Educate your Wallet

There are countless charity groups and organizations that help those in need. These groups spend countless amounts of money towards causes, disasters and research. In order for these groups to survive and continue giving, they rely on fundraising and charitable donations of all sorts. To get people to donate, these groups spend time, effort and money to advance their cause through writings, pamphlets, videos and events.  Such is the case of the ever-popular Kony program through the Invisible Children organization. They have spent their time creating a video that has gone viral through Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. These worlds of social interaction are trending with ‘Kony’ video responses, pictures, events, status updates and hashtags.  The culmination of the event, is a response on April 20th to spread the word through a ‘blanket the streets’ technique. All of which sounds wonderful.

However, there is an underlying problem with the whole event itself. The video, while being cleverly edited and documented, preys on the emotions of the video-goer. As has been seen by over millions of people, the video revolves around a dad and a son, both who are affected by the violence in Uganda.They have become friends with Jacob,someone directly affected by Joseph Kony, Jacob is a direct link between the terrible Uganda social battles and, now, a voice of the concern. Together, Jacob, Jason and Russel travel to promote action and voice their concerns.

This action, however, is one that should be of concern. As documented in a foreign affairs article: “Such organizations have manipulated facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA’s use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful.” These exaggerated ‘factual’ changes and embellishments are not new tactics by charities. This is an old-school tactic, one that promotes their cause and betters their funds.  Not saying there isn’t a problem in Uganda, but the problem here is the exaggeration of Invisible Children to promote their own cause for their own good—a means for their own end.

Also, the group wants “the U.S. military advisers [to] support the Ugandan Army until Kony has been captured and the LRA has been completely disarmed.” Basically, another war. One that before ended in even more bloodshed.

As for funds, Invisible Children did receive four out of four stars on the Charity Navigator standards, but only 2 of 4 with accountability and transparency.  The Accountability and Transparency guide is a measurement of ‘what goes where’ and ‘how is it spent.’ The website breaks down the numbers and shows that the group has received over $13+million and that only .02 % is contributed towards fundraising efficiency—an astoundingly low number.   This is something that a regular donator should consider before spending their time and donating their money.

So, before spending valuable time and money towards a cause, consider the group and research how much money donated will actually be contributed. Also, consider researching where the money is really going, what the money will actually support and the true intentions of the group you are donating towards. It is very easy for a group to manipulate and extort the facts for gain.

Don’t let emotions open your wallet, do some homework and educate yourself before spending treasured time and money.


5 thoughts on “Educate your Wallet

  1. richardsatoru

    When I watched the video about Kony I was very put off by the manipulative presentation. However, I still felt that–despite their questionable means–the cause is just. The Invisible Children organization is asking people to take action for a cause that doesn’t directly affect US citizens, and getting audiences to feel involved and empowered is a difficult task. I would have cut back on some of the dramatic statements, like their claim that now is the moment to change the future forever. Change the future? What does that even mean?

    Nevertheless, I shared the video on my Facebook wall to help spread their cause and message. Others will come to their own conclusions about the Invisible Children and the video, but I am willing to support anything that encourages people to get involved, take action, and, above all else, begin to see that positive change requires everyone’s to take action.

    Also, in a country saturated with manipulative advertisements and filled end-to-end with public speakers of every kind presenting the “facts” however they best benefit their own causes, I’m surprised there is so much backlash against this video in particular.

    1. Shay Meinecke Post author

      Thank you for the comment. I also shared the video personally…I feel that people should be made aware of situations all over the globe. People should then have the ability to provide donations or action if they feel to do so. I would just like to think that the groups creating the publicity and aid are not creating the stories for their own good. This has happened in the past and will continue…hopefully people will read more into a group before donating.

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