I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter but some ‘moments’ like this one make it all worth it.
A well-to-do college student wanted to engage her peers and network to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude’s and well, let’s just say it didn’t turn out quite like how she thought…
As a self-described charity nerd, this (funny) story shows both the good and bad about where are.
- That people like Danni are wanting to raise funds and awareness, publically, for causes they care about: Good
- That her network can ‘give’ just by retweeting or favoriting: Bad (well, it’s complicated but I think it’s more bad than good…)
- That her effort spread to ‘raise’ over $42,000: Good
- That she had no way to actually give that $42,000 she ‘raised’: Bad
- That she then could create a GoFundMe page to raise more money: Good
- That it’s not entirely clear if she’s contributing herself and how much: Bad
- That she’s actually raised $23,000+ from 800+ people in 2 days: Good
In the Millennial, social fundraising, and slacktivism discussions and debates, among others, I think we are quick to take a side, be in one camp, or label it as good or bad. When in reality, there are pros and cons, good and bad, and upsides and downsides. And we’re really just getting started. As more of these campaigns become popular and we understand them better, maybe we’ll be able to make more definitive statements.
But until then, maybe use these three questions as a ‘lens’ to see if it’s good or not:
- Is the intent to actually be generous?
- Is this actually helping make people more generous?
- Is this actually helping a nonprofit/charity/cause?
I think if the 2 out of 3 of those are a yes, then (generally speaking) we should call it good.
Many of the campaigns, new approaches, or ‘innovations’ that I don’t love or roll my eyes at are trying to inspire generosity in people and end up helping a cause in some way. So while I can ‘charity-nerd’ all day long about how it could be better — and they often can be — if we are moving towards more people trying to be more generous, we’ll get it right more often than not over time.
Let’s not be so quick to judge new attempts at giving like this even though there are some drawbacks and they aren’t always the best. And don’t commit to donations on social media you can’t actually make :)