Friday, November 27, 2009

Charity As A Popularity Contest?

In 1989, there was an earthquake in San Francisco. I was 10 years old. I was and still am an Oakland A's fan, so I saw the whole thing happen on tv.

I sent two weeks allowance to the Red Cross, who had set up a fund for donations to help the relief efforts in the area.

To this day, I'm still not quite sure why I sent $10 to help the earthquake victims. But I know what didn't inspire me.

It wasn't Ashton Kutcher racing Oprah to a million followers and donating what he would have anyway. It's not Drew Carey inflating his follower numbers to donate to LiveStrong.

We get it, you're famous. Donate and we'd find out. We seem to find out everything you folks do.

Since when did donating to charity become a popularity contest?

Until now, two people knew that I donated what I did. Mom and Dad. I didn't go around starting a list and telling people I'd donate more if they signed up.

I donated because I wanted to. No matter who else knew, or cared. It felt good to do so, and that's why I did it.

This is charity, not high school. Helping people who are less fortunate is the one thing that does not need all the extra bullshit. Do it for yourself, not anyone or anything else.


  1. I do agree with most of what you say here. Giving to charity SHOULD come from the heart and not because you want to be more popular. I also think, however, that when celebrities pull stunts like that it's a great thing for the charity. Celebrities may be trying to up their social status, but the charity is getting lots more face time with the public than they may get usually. Working for a non-profit, I would be psyched if some celebrity said they would donate money for every follower they got on Twitter. We get financial support and we get exposure.

  2. That's true, it is a good thing. I can never say donating to charity is a bad thing - but if you're going to donate a large sum of money regardless of what people do, just do it. Go ahead and publicize it, but don't pander, its annoying and borderline offensive.