Why Are So Many Charities Suffering From Bad Taste?

I often find that charitable organizations display really horrible taste in how they go about doing their business. Look at this one, for example:

Dining for Women is a dinner giving circle. We “dine in” together once a month, each bringing a dish to share, and our “dining out” dollars (what we would have spent if we had eaten at a restaurant) are sent to programs empowering women worldwide. We then combine all donations from hundreds of chapters to support one carefully selected international program a month.

This just sounds so incredibly spoiled and condescending that I can’t help but be bothered by it. “Oh, I’m such a good person for sacrificing aΒ restaurantΒ outing once a month. I just ate dinner to empower other women.” Of course, the women worldwide who need to be “empowered” by these charitable ladies’ dining efforts face daily the kind of struggles where sacrificing a restaurant outing once a month does not sound all that tragic. And then the spoiled rich American women get together and chew their cud to “empower” such women? Who even came up with such an idea?

You’ll say I’m biased against “ladies’ charities” and yes, I am. I met people who work for such charities (not the one I discuss in this post, these are other charities I’m talking about) and discovered that they are paid anywhere upwards of $250,000 per year for their charity-organizing services. I also discovered what percentage their salaries make out of the entire amount gathered. Since then, I’d rather contribute to a Ponzi scheme than to this kind of charities.

23 thoughts on “Why Are So Many Charities Suffering From Bad Taste?

  1. I agree and I disagree.

    I agree completely that the idea itself is silly, and if these people really cared they would just give the money to charity.

    At the same time we don’t live in a perfect world and any concept or idea that encourages people to give money where they normally wouldn’t give it is a good idea.

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    1. As long as the money gets to them, I have no problem [or, not much of a problem] with rich women playing saviours. But, as Clarissa points out, not even half the collected money trickle down to the people it’s supposed to go to. I work in this sector, and I have stories of utter brazenness to share.

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      1. One of the charities I’m talking about collects money from rich American Jews to send to Israel. The contributors are all smart people who realize the money is going to pay for the lavish lifestyles of the charity-organizers but they say they don’t care because this is a way of assuaging the guilt they feel for not moving to Israel. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

        At least, they are honest about it. πŸ™‚

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      1. Oh wait. I didn’t realise I was commenting with the formal id. Oh well πŸ™‚ And oh wow, those delicious things are actually in a heart shaped. That make me feels very cute.

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            1. It’s a little embarrassing. The real meaning is “She whose shelter/protection is everyone’s favourite”, but the word used for ‘shelter’ is ‘lap’, which makes the name sort of ambiguous πŸ™‚

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              1. I am temperamentally incapable of being a traditional saint, who are supposed to practise chastity and what not. So, no πŸ™‚

                The embarrassment is purely because silly young men try to use it as a pick-up line, and I have to tell them off with trademark sarcasm, and then they profess to be hurt and so on, and the thing becomes A Scene. I dislike scenes, esp. inane scenes 😦

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  2. Well, this is a strategy some women have come up with to enjoy themselves while being charitable. I suppose they could think of something they did not like to do, do that, and then send the money off somewhere.

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  3. Really. I think this is such a snide thing to say. Women cooking, eating and having fun and giving money to charity. How gross. Maybe they could find things to do that they hated and that would be OK. I have an idea. They could go on starvation diets and send the money they didn’t spend on food to a charity.
    Leave it to the men to criticize what women do. They are so good at it.

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  4. I agree, Clarissa.

    Sadly, I think that most ‘organized giving events’ are designed primarily for individuals to congratulate themselves and one another over how kind and compassionate they are, or can appear. That, and it’s an opportunity to be seen ‘by the right people.’ Very narcissistic.

    It’s nice that *some money* trickles down to the intended charity, but that path isn’t for me. I prefer to give quietly. I don’t want or need my ego stroked and fed. It’s entirely healthy as it is.

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  5. This reminds me of why I would get so peeved sometimes when watching the Batman cartoon as a kid, because Bruce Wayne would always be hosting those charity balls and events, and all I could think, even as a kid, was “Why don’t they just give the money directly, rather than having these extravagant parties?”
    Apart from that, I really loved the show though. πŸ˜‰

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  6. This is probably off-topic but I’d like to know what you, guys, think about it. There was U.N. conference dedicated to ending hunger around the world. The attendees were served multi-course dinner, including lobsters and black cariar. I would give them sandwiches and salads. What about you?

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    1. Yes, it’s off-topic and I’d be glad to share what I think. Here’s the short and sweet version: I find it rather disgusting!

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  7. Yes, I can see your point and agree that it isn’t in good taste and can sound obnoxious. Then again if they do contribute to a charity and the money gets to where it’s supposed too, then I don’t quite feel comfortable criticizing them. Yes, people like to pat themselves on the back and don’t waste opportunities to feel superior and self-righteous.

    I think there are websites that are devoted to evaluating charities–watchdog type organizations, since there are so many scams and the problems that you describe. It is why I’m not as charitable as I once was, preferring instead to give to the Goodwill and animal organizations. I feel rather hostile towards religious organizations as well for similar reasons. In fact, I’m feeling rather hostile towards a lot of organizations and government, etc. Your discourse here is rather mild considering how I feel about the subject, but I’ll restrain myself, out of respect for your blog.

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