Since time immemorial, there are people who are more generous than others. Giving back to the poor is something natural for them. Their selfless attributes are probably what shaped modern charity and gift giving in the world today. Not everyone has the same opportunities in life and those who have been blessed more than others feel grateful for their blessings and also learned to share their blessings to those in need.
Charity work is a bit different nowadays. The new twist in giving back to the poor has to do with more advanced technology that is now available to us. Even ordinary citizens can easily set up GoFundMe pages for various causes and people who are more blessed than others are quick to pitch in and donate whatever amount they can. However, there are a few who takes advantage of the generosity of others and steals a portion of the money that should have been given to the poor.
Last week’s devastating Westminster attack left 5 people dead and a shocked nation reaching for their wallets to donate to the family of Keith Palmer, the valiant police officer who confronted Khalid Masood as he attempted to enter Parliament.
A JustGiving donations page was quickly set up and by the time it closed on Monday had raised an impressive £736,328 in donations for his family, far surpassing the £250,000 goal.
JustGiving faced criticism over its 5 per cent administration fee, which it collects from all donations made through its site. The website made a voluntary donation of £10,000 to the fund; however, its fee on such a successful campaign will amount to more than £36,000.
Clearly some givers were surprised to hear that the site would take a slice of their generosity and there was a groundswell of disapproval.
It is both surprising and depressing to think that there are people who can do these things. Charity should be about sharing your blessings without expecting anything in return but scammers found their way to milk money from other people’s generosity.
We have never given more online, with more than £2billion donated annually to good causes through websites, smartphones and social media.
But while the internet makes it easier to give money in seconds, fraudsters are also at the ready to exploit the explosion in online donations.
The Sunday People investigated after being tipped off about the fundraising appeal which we discovered was one of a number of alleged online donation scams.
Donors were touched by the story of Sgt Evans when he was separated from Ivy in Market Drayton, Shropshire.
Police dogs normally work for eight years, and she only had four under her collar – meaning the German Shepherd was too young to be considered for early retirement alongside Sgt Evans, who is nothing to do with the scam.
Following a petition signed by 140,000 people, fundraiser “Jacob Windsor” started a page to raise the £24,000 needed to train a new dog.
After concerns were raised, the Sunday People’s investigators started examining what checks were in place to prevent charity fundraising fraud.
Life would be so much easier if we not only think about ourselves but the welfare of others. Life in itself is not fair – where others are born in luxury while the majority in poverty.
Not all charities are good causes. This may sound surprising, because we’re used to thinking of them all as being somehow virtuous, but they vary in their effectiveness. Smart donors know that good intentions alone aren’t enough.
Take, for example, the important goal of reducing cases of diarrhoea in Kenya — a major cause of child death. One solution is to provide chlorine at the water pump for people to add to their water when they collect it. Another is to deliver chlorine to households so people can add it there. Both of these sound pretty sensible, but researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found that providing chlorine at the water source prevents more than twice as many cases of diarrhoea for a given sum of money. Put another way, a lot of children will get a potentially fatal disease if donors make the wrong call about which programme to fund. Figuring out which programmes are good and which are simply mediocre is clearly important. That relies on collecting robust evidence — applying science to the problems we’re trying to solve.
Like any other important thing in life, eternal vigilance is what everyone needs to make sure that we are supporting the right causes. Wanting to help and extending help through charities can only make a difference in this world if our donations reach those who are in need and bring about the change and improvement in their lives we all want to see.
Scammers are just on the sidelines waiting to lure people who only want to help but happen to be too vulnerable and gullible for their own good. We can only change the world by changing the way we see and do things. Remember that charity always begins at home, so help yourself first before you can help others.