A charity is basically a business with a 'social' mission instead of one based around a product or service. A mission should be, by all accounts, specific, realistic, and happen within a certain time-frame. However the missions that some charities seem to be taking on is going in increasingly the opposite direction.
The effect of this is that good, hard-working people, of modest means, are ending up blindly fuelling the rich and wealthy lifestyles of charity CEOs without thinking about how far their money is actually going to help solve any problems around the world.
For example, some of these unachieveable, and deliberatly vague, missions include "stand up to cancer" and "end poverty". The point of these slogans is that they try to provide simple answers to complex problems, are impossible to win, but provide endless profits for the organisations involved.
Convincing people to think they are somehow "standing up to cancer" by running around a park and asking people for donations is insanity [why should I pay you to run around a park anyway? In what way is that a beneficial act to society?]. Trying to "end poverty" by giving away your money to millionnaire celebrities like Bob Geldof is nonsensical.
The fundamental point is that charities have no interest in truly solving the problems they promise to do so, because if they did, then they would cease to exist. They would much rather feed off the goodness (and laid-on guilt) in people by using manipulating them through fake stories to keep donations flowing in. Let me tell you, there is no guilt to be felt in refusing to pay for the spiralling salaries of charity bosses and contribute towards lavish charity dinners for royalty, millionnaires and so-called celebrities. In fact, it was recently reported that many charity CEOs are earning well over £200,000 per year in the UK alone.
Most of what you hear or read from charity campaigns is created by professional public relation propagandists. The truth is that charities, like companies, exist only to make money and are compelled to do this even when it competes against the well-being of the public. They are dysfunctional organisations that excel at raising money but show little evidence of spending money wisely or meaningfully.
Comic Relief have spent millions of pounds investing in the weapons and arms trade as well as the alcohol and tobacco industries. Since this information came to light, the charity altered the way it presents its accounts to make it impossible for the public to tell which funds the organisation invests in. What does that tell you about their level of honesty? Save the Children also censored criticism of energy firms to avoid upsetting its corporate partners who donate money.
Unfortunately for many of us, the easiest thing to do after watching a charity TV show or after hearing about a disaster is to make a quick donation to the charity involved. Millions of us do it: You send a text, contribute £5 or £10, and feel you’ve done a good deed. In reality, you have done very little. Your donation is simply feeding a cycle that must be broken in order for progress to be made. [Have you noticed how the minimum contribution per text has gone up each year? It used to be 'donate what you can', but now a text donation is defaulting up to the minimum £20 mark!]
Charities have proven themselves unequal to the tasks they claim to be accomplishing. They’re also limited in terms of what they can do. Most of them are not development organisations who can rebuild infrastructure or prevent disasters from happening. They only provide short-term solutions — tins of food, blankets, water bottles, hygiene kits etc. It's still important work, but it doesn’t justify the vast amounts of money they solicit from the public.
So please stop giving your money away to charities without any forethought. You're not going to make the world a worse place if you do, but don't assume that it's enough and that your money will be used exclusively to change the lives of others.