This article in Sunday’s New York Times about the current decline in consumer spending helped crystallize the Nonprofiteer’s longstanding but inchoate objection to embedded giving, the process of substituting charity-related purchases for actual charity: namely, that it creates no bond between the “donor” and the charity, and no sense of responsibility for continuing support of the charity’s work. So when money gets a little tight, “charity” purchases become a luxury to be trimmed: you don’t buy a (red) t-shirt, you stop polluting the landscape with bottled water–even the brand whose proceeds go to provide potable water in the developing world–, you wear the jewelry you have instead of buying this year’s version of the pink ribbon representing support for breast cancer cures.
Our job as fundraisers is to help people see how their lives are intimately intertwined with the lives of people being served by their money. That’s really quite far from showing them the swag they can score–including bragging rights as well as consumer goods–if they purchase this brand rather than that one.
Tags: Benefit events, charity, charity promotion, embedded giving, Environmental, Fundraising, Health care, International, Marketing, nonprofit, Nonprofit management, not for profit, philanthropy, Poverty, Private Philanthropy, Relations with funders, retail donation