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Slacktivism – The search for the ultimate feel-good that derives from having come to society’s rescue without having had to actually get one’s hands dirty or open one’s wallet.
But what if you could make a difference with little to no effort whatsoever? While it’s easy to do close to nothing to spread awareness of social or political issues online, there are also a lot of ways to easily make contributions to an organization, group or individual of your choice. Have no idea where you might want to donate? No problem! Chances are someone on your Facebook has just started up a “Kickstarter” to pay for equipment and supplies for a mobile taco truck. Or maybe a relative that’s an educator has just posted a fundraiser to help her pay for resources for her students. It’s a lot easier than you’d think. Oddly enough, the information tends to fall into your lap, even when you’re not looking.
I’m personally not big into New Year’s resolutions. Mine are usually pretty vague, since I avoid many of the cliché ones that few actually stick to for long. However, this year I made a resolution to donate more—once a month (if funds allow) to any cause of my choosing. Coincidentally, a coworker of mine introduced me to Kiva.org, where there’s an entire database of recipients all over the world that you can donate to for a multitude of reasons— for business, personal, etc. On this site, these donations are loans that are paid back over time. Then this money can be re-loaned out to other Kiva users or the Kiva organization itself. Often times, within the same day you can see that beneficiary reach their goal. What feels better than knowing that you contributed to someone’s financial goals being reached in less than a 24 hour time-span?
The best part about being part the social aspect of donating is that it cuts out the middle man. You know exactly where your funds are going, for what, and when. In many instances, especially on Kickstarter and Kiva, this is the case. You see photos or video of who you’re helping and a pretty thorough description about what all the funds will be used for. The ease of the entire donation process online is not the only factor as to why it’s becoming the new way to be an e-lanthropist (that’s me combining the words electronic and philanthropist), but it helps eliminate most uncertainties or hesitance in donating when you can see who you’re donating to and the time, energy, and effort they’ve spent making their proposals. With other organizations, especially large ones, there’s a lot of overhead and essentially you have no idea (without researching) how much of your money goes directly to the people or the cause, which was a huge issue this year with the whole KONY2012 debacle and Invisible Children.
This will most definitely be the new wave of supporting causes. You can already sign thousands of online petitions, which may or may not result in inciting change, but with the many online tools for starting your own fundraisers or searching for a cause to donate to it has already become an effective method for helping nearly anyone from local to a global scale.