When I purchase a product that gives a portion of its proceeds to charity, it really irks me to see that only 10%, or 5% or even 0.5% of proceeds off a particular purchase goes to charity. Amazon Smile allows for 0.5% of the cost of eligible purchases to be donated to charity. While 0.5% is better than 0%, I find it rather shillish, especially as a large corporation, not to pledge a larger percentage to charity.
This is why I like Humble Bundle, for instance. I get a decent amount of games, some good, some bad (unless it’s the last 6 months, then they all seem to suck) and you can choose to give any percentage you want to charity. You can even donate 100% of the proceeds to charity. TheFineYoungCapitalists help raise the number of women as game creators, and they give 74% of their profits to Charity.
I understand that many businesses also have to run a business, buy supplies, etc, and that giving a large portion of their proceeds to charity prevents that from happening. From if you are going to give to charity at all, 5% is a meager number. And even large companies that give millions in charity only reach at most 11% charitable givings. Now while companies that are not designed solely for charity can probably get away with it, “awareness” campaigns, like the NFL, collect money from pink merchandise, but only 8.01% of that goes to actual cancer research.
Another good example is 5 Hour Energy, which marketed a Breast Cancer Awareness product to give proceeds to charity, these are limited edition products designed specifically for Breast cancer Awareness, but in the teeny, tiny small print on the bottom of the page…
0.05 cents of every 2 dollar bottle. That’s a 0.25% charitable giving. So generous.
I would rather just give a donation to the organization itself instead of buying hundreds of dollars in overly priced merchandise to possibly give 10$ to charity. But some stores have a way to counteract this meager giving, but putting donation jars inside stores, as well as boxes, like Toys-For-Tots, that allow the consumer to purchase the cheapest toys in the store to feel better about that second Xbone that just bought their son, and that 680 dollar gold necklace you bought for your wife. that she will only wear 5 or 6 times in her lifetime.
Which is actually something that Tim Minchin, an Atheist who write very blunt songs about reality, mentions in his video Fuck The Poor. Many people really don’t care about the poor, or disenfranchised. But these charities and ads evoke ones Existential Guilt, a result of the awareness of a discrepancy between one’s well-being and the well-being of others. Basically causing one to give to charity not our of actual care for the disenfranchised, but because of something jokingly referred to as First World Guilt. Which means that they give to charity more to relieve themselves of feeling bad for not giving more to charity when they have money.
Which is why I think companies like Five Hour Energy and Amazon Smile feel they are able to get away with donating less than 1% of proceeds to charity. It’s not for the Charity, it’s for Feel Good and PR reasons., as well as a way for them to jump on the charity bandwagon to exploit their customers for higher net profits. Which is also why more people would buy more expensive Kraft Macaroni then less expensive Store Brand, if they believe a significant portion is actually going to help people.
The biggest center of this kind of Shill behavior I have seen to date is from the wonderful crafters of Etsy. These people are well known for taking recent tragedies, deaths, shootings, etc, and using tags or titles to bring people to their Etsy store, often to unrelated items, for the whole purpose of garnering views and sales and giving none of the proceeds to charity. This is something that has happened so often, that the word Tragicrafting was invented.
This kind of thing needs to stop. If you are going to give a portion of proceeds to charity, that is listed specifically to be donating to a charity, should have a donation rate of at least 20%, if not more. The purpose of the item should be to donate, not to make a huge net profit from. And lying to consumers, or putting the truth in small transparent print on the bottom of the page, hoping against hope that your consumer base is too stupid to look it up, is outright shameful. And as a notice to all people who buy these products because of this, just donate 10$ to charity and buy storebrand food items. You will literally be giving more to charity that way, and won’t be sucked into this ideologue of slacktivism that makes you think that buying any pink item, or buying any item that says “portion of proceeds go to (autism speaks, lung cancer, etc)” or anything that says proceeds go to “awareness.” Just donate directly.