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Charity Donations
Giving is good; but ensure it is to the Right People!

You know the old saying that it is better to give than to receive, and it's true; as long as the donations end up where they are supposed to. Most charity requests are genuine and well-meaning. Established organisations such as Red Cross, World Vision and RSPCA are usually no worries. Whatever they receive, particularly money, is used for the purpose for which it is intended; and those who give to these causes do so in the knowledge that their contribution, however small, will make a difference. But be very cautious - not all appeals are genuine, even if the source seems to be a well-known and trusted association.

Helping the local primary school raise funds for new sports equipment by purchasing a raffle ticket at a table set up outside the supermarket is fine. This is usually all above board; and putting a couple of dollars in a collection tin for Cancer Research is a safe bet, as long as some low-life doesn't steal it. In these instances the amounts are generally small and of no real hardship for those donating. Unfortunately, because criminals know this they will quite often begin at the lower end of the financial scale, so that when the theft is realised the cost to the victim is hardly worth the bother of reporting it to the authorities.

A particular scam that came to light was after the advent of a national disaster in Australia. The top end, as we call it, received huge rainfall causing widespread floods; and it was the worst of its kind on record. Roads were washed away, bridges collapsed and people had to be evacuated. The latter were the focus of many who were more fortunate and wished to donate; and they were able to do so by contributing to organised disaster funds. Presumably the money received went into the pot. In these cases, although administration costs may have chewed into the total somewhat, much of it was eventually passed on to those in need. Then some bright spark came up with an innovative alternative - a pre-paid debit card that individuals could use to buy essential supplies. The amount was only quite small and everyone who put into the scheme considered that a gift of $20 wouldn't break the bank; plus, they felt good about their contribution. It soon came to light, however, that no cards were sent because they never existed; and the only beneficiaries of the kind donations were the greedy mongrels running the scam.

Other more personal problems affect individuals, families in particular. A child may have been diagnosed with a terrible disease which can only be treated at great expense; and the cost is often beyond the parents' means. So, they, or a friend, sometimes set up an online GoFundme page to gather the money required; and as anyone can contribute, it is surprising how much complete strangers will donate just to help a child in need. These GoFundme pages seem to be gaining in popularity and most are genuine; but I have heard of the odd one that was not. Like the person on holiday in a foreign country who claimed to have been mugged and was pleading for extra money to get back home. It turned out that his injuries were actually sustained when he came off a scooter while drunk. A little white lie...? I think not.

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