Kudos, as always this time of year, to ChangingthePresent.org, JustGive.org and Redefine-Christmas.org, each of which encourages people to celebrate the holidays by making gifts to charities in their loved ones’ names. The Nonprofiteer is less than thrilled by Changing the Present’s shiny new Web ad campaign, which embodies doubts about this approach (Who wants a loaded syringe for Christmas?) instead of refuting them. It is, after all, no more ludicrous to buy someone a village water-pump s/he doesn’t get to keep than to buy him/her a star. The Nonprofiteer hopes each of the pro-charity gift agencies provides a gift package that’s as exciting as having “your star’s name recorded in book form in the U.S. Copyright Office.”
And thanks to the incoming Obama Administration for acknowledging at least tacitly that the best way to renew the economy is not to have poor and middle-class people engage in an orgy of retail spending but to have the government buy more of what we all need–roads, bridges, flu vaccine–and spread it around. It’s almost weird, isn’t it, to have a government that works with the voluntary sector instead of against it?