Warning: This post was published more than 12 years ago.
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This is a very interesting piece, seemingly suggesting that many people have donated to the various charities supporting those caught in the Asian Tsunami are doing so for the glory and pride of doing so, rather than to actually support the people.
A new Populus poll for the Times has suggested such widespread eagerness to appear generous that avowals of altruism occasionally precede the actual act. Over the weekend 83% of the British public claimed that their household had made a donation to the earthquake appeal, the average sum being £33.28. Which, if true, would have added up to more than £800m. In fact, the sum raised by last Friday was a respectable, but more modest, £100m.
I certainly think that there is an element of this going on, though I suspect that it was bound to happen as soon as the celebrities got involved. Once one pop group support the charities, another looks bad unless they do the same. I’ve not seen this happen on a person-to-person level in the community, but perhaps that’s just me.
I personally worry about the amount of money given to this one campaign, and the money that has been diverted from other charitable campaigns. I think it would make more sense to highlight charities that are working in the areas and not have special campaigns, since this would mean that those on the front line in different emergencies can use the money most appropriately. That way, the money donated to this campaign could also be directed to the people dying of HIV and AIDS in Africa. But would people be as likely to donate? Probably not. Or maybe I’m just being cynical.