January 14, 2012

Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton

This was a tough one to read, not in terms of reading level, but the overall content.  No one who gives through a charity or church wants to think of their giving as "toxic".  We mean well, so we assume our giving is going to do good wherever it goes.


In Toxic Charity, Lupton challenges any kind of 'hands-off' giving by pointing out it can actually be harmful to the recipients.  Rather than giving blindly to human needs, he encourages people to think strategically about how to give while allowing recipients to retain their dignity.  An excellent example is of well-meaning people who drop off Christmas gifts to a family in need where the father quietly goes off to the other room.  It's not that he's ungrateful for the gifts, rather he is likely embarrassed he was not able to provide.


One suggestion is to have a small investment from the recipient.  Another organization offers $30 worth of food for $3.  The recipients have an active role in how the co-op is run  and end up self-policing because they are invested.  For anyone who gives money to charity - and especially to human needs organization - this will make you more thoughtful about your giving.



No comments:

Post a Comment