Charity should be about giving, not telling the world that you have given. That’s why, from jump street, I’ve had reservations about Bono’s (RED) campaign. While he’s a human being that I have immense respect for, I couldn’t get behind an altruistic effort that’s fueled by the same hyper-consumerism that has caused more problems than solutions.
Now, a year later, it appears my skepticism might be well-founded. Several reports have participating company’s spending efforts far out pacing the amount of money raised.
My point here isn’t to debate whether or not (RED) or any philanthropic effort is good or bad, rather, this is Jack of All Blogs’ call to urge bloggers to demand greater transparency from the charities they support.
It’s a definite plus in the blogosphere, and everywhere else for that matter, to tout yourself as socially conscious (who doesn’t want to look like a champion of global causes?). However, as Ricky Roma, as played by Al Pacino in Glengarry Glen Ross wisely preaches, “Know the shot.”
For example, here’s a breakdown of several (RED) products and the amount of money that actually gets sent off to the Global Fund.
- AMEX: 1% of spending when using a (RED) card
- GAP: 50% of net profits from (RED) items
- MOTOROLA: $8.50 per (RED) Motorazr
Are these numbers good or bad? That’s for you to decide. But as a consumer, wouldn’t you be more comfortable making a charitable purchase if you knew how much – and exactly where – the money was going? It’s this lack of transparency that is a major hindrance for thousands (maybe millions) of would-be donors.
Companies like the Gap get to wear a humanitarian face. Does that translate to greater overall sales, with only a thin slice of the pie making its way to Africa?
I’m the kind of blogger who doesn’t want a (RED) iPod or (RED) Dell; I’m comfortable buying the products I want and writing a check in the privacy of my own home.
Regardless of how you give, it’s the giving that’s important. In a World Wide Web that is ruled by lifehacks and productivity tips, it might be time for some charityhacks.
My blogs will never “go green” and my philanthropy will never “go red.” Colors are for the lowest common denominator; the simplest way to identify something. I like to think I’m a bit more of a chameleon.
Please bloggers, research before you give or take. And never tip the blogger.