This is a very touchy subject and I got flamed (email fights in layman terms) by many of my buddies coz they did not understand my point. I was not trying to say that they were cheaters, I just wanted to logically think.
After a big disaster like the Tsunami, there were loads of people who wanted to help. I did my part, went to a dinner organized by the Indian Student Association, spent a day working with the Sri Lankan Association in town and things like that.
But there were buddies of mine, who decided that they wanted to collect money from others and do the work themselves.
What struck me was the question “How does one think of collecting money ?” There are a million organizations the world, right from the Prime Ministers office in the affected countries right down to local organizations who already collect the money. Given that a percentage of this money is wasted or stolen, I still decide to contribute to these organizations.
But how one earth would an individual collect the money, even if he did, how does he know that the money is spent or given to the individuals who are acctually affected and not the by standers who are there just to loot people. Government organizations have a lot of red tape and yes it does take a while for the money to be distributed, but we can be assured that a huge percentage of the money will go to the needy.
In contrast, one of my uncles decided that he wanted to goto a resturant, buy food in packets and distribute it near the beach. In the end he was disgusted, because there were fights and he came to the conclusion that he spent more money on looters and opportunitists than on people who acctually deserved it. The problem was as an individual he had no way of identifying who was affected and who was not.
The second point is that it takes a lot of leg work to acctually distribute the money that one personally collects. Its a lot of responsibility, given that the money was given for the specific purpose of helping the affected, not just for the homeless or the needy. It takes a huge organization like the PMO (Prime Ministers Office) to acctually identify the affected and as an individual this is a daunting task.
So here goes my question again “What drives an individual to think of collecting money ?”