Humane: Do Some Good
Trinkets and T-Shirts
Ami Shah is a visiting professor at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. She wrote a guest post about the ways we conduct ourselves when it comes to charity on Humanosphere, a news site that I frequent for its refreshing content.
Shah brought up issues that I’ve often thought about: like why we give, to what organizations, and what we expect in return. In other words, do some of us require a gold star, so to speak, just a little something to let our associates know that we did a good deed? Shah’s discussion is not about the need for recognition as much as it is about the need for some of us to commodify our giving by receiving a token, be it ever so small a trinket, but still, something to satisfy our need for gratification for our generosity. NPR and PBS are common examples of how organizations appeal to this need by offering actual tokens of appreciation in the way of coffee mugs and tote bags.
Shah also makes reference to celebrity participation in charity galas and concerts that sometimes don't deliver the promises made. However, in defense of certain celebrities who are out there lending their voice to bring attention to humanitarian needs, please read "Standing Tall" in this issue of PONDER. You'll be encouraged to hear about Yao Ming's work with WildAid in helping to stop the slaughter of elephants and rhinos in Africa.
You can read Ami Shah’s article, "Selling Charity: Of Band-Aids and Bling" here.
She concludes her post by giving us something to think about:
The commodification of consumption potentially limits greater engagement by becoming our first point of contact, and of charity, with major humanitarian crises. Money spent on consumer goods could be put to more effective use by the organizations and governments involved directly in the response, an argument supporting both altruistic and efficiency-driven motivations for involvement.