The prevalence of social media has borne a phenomenon with which I seem to be having a little trouble. Everywhere you look, funds are being requested.
Whether it be for Kickstarters, donations to charities, or personal causes, it seems money is being requested from all directions, all the time.
I’ve given to choice causes, either out of personal desire or obligation, or for items in return (that have not always materialized), over the years, and I’m wondering if our new ‘charity culture’ is actually paying off.
I’m not talking about just the Internet here. Retailers ask for the remainder of your change for charities, or an extra dollar, or a $25 fee in exchange for months of discounts, and I’m starting to wonder whether the ever-increasing quantity of causes to which one can give affects a) how much is collected, and b) how much one is willing to give.
I’ve even seen neighbors soliciting fellow neighbors for classroom supplies. I, unfortunately, haven’t been able to give. And what’s worse than a bad neighbor who doesn’t buy the kids’ handmade scrunchies, wreaths, or donate to the inner city school supply fund?
I’m all for raising money, but I’m truly beginning to feel like there’s an oversaturation of solicitation occurring around me. And I literally cannot log into Facebook or Twitter without discovering new causes each day.
So, what do you do? Give to none? Give to all? Give to the people closest to you and causes you want to support seriously? And do you publish those activities? Do you create a limit for yourself?
Personally, I’ve just blanked out. There are so many campaigns happening at a time, I honestly lose track. Between personal friends, Facebook pages, other bloggers, nonprofit agencies, causes affiliated with retailers, Kickstarters, and educational and medical care funds, I’m beginning to feel burdened. And guilty.
And what of those funds that turn out to be scams? How much homework do you do before you give?
I agree, totally, that if you’re going to solicit somewhere, there is no better place than the Internet. But how much is too much? Do you set aside a particular amount and give until it runs out? Do you only give to what speaks to you? Do you give for chances to win or receive something in return?
I have neither decided on nor executed a plan yet. I’m still a little overwhelmed overall. I give occasionally, and support others who are working hard, spending precious time and energy on their causes, but I do not open my wallet to every opportunity that emerges.
With the holiday season fast approaching, I’ve had to take pause to consider our gifting strategy, budget, and what opportunities might avail themselves throughout.
I’ve always been more for ‘getting my hands dirty’. I’d rather go into a food bank and volunteer my time than write a check (or click PayPal) in support of a cause. For me, it’s tangible, it’s real, and it just feels better. Personal advice from me would be to just get out there. Get out there and do something positive. Create some good karma. Warm a few hearts.
But if you must wade through all the causes digitally vying for your attention, choose wisely. Do your homework. And don’t get overwhelmed. Develop a strategy and go with it.
There are a lot of ways to give back, Internet or otherwise.
And if you’re like me, struggling with what to do, go with whatever works best for you and your family.
However you choose to do it, show your children how good it can feel to give.