Saturday, September 03, 2005

Give, give cash, give cash ONLINE

"We have very little, but they have nothing."

I am pleased, but not that surprised, by the outpouring of private charity for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The Christian Science Monitor estimates that the total amount of gifts will reach $1 billion. It's not nearly enough, of course. But it's a lot. Considering the charitable response to the tsunami disaster earlier this year, though, I expected nothing less.

We here at the Social Gospel Today are encouraging people to make online donations in cash to the American Red Cross. Online donations of cash have, as we say in the biz, very low "transaction costs." As the embattled director of FEMA has correctly noted:

“Cash donations are especially helpful to victims. They allow volunteer agencies to issue cash vouchers to victims so they can meet their needs. Cash donations also allow agencies to avoid the labor-intensive need to store, sort, pack and distribute donated goods. Donated money prevents, too, the prohibitive cost of air or sea transportation that donated goods require.”

Online donations are even better than in-person or telephone cash donations. More of your gift can go directly to those who need it most because it costs less to process it. (No need for telephone operators, etc.)

It's important that we send our thoughts and prayers out to those who are suffering. But we've got to send more than just that.

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