I promise this will be my last post on the matter, but my issue with Invisible Children (outside the "Look at me, I'm charitable!" crowd I mentioned earlier) is this: an organization with the end of "raising awareness" is really only half
a charity. I believe a charity organization should work like this:
1) See a problem or a need.
2) Aware others of said problem or need.
3) Provide a solution to the problem.
4) Execute the solution and fix it.
For this example, I will use my favorite professor from college, Ted. While Ted was on a service trip to Mexico, he was surprised to see that the kids there didn't have the necessary school supplies to continue their education. As an educator, it broke his heart. Then he remembered his years of school as a kid, how on the last day he would clean out his locker and throw away old pencils, used notebooks, etc. and how it all went to waste. So when he got back, Ted decided to start greenLockers (www.greenlockers.org for anyone looking to investigate it). Basically he would get large green bins and set them up at schools, so when locker clean out day came, instead of throwing away your used school supplies you had the option of donating it to those less fortunate. The discarded supplies would then be distributed locally first; internationally second. There is a video at his website that explains the process more in-detail in case you are interested in learning more about it. But because this is not about my professor Ted, that's all you really need to know for the purpose of this thread.
The point is, Ted saw a problem, spread awareness, created a realistic solution, and executed it. Now, Ted is a saint, and he has gifts for service that I (or most people for that matter) frankly don't have. Asking everyone to get involved in such a personal way in unrealistic. However, I think the purpose and plan of how greenLockers operates as a small, non-profit organization is a very good and realistic example of how these organizations should work.
Invisible Children does a fantastic job of steps 1 and 2; but it falls too short in my mind on steps 3 and 4. Is this their fault? Probably not. There is no simple or even complex solution that Invisible Children can implement on their own to end such a terrible war in a place as grief-stricken as Uganda.
Like charger said, when I give to a non-profit organization, I want my money to make a difference and help fix the problem. If someone associated with Nothing But Nets
came up to me and asked me for a donation, I would know that my donation is going to help get a mosquito net to someone and stop the spread of malaria. If someone associated with charity: Water
asked me, I know my money is going to help get clean water to someone who needs it. But if someone from Invisible Children comes and asks, I have no idea what that money is going to; all I know is that there is little chance it goes toward actually fixing the problem because as an organization, they have no way of fixing it.
Don't get me wrong, awareness is very important and it's easy to spread. Tweet, post to Facebook, write a government official. That's all perfectly noble. But a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to create awareness is not one that I wish to support. There are other organizations such as Africare
or AMREF USA
who could directly help those affected by the Ugandan war with a much greater possibility that your donations will actually and physically help those who need it.
Now, to RedSox and CC15. I never called either one of you bandwagoners or posers. I'm thrilled to see other young people who want to change the world for the better. However, I want to ask you to really consider this question: why are you so passionate about this one, specific problem? Yes, I know what the easy answer is... because it's hanus, because of the children, because of Kony, etc... But consider even just the three problems I've previously listed: malaria, clean water, sex trafficking. Not only do those three problems have a much larger impact on the world and affect many, many
more people than the LRA war does, but they also have much simpler and available solutions that allow you to directly change the world. Yet, you seem to be so focused on this one issue where there is very little that any of us can do, when there are so many other problems and ways you can help. Why is this? I'm not saying to quit being involved in Invisible Children and spreading awareness about it... in fact, I would urge you to continue to do so if you believe in its cause, because obviously you do. What I am asking is that you take a long look at supporting Invisible Children in such a large financial manner when there are plenty of other organizations dealing with bigger problems and actually helping those in need.
And to end on a lighter note, here was one of the... ahem... "charitable" ringleaders of IC from my campus: