Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of Betty White's birth. The entertainer who won five emmys and had a career spanning over 70 years died December 31st. White had long been a crusader for inclusion and animal welfare. I along with millions of her fans were saddened by her death.
Shortly after her death, someone got an idea. Since she had been such an animal rights activist, why not have her fans donate $5 to local animal shelters in White's name on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Many of her fans did. In fact it was reported that some $91,000 was donated in White's name to the Calgary Humane society. A wonderful tribute to a woman who brought a smile to the face of many.
Fund raising on the internet has become a multi million dollar business. Websites such as Kickstarter, GoFundMe, Fundable, and Zopa have been used by groups seeking funding for medical care, startup costs for new businesses, production costs for movies, and what have you. Some of these fundraising initiatives have been quite legitimate. I know a family who lost everything they owned in a fire. They had no insurance. Friends started a go fund me campaign to help buy them a bit of furniture to start again. Organizations use such campaigns as well. The church where I grew up launched a funding campaign to pay for a new boiler.
Other fund raising initiatives are not so legitimate. Someone I know claimed to be dying and wanted a last minute wish to travel back to the old country to visit relatives. The person collected the money, went back to the old country, and is still around five years later and he seems quite healthy. Other people have asked for help after dealing with tragedies that never happened. Too many gullible people are taking advantage of by slick hucksters.
Charitable dollars are always hard to come by. There are thousands of worthwhile charities out there. There are some groups I give money to regularly, and I am sure these organizations make a difference in the world. There are also many scams. Do your research. Is the need real? How much of your donation goes to helping others? How much goes to television ads, glossy brochures, fundraising costs? How much actually goes to helping people? One well known, successful global aid organization (I will not name it here) spends 40% on advertising and fund raising costs. Others spend next to nothing like the United Church's Mission and Service Fund). Do some homework before giving your money. Make sure your money gets to the people who need it.
It is harder to investigate fundraising initiatives that individuals put on Facebook. However, look at others who support them. Check with local papers to substantiate flood and fire claims. If the person is a Facebook friend, check with other other Facebook friends to see if it is true about Joe and what has befallen him. If the person is not a Facebook friend, you really have no idea if the request is true or not. You give money at your own peril.
We all want to be a friend. We all want to make a difference. We just need to do this wisely. So thank you. Blessings