Meet Our President
As we again come upon the busiest fund-raising season of the year I, again urge you to know your charity and donate locally. We are a generous and empathetic people who react with our hearts when seeing the ravages of an earthquake on the news, or expensive television ads of forlorn children and injured animals. We respond with our purses when celebrities beg for donations and plead with viewers to join them in giving. I do too—but I worry about how often we can be disappointed and develop charity fatigue. I fear for those who still need the help after the compassionate tire of giving.
Bono (from the rock band U2) is under fire after it was revealed that only about 1% of his charity’s fifteen million dollars made it to actual causes. Billions of dollars in aid was raised for Haiti and much has yet to find its way to those who are still suffering. In Linda Polman’s The Crises Caravan: What’s Wrong with Humanitarian Aid?, she laments that needed aid may not reach its intended destination, and, if it does, may land in the wrong hands and make matters worse! And finally, in our business, there are those who still believe that donating to aspca and hsus helps your spcaLA or any other spca or humane society. They are neither umbrella organizations, nor connected legally to any other similarly named organization. My issue is that donors should intend to give to these groups rather than do so in error and assume that they are something that they are not.(Both aspca and hsus have been asked to put meaningful disclosures on their commercials and other advertising materials. Both have refused.)
Given that the combination of generosity and disaster can add up to a veritable “candy store” for the unprincipled, greedy and the opportunistic, I am terrified that those who can give, will stop, believing that they are not making a difference or that they have been bamboozled. What will happen to your spcaLA and to those desperately in need of a helping hand?
Rather than souring on giving, research the situation, ask questions and make sure your gift is going to whom and where you so intend. Consider donating to a local organization that you can visit, talk to, and just see in action. Frequently, your local charity may be providing international relief as well or is affiliated with one who is. Bolstering the local charities boosts the local economy, provides jobs, resources and allows the community to thrive. Stronger communities result in stronger cities, states and nations. Our ability to help others improves with our own increased strength and solvency.
Charity begins at home. It is only when we stand strong that we can lift another.