The Pressure to Give

Natural disaster are, well, disasters.  Recently there have been many; Hurricane Katrina in 2007, Indonesian Earthquake in 2009 and Tsunami in 2004 and now the Haitian Earthquakes of 2010.

As technology progresses, we now have easier methods of donating as well as finding out who has donated.  Everyone wants to know if you donated to the relief efforts (see a list here) and recently a list of celebrity donations has been tabulated. The reported contributions are below.

Alyssa Milano

$ 50,000
Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie $ 1,000,000

George Clooney

$ 1,000,000

Gisele Bundchen

$ 1,500,000

Lance Armstrong

$ 250,000


$ 250,000

Oprah Winfery

$ 1,000,000

Sandra Bullock

$ 1,000,000

Tiger Woods

$ 3,000,000

Looking at the contributors and contributions side by side, everyone asks the same question, should (insert name) have given more?  I wonder should we even ask this question.  Granted they make way more than most of us will so they should be able to give more right?  That answer depends on how you look at it.  We don’t know how much have have set aside for donations to other charities or even how much they have donated without reporting.  Why do we even need to know how much someone gave?  Is it just to validate our own insecurities about how much we can give? 

Many people, celebrities included, give and don’t seek press exposure.  They do it because they want to help others and strange as that might sound.  And others don’t give and it is totally ok with them.  It’s their money and they do with it what they can.  That’s the freedom we are allotted in this country.

Something that is often overlooked at times like these are businesses.  Oil Companies, manufacturers, restaurants, banks, casinos, etc all record record profits yet we never pressure their support.  We often ask for those within our own places of business to give but that’s not the same as a donation from our jobs themselves.  As I’ve heard it from some bookkeepers, "businesses don’t want to give large sums to charities for fear of later backlash from employees because of using the economy as a reason for lower raises and pay."  I can only hope that isn’t true but of course businesses won’t admit that themselves.

Before we get into the battle of how to spend someone else’s money, we should remember that we are donating to help others, not to validate our principals.  It’s ok not to give just as much as it is to give what you can.




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