Charity

TOMS, Give Cash Instead

“TOMS tells you that making the world a better place is all about you: that you know best how to help poor people, and that you are so powerful that it will take barely any effort on your part to make a huge difference in the world.” – Amanda Taub, Vox.com

The article is argumentative for some, yet good. Taub stated that instead of making decisions for underprivileged people, why not just give them exactly what we’re using to help them — money. She feels that TOMS is promoting the ‘poor’ as helpless and that “it’s a bad way to run an aid program.”

“TOMS has a compelling origin story…Give them shoes. More specifically, create a for-profit company that funds free shoes for poor children without relying on donations,” said Taub.

People like shoes. People like helping other people. You can give, while donating and profiting at the same time. It’s all business. Now, TOMS does have steep prices where they make enough money to give $5-$10 per purchase. But to who — the shoeless children?

She went on to discuss similar charitable e-commerce businesses like THINX, a company that donates menstrual products to Ugandan girls when someone purchases their products. Taub also spoke on research where cash demonstrated that it can be an effective way to help save the world’s struggles.

But, isn’t that what TOMS is doing without the actual cash — helping? Giving more money to purchase more product, to give more shoes?

Aside from the harsh criticism that targeted TOMS specifically, I agree that not every charitable purchase will help solve the problems of poverty-stricken children in Haiti or Uganda. There can be more strategic ways of distributing essential products like shoes and menstrual pads, but for TOMS…shoes worked.

It’s kind of a contradictory article. (Read full story)

But I want to know…is the problem with TOMS or with other companies imitating the idea of ‘buy one, give one,’ and “we, as Westerns consumers” profiting from in-kind charity?

Celebrity Social Media + Status

“Celebrities have been using social media along with everyone else for quite some time.” We see and hear about it everywhere. It is definitely an intrusion value that we can’t ignore. Of course, many people have their opinions about celebrity accounts because they feel the connection isn’t ‘real’ enough or just isn’t the actual person. This is true. Many celebrities have account managers to take on the load when they’re busy…busy living like us.

I have many favorites that I follow on Twitter, like Jimmy Fallon, Tim Gunn, Ellen Degeneres. The celebrities I choose to follow offer great wisdom, career advice and are stepping-stone achievers that I wish to meet one day. I don’t believe I’ve ever unfollowed anyone significant, but I recently unfollowed Emmanuel Hudson, a YouTube Comedian now featured on Nick Cannon’s ‘Wild ‘N Out.’ Now that he’s famous, he only retweets or have nothing of relevance to say. It gets old, quick. (BUT, his videos are HILARIOUS.) This one made him famous:

Of the celebrities I follow, I would probably give most of them a ‘B’ for being relevant and true, and a ‘C’ for those that tweet to promote movies, quotes and tv show debuts A L L   D A Y   L O N G. Sometimes it would be nice to see a continuous reality of the actual person I initially chose to follow.

Will Ferrell using his celebrity and social media presence to raise money for charity is a great thing, a fantastic move! Asides Scandal’s Kerry Washington, I never really see too many celebrities consistently promoting goodwill via social media. If they do, it doesn’t come up on my timeline. I follow many, many people. Like Will and Kerry, I believe many celebrities use their social status to get many people to participate, especially to give funds. It’s been successful, so no complaints there.

Honestly, if there are celebrities not utilizing social media it has to be for personal reasons. Any celebrity, expert in PR/social media alone will never miss the opportunity to share as much as they can to the world. Social media is thriving and if there’s one not on its train, they’re missing out.

Photo source: Google