Popular charities, such as the recent ALS fundraiser, get a lot of attention due to their unique donation format, but they can be a disservice to other well-meaning charities. A report on the Quartz website published last August 14, 2014 details how high-profile and competitive charities can detract from the noble goal of actually helping others. The article makes a good point regarding how charities can encourage people to genuinely lend aid:
This isn’t to object to the ALS Association in particular. Almost every charity does the same thing — engaging in a race to the bottom where the benefits to the donor have to be as large as possible, and the costs as small as possible. (Things are even worse in the UK, where the reward of publicizing yourself all over social media comes at a suggested price of just £3 donated to MacMillan Cancer Support.) We should be very worried about this, because competitive fundraising ultimately destroys value for the social sector as a whole. We should not reward people for minor acts of altruism, when they could have done so much more, because doing so creates a culture where the correct response to the existence of preventable death and suffering is to give some pocket change.
If you are planning to give to charity, you have to do it for the most selfless of reasons. While joining a charity challenge that everybody seems to be doing might be fun, you should not forget that there are other more effective ways to pledge your support. Donate your car in NY through a service such as Miles Ahead Donations, and you are sure to contribute significantly to your charity of choice.
The problem with money-based donations and charities with publicity gimmicks is that it is too easy for donors to pledge just a little bit of their resources to paint themselves as heroes. Why settle for such a superficial and paltry show of generosity when you can give so much more to help the less fortunate? If you donate a car in NY, you can help charities achieve their goals. Your old automobile could do a whole lot more than your spare change could.
(Source: The cold, hard truth about the ice bucket challenge, http://qz.com/, Aug. 14, 2014)