I Recognize Charity Scams now – Giving Blindly is like Burning $

Charity scams are always successful because people are always willing to give trust on demand, and ignore flaming warning signs, for causes they want to believe in.

When I talk about charity or donation scams, this can refer to large scale charity corporations all the way down to street buskers yodeling off-key in the hopes of getting your spare bucks.

I used to give money to people on the street that I deemed were, “needy.”

While I do not recommend being biased or unnecessarily cruel, there is no way to know for sure if the person you see begging in the street is needy.

Or, just begs in various locations to maximize gains.

Needing help is no joke.

But no matter what social criticisms I can make about the United States (got a million years?) there are numerous social program one can take advantage of.

Insufficient, unnecessarily bureaucratic, time wasting, and perhaps pride evaporating social programs. But they exist.

I am traveling internationally in Asia. Regularly I see people wandering the streets with children and begging with their eyes, never with actual words.

You know the people you see in the street and you ignore them? They look too sad, too hungry, too dirty, too out of it.

Or, too needy?

Is it too cruel to say that we probably give money to those we want to believe are needy?

Are we being selectively charitable if we decide that these are people in desperate need? Or when we donate blindly online without vetting organizations?

Belief isn’t fact.

I grew up in New York City and for decades, I would just give spare change or a dollar to beggars and sad-looking people I encountered in the street.

Is it cruel to say that I probably needed that money more, in retrospect? I’ll take the hit on that.

But what I won’t apologize for saying out loud is that there are better ways to donate to charity and truly help people than blindly and trustingly giving money to strangers or unvetted organizations.

Otherwise, money is potentially, or probably, (let’s just say certainly) being wasted.

And there is no certainty that the people who need help are actually being helped.

Charity Begins with Knowledge

No, I am not a connoisseur of cruelty. It’s a cruel world.

Also, it’s cruel that sometimes most people, I included, only think of those of those in need during the holidays.

Or when its most convenient. Like giving money to well-dressed or well-fed looking strangers on the street and then pretending to ourselves we’re making a difference.

I often directly volunteer for charitable causes and have done so for many years now.

Also, I vet organizations online to see where my money is going before I donate online. Many mega-charities are just businesses that make money by collecting your donations and pretending they are a charity.

They sell you the idea that you’re being charitable, which most people play along with.

Donating to a corporate charity? Or, donating for an imagined cause to buy the warm feelings you get for uninformed donations?

It never pays to just assume that your dollars are doing well just so you can bask in the afterglow of charity without checking first.

Give to charity. Just give wisely.

I always do.

Now.

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