Exposed: the problems of giving to charity

Giving and sharing: Where our money went in 2014

This Christmas, Britain’s newspapers once again asked readers to donate money to good causes. People gave generously — but is giving cash the best way to do good?

What’s happening

What’s happening

It has become a seasonal tradition: every Christmas, most of Britain’s papers ask for money for charity they support. This year, they targeted problems such as domestic abuse, mental illness and human trafficking. These appeals have been successful in the past: in 2014, they raised more than £5.3m.

Find out more

Find out more

Christmas has a special association with giving. In the novel A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is made to realise on Christmas Day that he should use his wealth to help the poor.

More recently, the charity single 'Do They Know It’s Christmas' has raised money to fight famine and Ebola. In the USA, people are encouraged to give money on the Tuesday after Black Friday. And charities such as Crisis, which works with homeless people, have asked for volunteers to join them during the holiday.

But charities are facing ever more criticism for not spending their money well. For example, 1,080 charity bosses in the UK are paid over £100,000 per year. Some charities have also been accused of being too aggressive in their methods of fundraising.

Some say…

Some Say…

Donating and raising money is in the true spirit of Christmas. Whether we are Christians or not, this time of year is a chance to send out messages of peace and hope. As we enjoy presents, turkey and corny TV shows, we should also think about those who are less fortunate than us. It is good that so many people donated in 2015.

Others think…

Others think…

Charity begins at home. Christmas should be about spending time with our nearest and dearest, especially our oldest and weakest relatives. However hard they try, charities cannot solve society’s problems, and they will not always use our money in the best way. Maybe the truly seasonal thing to do is to invite our grandparents to dinner.

You Decide

  1. If you had £100 to donate, which charity would you give it to, and why?

Activities

  1. Create an advert for a Christmas charity appeal, for a cause that you support.

Some People Say...

“We should give to charity all year, not just at Christmas.”

What do you think?

What do you think?

Word Watch

Human trafficking
The trade in humans, usually as slaves or sex workers.
Famine
An extreme shortage of food that kills many people.
Ebola
A deadly and highly infectious disease that causes fever and internal bleeding. There has been an Ebola epidemic in West Africa since late 2013; tens of thousands have died.
Black Friday
In an idea started in the USA, shops offer special discounts to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping period, generally the last Friday of November.
Volunteers
People who help out for free.
Fundraising
The job of raising money.

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