Earlier this year, I attended a presentation of renowned ethicist, Peter Singer, at the Fundraising Conference. I’d already read one of his books – The Life You Can Save – but his presentation reminded me again of the real challenges with poverty on a global scale and it confronted me to ask myself – Am I really doing enough?
One of the most remarkable take-aways from his book, for me, was his drinking water analogy. He basically suggests that even though you may think you don’t have a lot of extra money to giveaway, if you has ever paid for a bottle of water when clean drinking water was readily available from a tap, you certainly had enough disposable income to donate to those less fortunate. I remembered when I first read that a few years ago it struck a chord with me. It was then I reconsidered my giving and looked at ways I could perhaps do more.
In his presentation, I thought it somewhat brave of Peter when, with a room filled with fundraisers from primarily Australian based charities, he suggested that perhaps directing our donations to the developing world rather than causes in our own country are ‘better spent’. He used the example of a $40,000 donation. Spent in Australia, this could be used to train a guide dog, for example, which would benefit one person, while if the same amount was spent in developing countries it could help cure blindness (for about $20 – $25 pp) and would literally benefit thousands. Hmmmmm. Interesting point.
But what about the starfish story? As long as you’re making a difference to someone or something that surely has to be a good thing? And, yes, I believe it is. If we all did something the world would be a much better place.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick.
P.S. If you’re considering making donations to a non-profit, or perhaps re-considering what you already give – perhaps you should take a look at the global rich list. This website will show you just how you sit in comparison to the rest of the world. It’s truly remarkable and inspiring.