Friday, 19 December 2014

Charity Past, Present and Future

My memories of charity giving from childhood centre around coins and things - collecting boxes for the Lifeboats being rattled in the town, poppies or Queen Alexandra roses to pin on your coat, my RSPCA and PDSA badges, the Oxfam cards my parents bought each Christmas, putting pennies into a life-size model of a Guide Dog for the blind, raffle tickets...

These days, giving to charity has become not just easier to do, but easier to shout about, too. Buttons on your browser instead of your coat, crowdfunding platforms, Gift Aid, posting your donation on Facebook, PayPal links, timely emails whenever a world disaster occurs and all the rest.

And then there are all those big behavioural campaigns where you can be a walking awareness-raiser, from Movember to No Make-Up Selfie to Ice Bucket Challenge. These have come in for criticism on one side from those who say such actions trivialise the issues that they are trying to create awareness for, and find something sinister in what they see as "branding a disease." And the critics, on the other side, are dismissed as cynical killjoys with a bah, humbug mentality.

It's difficult to tell whether people are actually giving more to charity these days, or whether they are just talking about it more. There are some interesting stats from the Charities Aid Foundation, here. I must say that I was surprised to see which country shares first place with the USA in the World Giving Index.

The World Giving Index is not just about donating money. It also include the elements of giving up time and helping a stranger. And this must be the future for charities - using the possibilities of technology to encourage people to donate not just money, but time, skills and other intangibles. There's a super article by Lucy Aitken of Contagious with some great examples of just that, here.


Barbara Fisher said...

Hello Sue, just a quick visit to wish you a Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year. I’m going to be taking a little time away from my blog but wanted to say hi before I go. Barbara.

Sue Imgrund said...

Thank you, Barbara - and wishing you a very Merry Christmas, too.