Wednesday Week on Thursday: ‘Tis the Season to think Carefully About Your Aid $$

9 Dec

Dear reader, I hope you will forgive me for being a little late with my links post this week. Thursday is the day I’m supposed to use to talk about work, but since I am unemployed, trust me, that would be a very boring post. And I think this is important enough to get it up now.

One of the things I have done in the past, and I know others do too, at Christmas or other gift-giving times is to donate for other people. Oxfam Unwrapped is popular for this, I used to enjoy tailoring my gifts to the recipient, like the year I gave my friend Lucy condoms (her mother is a family planning nurse and so the whole family is awkwardly passionate about sexual health). I won’t be doing that this year; I’m knitting from my stash for Christmas, which means most people I know won’t be getting gifts till the new year (sorry guys, but it’s OK because you won’t want to wear your gloves til April anyway.)

However, seeing this post reminded me that I’ve learned some things about giving to charity recently, mostly from reading material at one website: Good Intentions Are Not Enough. They pretty much do what they say on the tin: explain why, as commendable as giving is, giving aid without being thoughtful can end up doing more harm than good. I highly recommend spending some time on their site. Particularly unexpected for me was the idea that giving money is usually better than giving time or goods. But it makes sense when you think about it: in almost any situation, it’s better to be able to pay someone trained to do a good job than it is to utilise untrained, irregular workers who also have a day job. Good Intents have a handy holiday giving guide; I also recommend their various posts about in-kind donation (this post about why not to donate shoes is my favourite because it is extremely concrete). You can also read up elsewhere on voluntourism and why administration costs might be a good thing.

I can’t tell you which charity to give to. But be aware that the pushy charities aren’t always the best ones; sometimes religious charities come with strings attached; and that sometimes, it’s not the thought that counts. It’s the cash.

Also, don’t forget to think about giving locally as well as or instead of to the sexy international charities! I hear it begins at home.


7 Responses to “Wednesday Week on Thursday: ‘Tis the Season to think Carefully About Your Aid $$”

  1. Saundra 09/12/2010 at 2:17 am #

    Thanks, glad to know you find my blog helpful.

    • Tui Head 09/12/2010 at 2:35 am #

      I do, hugely. It really changed the way I thought about donating.

  2. ladylarla 09/12/2010 at 2:33 am #

    Oh nice idea Tui! Am hoping to spend Christmas helping at the City Mission small in the grand scheme but hopefully it counts!

    Also Stash presents…watch me be greedy, tell you want you get a stash prezzie if I get one 😉

    • Tui Head 09/12/2010 at 2:34 am #

      How about a stash birthday present? I’ll probably be done with my immediate family by April 😉

      I’m not going to make it down this month though. I’m pretty gutted. 😦

      • ladylarla 09/12/2010 at 2:41 am #

        Aww Im gutted to hear that, I’m still hoping to make a whirlwind visit in Jan though for the painting exhibition at Te-Papa, and of course you’re my staring/drooling at painting buddy so lets keep fingers crossed for that.

        Stash prezzies always good, any ideas or wish list for something you’d like crocheted for you?

    • Tui Head 09/12/2010 at 2:46 am #

      Oh yes, you must do that, I can’t wait to see you! ❤

      Ooh. What a tempting question! I don't know really. if you have any project you want to make (especially something lacy), go to it! a scarf would be specially nice since I lost my favourite shawl, but that's a big project so anything else would be fine too.

  3. hungryandfrozen 09/12/2010 at 7:31 am #

    What a fantastic site…lots to think about and learn. Cheers for linking to it.

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