Sunday, March 27, 2011


The other day I was walking down Queen Street and there were people collecting for Child Cancer. The representatives were wearing t-shirts which had a logo on the breast.  It was also raining so the first couple had a jacket on, and the other I didn't want to look at the logo given it's placement.

The next lot had their buckets out so I could safely look at the cause without looking like a perve.

I was thinking about the fact that we're all probably horribly tapped out given the Christchurch Earthquake. The various fund raising events, donations to Red Cross etc. All of these other charities are going to go without or at least reduced donations...

I got to the bus stop and there was an ad for a Christchurch remembrance day. You could buy, what looked like a great t-shirt, except that it had something really naff screen printed on it for $25. All profits to go to the Christchurch Earthquake.

I found myself wondering why I wouldn't instead go down to Farmers, buy a t-shirt which I'm likely to wear and throw the $10 or so I'd have left from my $25 to the Red Cross. They could give you the option - a t-shirt for the same price but without the silly overheads of screen printing - more profits to go to the charity.

I refuse to give to the Auckland City Mission. The reason being, there's no reason we should have homeless. We're a welfare state. Our taxes already go towards this sort of thing. I would be much more interested if the money was to go into asking "where are the holes that allow people to be homeless?", "Is it a problem with the system or is this a choice?" etc.

I was talking to a friend about the fact that we all seem to be tapped out and told 'em about the Child Cancer Foundation looking awfully forlorn out there. I was a little surprised by their response. They don't support these charities. The reason being? Their data isn't open.

"Look for cancer research papers from New Zealand and see how many you can actually read without having to pay vast amounts of money".

The question is, if the money for this research comes from people on the street, but the people on the street (nor anyone else for that matter) can read the information, where is the money going? Do we really know? Is the aim of the research not to find a cure? And if this is so, wouldn't it be better if this research was shared so that others could use the results in their own research thus accelerating the research?

What is really going on here? If the aim of the research isn't about finding a cure, then what is it really about? The medical field is notorious for their use of "Intellectual Property" (I still hate the idea that knowledge is property). So the aim isn't to find a cure, but to be the first to create a cure. This stinks of ego to me. Is this really a good place for donated money to go?

So where should donated money go? Personally I like the charities which are "on the ground". Guide dogs for the blind, bandages and other medical supplies in disaster areas, the cost of a hotel for the families of children with cancer. Wheelchairs.

So how many of these charities actually exist? Are the high profile ones, those that can advertise, a complete waste of time? If they are advertising, such as they do, could that money not go towards the cause and letting people know what they're about via volunteers?

We New Zealanders are a pretty charitable lot. I'm just wondering though... are we being taken advantage of?

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