in cans to foster the concept of giving and as they get older involving them in donating old toys and clothes to charity shops. As they get older we will have to think about the concept of choosing where to give to.
For us so far it has been the charities that have reached out and made themselves aware to us. If a charity isn’t organised enough or prepared to put the effort into getting into our consciousness is it worth us putting our effort into? Will it last?
Then it’s a matter of how do you want to change the world? Sounds like a big goal or aim but a mountain is made up of small pebbles or what ever proverb you want to use. What you are doing is mad a better place be it the coffee you pay for the next person who forgets their wallet or devoting your entire life to making sure baby turtles make it to the water.
At the moment we are concentrating on charities in our community, I guess partially from a selfish point of view, in that we are settling in and using these services but it’s also giving back to those that have helped us. In the past we have given to charities for street children in Cambodia and maybe we will give to part of the world that is less well off.
So where am I going with all this? Basically I think that it’s best to choose 1 or a few charities that help where we want to make a difference rather than giving a little to what ever we stumble across.
Do you know where your money is going?
Now I guess this is kind of linked to the above in choosing what to give to. What’s the point in giving all that time, money, clicks to if it’s not actually making a difference to the world where you think it is.
Clearly the ice bucket challenges have raised awareness of ALS but also it’s raised a bunch of cash. Do you know what your $100 actually gets spent on? Neither do I but I have seen a post on Facebook suggesting that only about $8 will go towards research for a cure. It also came with a comment saying you should do your own research before donating.
For this reason I like giving to the local charities or smaller ones overseas where you can see where the money is getting spent. For example the Cambodian charity we gave to asked that you gave items not money and we went and saw the kids that were being helped. Clearly that’s not always possible but a little research is possible.
Have I answered any questions or come to any conclusions? Probably not but it has helped me sort out a few things in my own mind. Funny isn’t it how a post about charity is possibly my most selfish post as it’s been used to sort a few things out in my own head more than anything else. If you have got this far thank you for reading my brain dump.