Saturday, December 09, 2006

Tis the Season

I've done entries in the past about how much I hate point of purchase shake downs for charity.
Large companies and banks ask for a dollar for their pet charity, and then get to look like they're doing something plus get a nice tax break for doing it.
It's good business, and I suppose it's good for the charity too...but unless they match what they take from the consumer, it's my opinion.
That's why I won't give that dollar.
I'd rather drop it in the Salvation Army cup, or donate $10 to Goodwill.

Then there are the companies who use charity to sell their products.
In 2002, The Gap donated $1 for every bra sold across Canada for the month of June and the sales at Gap Body went up 30% for the month of the promotion.
If their sales went up 30%, shouldn't their donation to the cause go up 30%?
Eh, it's business. I suppose they spent money advertising the campaign, and bringing attention to the cause, right?

Yoplait donated ten cents for every pink yogurt lid mailed back to the company—it would take 6 lids just to make up for the price of the stamp, if you were sending it from Toronto.

There are those that say that in our capitalist culture, the only way to get people to contribute to charities is to combine giving with taking. I buy, you give something to the charity of your choice.

This feeds into the whole "What's in it for me" mentality that is already quite well fed...and just like the waitress and bartender who overtip because they know what the job entails...those that seem to give directly to a charity are those who work in fields that are helped by those charities, and know how important it is to help.

This mornings article in The Star about MADD's (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) `exorbitant costs', and how only $ .19 of each of the 12 million dollars they raised actually went to programs.
Reading the article on MADD makes it appear that their programs are actually run on the backs of their volunteers.

Most of money raised was apparently spent on fundraising and administration costs.

Charity as a "make work" project.
Something to keep people employed?
Ok, is that bad? I guess it depends on how much administration is getting paid.
I've heard people say the same thing about cancer charities. I've heard it said that there is a cancer industry. That there will never be a cure because it employs too many people.
Just like there is a depression industry.
Now, through commercials you can decide which medication you think you should take and you can "ask your Doctor", who may get a kickback from the drug company for any prescription he/she writes....but that's another post.

Maybe charity is actually only an illusion. Something to keep the curtain up while commerce just keeps rolling along, while people who really do believe in the good of human nature volunteer, and donate to causes that have personal importance to them.

Eh, don't listen to me...I'm a cynic.