The Dark Side of Online Charity

This may come across as perhaps insensitive or callous but the seemingly never-ending requests from people via e-mail for charitable donations has become tiresome.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of causes worth supporting but the ability to solicit personal donations using the Web strikes the wrong chord. For one, the personal connection has disappeared. It used to be that someone asking for a charitable donation would do so in person. It was an exercise that took time and effort but it was an “investment” that meant something for both parties.

Today, that no longer exists. The act of asking someone for a donation now involves nothing more than accessing your Outlook, GMail, Hotmail or Yahoo address books. With a few clicks, it’s a snap to send dozens, if not hundreds, of e-mail requests in a matter of minutes. It’s easy but so impersonal.

It has come to the point where I’ve decided to ignore most of these requests unless it’s a really close friend or relative. It’s probably not a decision that many people will openly endorse because giving to charity is obviously seen as a good thing but it’s a personal statement that these digital solicitations are failing to resonate.

I’ll still use the Web to make donations because it’s an efficient and cost-effective way for charities to raise money but I’ll do it by visiting their Web sites or doing so through companies such as Givemeaning.

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  • Arni

    I actually wholeheartedly endorse your point of view here. Digital solicitation, just like any other solicitation, is nothing but SPAM. Junk-mail that does not deserve my time or attention. When I have money to give, I give it to those that need it. I do this as often as I can (and sometimes when I even can’t) and I have no qualms over deleting all solicitous e-mail, or even the Donation bills I receive in the post regularly from places like the Red Cross and others. My conscience is clear on this issue.. I’ll do what I can when I can.. leave me the hell alone in between!