I have always received a good laugh at people who will buy a product they otherwise would not so they can support some cause. After all, if you were really into the cause and really had the money to go and spend on something you would not otherwise buy, why not just donate it a relevant charity? Doing so would maximize the amount of money going to the victims, as opposed to having a large chunk of the amount deducted by a company.
One yearly example of this is Dining Out For Life, which is a single night where restaurants donate a at least 25 percent of your bill to local counter-HIV/AIDS efforts. As a side note, one of my best friends loves this program, and while I disagree with her intensely, she’s still awesome. Don’t be upset, SF!
Another example of providing companies with some unearned generosity and not doing much to help those needing it is (RED), the annoyingly trendy use of red-colored products to raise money for counter-HIV/AIDS efforts in Africa. You may remember Oprah teaming up with corporate standouts like Gap to push this program. Instead of individuals doing some real help and donating money to these efforts, they instead pay for a red t-shirt that is some sort of (red) badge of (false) good will. “Hey guys, I’m so hip cuz I wear this stupid red t-shirt and am not smart to actually donate directly!” Yeah.
Well, now the numbers are in for the sucker hipsters: Of the $100 million received from consumers (not philanthropists!), 82 percent is spent on advertising. Way to go! What an impact.
So instead of being silly and wearing a shirt that says you care, just donate. If you want something to show for it, look at your tax deduction.