When you care enough to give the very least
December 15, 2009 7:21 AM   Subscribe

Care4Less.org provides you with the means to give the least as possible this holiday season. Choose amongst eight different fake charities, such as the Make-a-Sandwich Foundation or Organ Donation and Care4Less will send an email to your friend or loved one showing that you've made a "donation" on their behalf.
posted by slogger (83 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yeah, there's a chuckle or two there, but somewhere in my gut, I get a sense that this just makes things harder for all the small nonprofit agencies that are struggling to get by in this economy....
posted by HuronBob at 7:32 AM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Clicked through, didn't see The Human Fund, closed out.
posted by brandman at 7:34 AM on December 15, 2009 [11 favorites]


There is not a chuckle in there.
posted by swift at 7:34 AM on December 15, 2009


what a fantastic way to let someone know that you are not willing to give anyone anything, and will go to great lengths to rub that fact in everyone's faces
posted by cubby at 7:45 AM on December 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, stick it to those charities!

(I'm doing away with "gifts" entirely this year, and am just doing charitable donations on others' behalf. Screw retailers and e-tailers alike.)
posted by Eideteker at 7:47 AM on December 15, 2009


It's kind of sad when life imitates Seinfeld.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:52 AM on December 15, 2009


D'oh, brandman beat me to it...
posted by Burhanistan at 7:53 AM on December 15, 2009


The Human Fund: Money for People.

Sorry brandman and Burhanistan, someone had to do it.
posted by jefficator at 7:57 AM on December 15, 2009


RETARDOS #1 FOREVER

Won't you help?
posted by Eideteker at 8:01 AM on December 15, 2009


Ew.
posted by ottereroticist at 8:29 AM on December 15, 2009


Just in time for Festivus.
posted by Ber at 8:30 AM on December 15, 2009


I would strongly suggest not using the site. It is free, and at least semi-professionally done, meaning that someone with actual skill worked on it. It has no visible advertising, meaning they have to pay for the bandwidth in some other way.

Combined with the pure fraudulence of the underlying idea, this ahs to be marketing-related somehow. It strikes me as quite likely that you're giving your friends' addresses to spammers.
posted by Malor at 8:41 AM on December 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


Excellent, and also, better than real presents.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:41 AM on December 15, 2009


s/ahs/has/
posted by Malor at 8:41 AM on December 15, 2009


nthing the sentiments of 'Ew'.
posted by psychostorm at 8:42 AM on December 15, 2009


Hmm after you send the emai the next screen says
Happy Holidays From Daniel Shapiro and Robert Kleman

and gives links to their sites, but when I click those they are just log-in screens.

Could be a spam, but still funny.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:46 AM on December 15, 2009


Wait... not real? You mean I DIDN'T sponsor a struggling foot-long hoagie when I sent $7.95 to the Make-a-Sandwich foundation?
posted by FatherDagon at 8:46 AM on December 15, 2009


I guess this is supposed to be a joke, but it's not one I find funny (call me 'no sense of humor bitch' if you want). I hope nobody gets me anything for Christmas, and gives any money they would have spent to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and this Care4Less crap just makes me...not outraged, exactly, but certainly not amused either. I wish we hadn't given them the page views from posting it on MeFi.
posted by bunnycup at 8:46 AM on December 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Googling that you get this:

http://www.campaignbrief.com/2009/12/give-the-gift-of-giving-withou.html

http://adsoftheworld.com/node/46220

http://www.mediabistro.com/agencyspy/ha/tis_the_season_for_fake_charity

So apparently it's just an ad for the advertising firm that made it. Maliciousness rating: 2.5/5
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:50 AM on December 15, 2009


You guys do realize you're not actually spending money on this site, right? You can enter any amount in the fields. Sheesh. Grinchey pants.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:51 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell used to sell a box of nothing, and the proceeds went to the Toys for Tots program. Now A Gift of Nothing has been remade as a kids book and is available in a special edition, which makes me sad.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:02 AM on December 15, 2009


I think a lot of the people who think this is "not funny" are missing who the target of the humor is. This isn't meant to make fun of charitable organizations, or even charitable giving.

What it does is takes the piss out of assholes who decide that giving to a charity of their choice and rubbing your nose in it is an acceptable alternative to giving a gift. That sort of tactless behavior never quite seems to be rubbed out. If you don't want to give a gift, that's totally fine, but it's much better to just suggest that gifts not be exchanged than to pretend that your choice to give to charity is some how a welcome gift to a friend or family member.
posted by explosion at 9:02 AM on December 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


You guys do realize you're not actually spending money on this site, right?

You realize that they're making fun of people who are legitimately raising money FOR charities, right?

You realize the reason why charities are working so hard to raise funds is because people are already selfish enough as it is, right?

You realize that this is just mean, right?

sheesh. Scroogey pants.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:03 AM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I already donated to Dick Moves, LLC.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:08 AM on December 15, 2009


Mutts

Whoa awesome.
I didn't know he did this with his titles panels. Mutts rocks.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:08 AM on December 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


Helping the Organless actually mimics a real charity. The Organ Clearing House rescues old pipe organs, mostly from deconsecrated churches, and finds them new homes.
posted by mr vino at 9:11 AM on December 15, 2009


EmpressCallipygos, and others: Could you please point out to me how precisely making up a goofy, impossible charity for people to laugh at does any kind of damage to actual charities? It it in fact the height of humorlessness to mistake a joke involving something for one denigrating it. If I make a joke about how I don't want the health care bill to pass because I hate my parents and want their inheritance, for example, who is the target of that jest? The president and health care reform, or my own (exaggerated I swear) greed?

Please send me an email with your response and I'll add you to my mailing list!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:14 AM on December 15, 2009


What it does is takes the piss out of assholes who decide that giving to a charity of their choice and rubbing your nose in it is an acceptable alternative to giving a gift. That sort of tactless behavior never quite seems to be rubbed out. If you don't want to give a gift, that's totally fine, but it's much better to just suggest that gifts not be exchanged than to pretend that your choice to give to charity is some how a welcome gift to a friend or family member.

Exactly, so those of us who appreciate gifts-to-charity over say, a gift basket of bath salts, might just be a little less likely to receive that. I've received gifts to a charity many times - instead of a personalized tchotchke at a wedding reception, as an example - even without requesting it. I have heard through the grapevine that even without my express request, family members have made gifts to St. Jude rather than buying for me. CERTAINLY some people would rather have a present just for themselves to make them feel loved and happy and special because Santa is great, but NOT wanting that is an equally valid viewpoint.

Summary: I understand that many people don't want a gift to charity. But many do, as well. No need to take the piss out of anyone.
posted by bunnycup at 9:16 AM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


mathowie's use of real charities and real money was a far more brilliant scheme.
posted by gman at 9:16 AM on December 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's perfectly fine for people to give gifts to your charity instead of getting you a gift, if you're cool with that. It's pretty tasteless for them to give gifts to their own charity instead of getting you a gift, while accepting a gift from you.
posted by smackfu at 9:17 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


NO GIFTS FOR ANYONE WHILE THERE IS ONE PONY IN THE WORLD WITH A SLIGHT LIMP. HAVE YOU NO CONSCIENCE?
posted by lalochezia at 9:21 AM on December 15, 2009


Oh yes. There's a huge difference there. Knowing your friend tirelessly works to promote a charity, and donating money to their charity is a good thing, especially if you know they'd prefer it.

There are tons of people though, who will donate to a charity they prefer, and pretend it's a gift.

All the same, the point of giving a gift is to give someone something. It's totally fine to say, "hey, you know what? This is sort of a waste of our money, let's keep it small/let's not exchange gifts/let's do a Yankee Swap." I generally don't think charitable donations should be lumped in with the notion of "gifts."
posted by explosion at 9:25 AM on December 15, 2009


Yeah, I try to research charities pretty extensively to make sure they're something the recipient would support. For example, for my fellow motorcyclists, I like to suggest or give a donation to Riders for Health. It's a way to personalize it.

Also, I'm planning to turn most of my gifts over to charity this year (or sell them and donate the money). Do I still need the piss taken out of me?
posted by Eideteker at 9:39 AM on December 15, 2009


This site is great - I gave generously to Givewell.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:40 AM on December 15, 2009


Because suggesting "no gifts" to my in-laws is just a non-starter. I won't even bring the idea up, because it's not worth the time or aggravation. Also, I'm not criticizing other folks' desire to see their loved ones' faces light up. If you love getting/giving stuff for the holiday, that's fine. It's just not for me, not anymore.
posted by Eideteker at 9:41 AM on December 15, 2009


Also, I'm planning to turn most of my gifts over to charity this year (or sell them and donate the money). Do I still need the piss taken out of me?

There's no catheter big enough.
posted by gman at 9:42 AM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


It it in fact the height of humorlessness to mistake a joke involving something for one denigrating it. If I make a joke about how I don't want the health care bill to pass because I hate my parents and want their inheritance, for example, who is the target of that jest? The president and health care reform, or my own (exaggerated I swear) greed?

I personally don't think making fun of charities is a big deal, but what else is the subject of this parody other than charities and people who donate to them? The majority of the effort in this project seems to have gone into the parody charity sites, so it would seem that charities are the main target. If you make a joke about the health care bill and spend most of the joke on satire of the president and the health care reform process, than those things inevitably become the target of the joke.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:43 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Asking people to give on your behalf instead of buying you something you don't need = good.

Giving money to a charity on someone else's behalf - possibly a charity the recipient wouldn't support - and then giving them a letter explaining that you've donated their present because you're so compassionate = not so good.

More presents should be made, I reckon. I don't mind getting charity shop presents - somebody's benefitted, something got reused, and people who still insist on getting me a present after I've told them to save their money* can get me something more interesting.



*I mean my mother, who's a pensioner. Everyone else can buy me presents. I like things from Lush, old Penguins and butterscotch chocolate.
posted by mippy at 9:53 AM on December 15, 2009


I gota couple of laughs out of this. Honestly, there is nothing in the world that fun can't be poked at, so it's easier to just loosen up. I find it odd that this site has gotten people so edgy.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:57 AM on December 15, 2009


what else is the subject of this parody other than charities and people who donate to them

I could list some things but you are fundamentally not getting the point:

MAKE A SANDWICH FOUNDATION
this is not parody, it is absurdity. There certainly could be somewhere a site that parodies online giving, but this is not it...it is just a joke, not satire. Standard issue puns, incongruous images and wild hyperbole. All jokes don't have a point...in fact most don't, other than to present the logical contradictions that create laughter. Whether this is funny or not, well, that's up to you, but it's not putting down charities, anymore than Cats For Gold is encouraging animal cruelty.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:15 AM on December 15, 2009


Here's what I got when I clicked on the link, which I hope means they are being universally panned:

Due to overwhelming response we are repairing our site. Back shortly.

Here's why I don't think mocking charities, and hence our interconnectedness, is funny:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

posted by bearwife at 10:17 AM on December 15, 2009


Jump off the dialectic express.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:21 AM on December 15, 2009


Wow. It took 2 hours for a Givewell joke. Come on, people, you're sharper than this!
posted by deanc at 10:36 AM on December 15, 2009


How is getting bath salts or candles a better gift than a charity donation to a charity you don't prefer?
posted by garlic at 10:39 AM on December 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Jump off the dialectic express.

Dialectic . . . is a method of argument, which has been central to both Eastern and Western philosophy since ancient times. . . . . Dialectic is rooted in the ordinary practice of a dialogue between two or more people who hold different ideas and wish to persuade each other. The presupposition of a dialectical argument is that the participants, even if they do not agree, share at least some meanings and principles of inference
posted by bearwife at 10:43 AM on December 15, 2009


I'd donate $26,000,000 to the make-a-sandwich foundation for my brother with a note saying that I had given them the money because I know how important sandwiches are to him because he talks about them the whole time. I wouldn't do this to give him a laugh, I'd do it because I hate charity and the people who donate and I want to mock them.

I wish they had a fake charity for relocating misplaced outrage.
posted by Elmore at 10:50 AM on December 15, 2009


this is not parody, it is absurdity. There certainly could be somewhere a site that parodies online giving, but this is not it...it is just a joke, not satire. Standard issue puns, incongruous images and wild hyperbole. All jokes don't have a point...in fact most don't, other than to present the logical contradictions that create laughter.

I don't think malicious or satirical intent is necessary for something to be a parody, just imitation. And for serious topics, jokes can be offensive to some people just for mimicking an important subject. For example, the "organ donation" fake charity is clearly referencing actual organ donation, which is a serious topic.

The fact that it is a joke and is not deriding actual organ donation does not automatically make it inoffensive. If someone sends their friend an email about how their father died because he couldn't get an organ donor in time and that their friend should make sure to sign up to be an organ donor, and the friend responds with a joke using a pun about pipe organs, it wouldn't be unreasonable for the person to be offended no matter what the friend's intention was.

Whether this is funny or not, well, that's up to you, but it's not putting down charities, anymore than Cats For Gold is encouraging animal cruelty.

Cash For Gold is pretty clearly making fun of Cash4Gold and similar (scam) services, along with a comment someone made on Fox News about "exchanging a couple of ounces of gold for a cat." It also has funny pictures of cats on it. You're correct that it has nothing to do with animal cruelty, but only because there are no references to it. If it had made references to the joke gold/cat exchange being harmful to the cats, then it would involve (but not necessarily encourage) animal cruelty, which some people might find offensive.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:51 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


If someone sends their friend an email about how their father died because he couldn't get an organ donor in time and that their friend should make sure to sign up to be an organ donor, and the friend responds with a joke using a pun about pipe organs, it wouldn't be unreasonable for the person to be offended no matter what the friend's intention was.

This is not under dispute, you are now changing the point sir. You (or whoever I was debating back when I cared stupidly enough to comment) claimed it was a satire, which has a target and a point. More analogies: is Lazy Sunday parodying rap or Sundays? No it is funny because it is incongruous: two yuppies eating muffins sounding like Cypress Hill.

Just because a joke could be used to offend someone when stuck into a very unusual and specific circumstance does not make the joke targeted at that circumstance. If I sent my friend a cartoon of Elmer Fudd getting a piano dropped on him, and his father had been a piano mover who died in similar circumstance, that would be pretty darn offensive, true, but the cartoon would remain innocently silly. The joke of the organ donation site, you see, is that ORGANS are a kind of INSTRUMENT which it would be RIDICULOUS for anyone to DONATE in the same manner of a human bodily organ. Get it? Get it? OK. Sigh. Are you seriously advocating that nobody make any kind of jokes involving anything that could be misconstrued as relating to a topic that some people find important? Really? Because if so, I award you teh Prize.

Aaand after uselessly defending this mediocre site for an hour I hope they take it down and destroy it because I no longer think it's funny, congratulations meanies.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:14 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


see.. potomac... we were right all along...
posted by HuronBob at 11:17 AM on December 15, 2009


yess...u were so right...all humor is cruelty...life is hard and painful and pencils can be used as weapons...dave chappelle is an even more insidious racist than santa claus and fart noises are insensitive to IBS sufferers...i give up [sob]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:40 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dialectic . . . is a method of argument, which has been central to both Eastern and Western philosophy since ancient times.

Dude, I know what dialectic is. Why did you respond by linking a wiki page?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:44 AM on December 15, 2009


The joke of the organ donation site, you see, is that ORGANS are a kind of INSTRUMENT which it would be RIDICULOUS for anyone to DONATE in the same manner of a human bodily organ. Get it? Get it? OK. Sigh. Are you seriously advocating that nobody make any kind of jokes involving anything that could be misconstrued as relating to a topic that some people find important? Really? Because if so, I award you teh Prize.

Yes, I get the joke, and no, I'm not suggesting that the Joke Police should start marking certain topics off-limits for humor. My overall point was that there is such a thing as a serious topic, which depending on the specific audience and circumstances, parodying or merely involving that topic as a major component a joke can be offensive to people. For some people charities or specific types of charities (like ones related organ donation) might be those kinds of topics.

Again, I am not saying that jokes should never be offensive or that the fact that people are offended by a joke necessarily means that the joke shouldn't have been made. But when people say they don't like jokes about a serious topic, they often get responses like the ones in this thread telling them to lighten up or get a sense of humor or whatever, which I think is unfair. Disliking a joke because it makes fun of something that you don't like seeing made fun of or in a way that you don't like is a reasonable opinion to have.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:02 PM on December 15, 2009




Disliking a joke because it makes fun of something that you don't like seeing made fun of or in a way that you don't like is a reasonable opinion to have.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the statements made in this thread were that the jokes on that site actually HURT real charities because they were ATTACKING them, not that it hurt the posters feelings. You have not yet addressed how this happens.

But none of this matters because I have launched a DOS attack on that site through my zombie computer bot army as well as on this thread and myspace.com just in case so it'll all be over soon...sweet sweet oblivion, come for me now! LETS DANCE INTO THE DARKNESS MY LOVELIES
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:20 PM on December 15, 2009


I like the concept. Plus, if it was making fun of nonprofits (which it isn't), it is great that people might rethink how they evaluate the charities they are donating. There were a ton of 501(c)(3) statuses handed out in recent years. I'd like to think a bunch are legitimate, but if an org fails, it's their own fault. It's not that they deserve to get big or small donation dollars just for existing as a nonprofit.
posted by anniecat at 12:22 PM on December 15, 2009


Disliking a joke because it makes fun of something that you don't like seeing made fun of or in a way that you don't like is a reasonable opinion to have.

But should you be telling other people it's not funny and they shouldn't laugh? It's the South Park syndrome, where it's funny right up until they take on your religion / group / sexuality and then it's awful and bigoted.
posted by smackfu at 12:37 PM on December 15, 2009


Could you please point out to me how precisely making up a goofy, impossible charity for people to laugh at does any kind of damage to actual charities?

The whole idea of the site is: "hey, here's a way you can just tell people you're giving a donation in their name to a charity without having to spend a dime!"

The subtext being, as I take it, "because -- pfffft, CHARITIES, what a lot of crap, amirite?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:38 PM on December 15, 2009


My lord you are an uptight bunch, aren't you?
posted by mr.marx at 12:41 PM on December 15, 2009


Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the statements made in this thread were that the jokes on that site actually HURT real charities because they were ATTACKING them, not that it hurt the posters feelings. You have not yet addressed how this happens.

FWIW, as far as I can tell burnmp3s did not make that argument, so I'm not sure he is responsible to address how it happens. An interesting point was made upthread that this site is a good thing, because it will 'take the piss out of' people who give charity donations as gifts, and discourage that practice. If that is true (I don't know if it is or not), then the site could reduce charity donations.

That said, my dislike for it is pretty much based on the fact that I just don't think it is funny. Yes, for very personal, unique reasons. People have given me as gifts donations totaling in the cumulative range of $10,000 to St. Jude (and strangers donations kept my kid alive. Donations? HAahahaha? No.). Nevertheless, it COULD be funny - I don't think 'charity donations' are a verboten subject, as much as I think this joke was fail. FWIW, I watched Something, Something Darkside last night which included a joke about donations to leukemia research, and managed a chuckle. This website? Not so much.
posted by bunnycup at 12:44 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


but it's much better to just suggest that gifts not be exchanged than to pretend that your choice to give to charity is some how a welcome gift to a friend or family member.

Oh, now you done did it. I hope that was a joke.

What kind of douchebags poo-poo a donation to charity? Every damned Christmas I ask specifically for nothing, because I have everything I need and I am certainly in need of any Christmas junk that even under ideal circumstances would sit in a damned drawer until christmas next year. And every year I wind up walking out of my folks place with a garbage bag full of crap that will likely never come back out of the bag. Do you know how much better spent that money that went to a christmas sweater or X-mas themed teddy bear for a 30-year old atheist could have been? I would absolutely love if I didn't get more landfill fodder and instead got an indication that someone who otherwise wouldn't got a meal or a snowsuit. The scale of it is insane, I can scarcely imagine what good money spent on unwanted gifts could have accomplished for people in need. I mean the stuff people throw money at at Christmas is freaking ridiculous. We have a guy in the family who produces some of it--foam "stress relief" bricks for throwing or something, and phoney novelty $1,000,000 bills. He makes a killing on this junk every year.

Rant over.
posted by Hoopo at 12:56 PM on December 15, 2009


The whole idea of the site is: "hey, here's a way you can just tell people you're giving a donation in their name to a charity without having to spend a dime!"

The subtext being, as I take it, "because -- pfffft, CHARITIES, what a lot of crap, amirite?"


You either didn't read the site or are simply mistaken...the whole idea of the site is to make up amusing ideas for fake charities that are so absurd that they couldn't exist. Then people will send them to their friends to make them laugh, because for a second they'll be like, 'oh did PA give to a charity in my name? huh which one was it...oh Fathers Against Mosquitoes! That's the utter limit haha what a comedian that PA is, i should give him sexual favors or free drinks!"

Your subtext is not supported by the, y'know, text.

best of luck,
Sir Robert Penn Warren Esq.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:58 PM on December 15, 2009


Just think of your gifts as being donations to support people in China.
posted by smackfu at 12:58 PM on December 15, 2009


Then people will send them to their friends to make them laugh, because for a second they'll be like, 'oh did PA give to a charity in my name? huh which one was it...oh Fathers Against Mosquitoes! That's the utter limit haha what a comedian that PA is, i should give him sexual favors or free drinks!"

...As opposed to "what kind of an idiot does PA think I am that he'd think I'd fall for this? That's the utter limit what a bastard that PA is, I should tp his house or light a bag of poo and place it on his front porch"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:07 PM on December 15, 2009


Disliking a joke because it makes fun of something that you don't like seeing made fun of or in a way that you don't like is a reasonable opinion to have.

But should you be telling other people it's not funny and they shouldn't laugh? It's the South Park syndrome, where it's funny right up until they take on your religion / group / sexuality and then it's awful and bigoted.


Sometimes saying "this is not funny and you shouldn't laugh" is a reasonable position, but that's not what I'm arguing for here. My point is that bunnycup should be able to say something like "I guess this is supposed to be a joke, but it's not one I find funny" without the getting the predictable accusations of missing the point of the joke or being too uptight to appreciate the humor.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:09 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


"what kind of an idiot does PA think I am that he'd think I'd fall for this? That's the utter limit what a bastard that PA is, I should tp his house or light a bag of poo and place it on his front porch"?

nah my room-mates made stop emailing my exes for this very reason
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:16 PM on December 15, 2009


Meh. Underimpressed. Now, if someone wanted to make a site that mocked some of the projects and people who've gotten funding from our local "economic development" and arts so-called-nonprofits, I'd be all over it.

(There's more than a few reasons why something I recently posted on MeFi Projects got underway recently...if anyone can explain to me why funding a dating site with a no-strings grant counts as 'economic development,' for example, I will bake you cookies).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:31 PM on December 15, 2009


but it's much better to just suggest that gifts not be exchanged than to pretend that your choice to give to charity is some how a welcome gift to a friend or family member.

Oh, now you done did it. I hope that was a joke.


I think the objection (and what the site is parodying) is to the fact that people sometimes send cards out with a message that says, "a donation in your name has been made to XYZ charity in lieu of a gift." But what if the recipient doesn't approve of the charity you're donating to? And why are you telling them about your charity donations? It just seems like it's begging for attention for something that you should be doing anyway. Doing good for others isn't about other people thinking well of you, and you shouldn't be doing it just to get out of Christmas shopping.

If you don't want to do Christmas shopping, there's nothing wrong with that either; if you're the kind that likes to spread holiday cheer, just send out letters to people about how much you care about them or invite them to dinner, and leave the donations out of it.
posted by bluefly at 2:00 PM on December 15, 2009


If you don't want to do Christmas shopping, there's nothing wrong with that either; if you're the kind that likes to spread holiday cheer, just send out letters to people about how much you care about them or invite them to dinner, and leave the donations out of it.

Just a data point, but we quite liked this idea a couple of years ago and made it known that, if anyone in the family were going to buy us anything, just contribute to one of the following charities instead: (list). Others liked the idea, and pretty much self-selected among who wanted "charity gifts" and who preferred the old-fashioned kind. It pretty much broke down along age and income, which is to be expected. If I were my 21-year old nephew just moving out on his own, I'd prefer something crossed off the vast list of things he needs to buy for himself, too.

Added to the name-draw system now being implemented (finally) for our much-too-big-to-be-buying-for-everyone family, and we've trimmed a lot of the needless junk out of the holiday.

All that said, if you're buying your lefty anti-gun cousin an NRA membership (or the charity equivalent), you're either completely clueless about this person in your life or you're making a point of being an asshat. Most of us can judge better than that or, you know, ask.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:27 PM on December 15, 2009


Givewell if you carewell. Thankswell.
posted by Balisong at 3:00 PM on December 15, 2009


"That's good satire! It doesn't hurt anyone!"

It's always fun to see a group of folks get their collective dander up, insisting that something Isn't Allowed To Be Funny, especially when they (as a whole) generally tend to insist that they believe in the idea of comedic fair game. It's like the time I told a Jesus-related joke near a creationist, and got chastised because There Are Some Things You Just Don't Make Fun Of.

That said, the Make-a-Sandwich foundation amused me deeply. Maybe it's the silliness, or the dark humor it shares with the Take-a-Wish Foundation mentioned on Aperture Science's web site way back when.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:26 PM on December 15, 2009


also, Fake-A-Wish
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:37 PM on December 15, 2009


I think the objection (and what the site is parodying) is to the fact that people sometimes send cards out with a message that says, "a donation in your name has been made to XYZ charity in lieu of a gift."

I guess I have a bigger objection to buying crap because you feel obligated--random junk no one asked for so Joey gets as many gifts as Frank. If people don't ask you specifically for a millenium falcon or something (WTF SANTA WHERE IS IT?), don't just buy some crap, all "Yo dawg I heard you like gifts". Does Dad need or want another tie? Does your spinster aunty need or want more knick-knacks? What's the difference, getting something you don't need or a charitable donation in your name? One's (hopefully) doing something good, the other collects dust.

It's also pretty cynical to assume someone is giving to charity out of a sense of superiority or self-righteousness, and I am one cynical son-of-a-something. Whether or not you even want to do Christmas stuff, having a family and friends that do makes it difficult to not look like an asshole when you don't buy them something. Charity gives an "out" to those of us that are in this holiday gift-giving stuff against our wishes. Not to mention some people actually like it, unlike fruitcake.

But I sometimes forget there are somewhat political and questionable charities out there...I usually think of things like the Snowsuit Fund, the United Way, Shepherds of Good Hope, local soup kitchens etc when I hear the word "charity". I suppose I'd be pissed if someone made a donation to some weird religious charity whose sole purpose was to "spread the good word" or something in my name, but if you object to feeding and clothing the poor you don't deserve a damned thing from me.
posted by Hoopo at 7:04 PM on December 15, 2009


something Isn't Allowed To Be Funny =/= something Isn't Funny
posted by bunnycup at 8:33 PM on December 15, 2009


As others have said, it is laudable to ask for a donation to be made on one's behalf, but very off to foist a charitable gift on someone without consulting them. I'm a charity fundraiser and I found that site v amusing.
posted by peekorama at 12:10 AM on December 16, 2009


How is getting bath salts or candles a better gift than a charity donation to a charity you don't prefer?

I don't want money given to, say, a charity that discourages abortion. I also know people who aren't very keen on PETA or Greenpeace, for example (a family member refuses to give to AIDS causes as she doesn't think it's a good enough cause - eesh). It's very...presumptious.
posted by mippy at 2:38 AM on December 16, 2009


It's very...presumptious.

I guess that's what I mean about objecting to receiving such notices about people's charity donations. I think I came off as more of a Scrooge than I meant to. It's one thing to decide, hey we're not doing gifts this year, just giving money to the needy. It's another to donate in a person's name to a charity without asking them if it's ok. Also, I'm perhaps biased because among my friends and family, we don't expect presents, although I do give my dad some socks every year because his always have holes in them. And somehow, it still gets to me whenever people announce their do-gooding, but I'll think on that after reading this thread.
posted by bluefly at 5:31 AM on December 16, 2009


I don't want money given to, say, a charity that discourages abortion. I also know people who aren't very keen on PETA or Greenpeace, for example (a family member refuses to give to AIDS causes as she doesn't think it's a good enough cause - eesh). It's very...presumptious.

Just to add to what I said before and touch on this, this is why we give a list of charities to donate to in lieu of gifts to us (or in the exchange system, in place of the one gift we'd have gotten), because you, too, can pick a charity you don't object to in giving to us. Don't like the religious aspects of World Vision? How about Canadian Food for the Hungry? (etc.) We don't expect your gift to us to be doing something that makes you uncomfortable.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:46 AM on December 16, 2009


Best option is cash and a note that says "use as you wish".
posted by smackfu at 6:50 AM on December 16, 2009


Is this one of those topics that MetaFilter doesn't do well? I didn't mean to offend anyone and just thought a dumb gag like "Make a Sandwich Foundation" was good for a few laughs. Guess not.

Happy holidays.

posted by slogger at 6:51 AM on December 16, 2009


No, I liked the linked content -- particularly MaSF. People are just getting sidetracked on their like/dislike of the charity giving thing. Don't worry about it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:04 AM on December 16, 2009


Geez, lighten the fuck up, Francis!!

Slogger, I thought it was funny. My siblings and I were just talking about the whole Human Fund joke so I sent it to them. 30 secs of my time for a laff. yay!
posted by phogirl at 7:09 AM on December 16, 2009


Slogger, I am one of the people who don't think it's funny, but I'm not like offended you posted it or anything. It triggered some interesting discussion.
posted by bunnycup at 8:24 AM on December 16, 2009


I'm glad I sent my donations to the Make A Sandwich foundation out to my friends before reading this thread and finding out they weren't funny.

*blinks*

Really? Make a Sandwich? It's hilarious!

I really didn't see this as deriding actual charities at all any more than some ecards derides sending someone an actual card.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:26 PM on December 16, 2009


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