The personal website of Chris Coyier

Charity

I’ve been “called out” a couple of times now on this whole charity bandwagon that’s been going around. Ice Bucket and Give and Tell. My turn to address it with some O P I N I O N S and whatnot.

I’ve never heard of ALS before this challenge. As I understand it, that’s the point. It’s an awful disease, but not that many people have it, so awareness is low, thus funding for research toward a cure is low. So raising awareness is crucial and this Ice Bucket challenge is doing a kick ass job of changing that.

The second I first heard about it skepticism set in. So, if I do this dumb little challenge then I don’t have to donate? Didn’t Bill Gates do it? Shouldn’t he have, I dunno, donated some money instead? That all faded away when I learned a bit more about it and seen the success it’s had.

I’ve failed in response time for the Ice Bucket one, so I went ahead and donated $100. I’m fine with donating, but I want to be very careful about this. The Ice Bucket challenge is a trend. It’s a Big Popular Thing™ right now. I do not want trends to drive my charitable behavior. I want to be charitable toward things I think are important in life.

And I am. I help my family. I help my friends. Not in vague ways, in real ways that sometimes involve money. I’m not poor, but I’m not rich. I have no savings. I run fairly close to dry.

I use Kiva to help give loans to people around the world that need it. I particularly like the ones where people are starting businesses. I always re-invest what is sent back to me.

It’s not quite charity, but I’m also a fan of Kickstarter. I’ve backed 83 projects there, across all categories they offer, most without getting anything in return, because I’m mostly interested in helping people do awesome things.

I don’t to it much, but I have volunteered at a Ronald McDonald House before and I really like that organization. I donate to the Eastern Wisconsin one, because that’s where I live. I like donating to Milwaukee-based things for the same reason. My favorite types of charities are local and centered around things I care particularly about. Things like dogs, kids in tech, and social justice.

This all feels very defensive to write. Perhaps it is. Getting “called out” feels weird. Especially when there is a time limit. The worst way ever to get me to do something is to put a time limit on it. I’ve asked my brain to be more lenient on this, but no dice.

Another thing thing is for sure: I need to be even better at this. I need to spend more time finding more charities that are important to me. I need to donate more of my various skills and time. I need to create a budget so I know I’m on target.

I also can’t challenge anybody. Sorry I’m just a wimp and feel mega weird about it.