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  • Writer's pictureShari Stein

Posting For A Cause

I have been accused of seeing the world through the cliched rose colored glasses. I confess and am proud, especially since I make sure that my lenses also have a reality filter. So, here’s my attempt to turn anyone’s Internet frown upside down.

While social media, the tech giants, smartphones and the Internet, in general, are climbing to the top of many people’s blacklists, I want to call a time out for some Internet gratitude, literally. Therapists suggest that we keep Gratitude Journals to help us feel better. This is my entry, highlighting one of the reasons I am grateful for the Internet:

Online Donation Opportunities.

There are many charities that I contribute to only because I found out about them online and not through a direct solicitation. Sure, in the past, I might have donated to some of these causes. My good friends might have called me or, in those ancient times, snail mailed a letter to me asking for me to participate in their fundraising efforts. But, now, I contribute to more causes, more often. Just in the last few months, I donated to Cycle for Survival/Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Jewish National Fund, Camp Kinder Ring and others because of online alerts and promotions. I found out about opportunities to volunteer, such as the local Soup Kitchen. Like other financial transactions, most of the charity websites allow donations to be kept anonymous or completely private. This is a win-win for all. My friends don’t have to go door-to-door or phone-to-phone and feel uncomfortable, especially when they risk being turned down. And they can reach people they don’t even really know! I have learned about and have donated to some charities indirectly- spotting a promotion on social media or finding out that a friend donated to a charity which also resonates with me. There’s no waiting on hold until the call center worker answers and writes down my information. There’s no trip to the post office and no rational reason to delay giving.

Fortunately, it’s not just me. According to the NonProfit Source, charitable donations have been increasing thanks to social media and online campaigns such as #GivingTuesday. Total charitable giving has increased in the last few years. Facebook, the “spy,” can take credit for 16% of the surveyed population who donated through its platform. “84% of Millennials give to charity, donating an annual average of $481 across 3.3 organizations….47% of Millennials gave through an organization’s website in 2016….Email prompted 31% of online donations made by Gen Xers and 59% of Gen Zs are inspired to donate to charity by a message/image they saw on social media.”

While we must address the perils of the world wide web, we should also recognize the good things. There are many dangers, personal and global, that we can blame on the Internet, enough to fill an anthology of scary stories. Just today, I read two articles that do highlight online threats: Facebook spying on us, still and how Uganda government officials are addressing fake news or keeping facts from the public by levying a tax on mobile Internet use. But, I also learned about a blood drive. Rose colored glasses on, hearts open. Even cloud computing has a silver lining.

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