Recently, I outlined what I believe to be a top-notch, long-term service project, which I call the Miracle Store. The project would consist of establishing kiosks in malls to collect donations for various international charities. In this post, I would like to relate this project to the relief efforts in Haiti and to suggest a way to increase the number of donors.
Haiti – please send money
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a ready-made, effective way to collect money for the relief efforts in Haiti? A Miracle Store could do this by simply adding new options to the menu.
And this crisis has made it clear that, with regard to disasters, aid agencies do not want untrained volunteers, or donations of items, but money. As one example, the Center for International Disaster Information has Guidelines for Donating to a Disaster. These include:
- “Monetary contributions to established relief agencies are always the most useful response to disasters.”
- “Volunteer opportunities for disaster relief are extremely limited.”
So donating money is not a second-rate expression of concern. It is the most effective step that most of us can take to alleviate distant peoples’ suffering.
Greeting card tie-in
One of the problems regarding the Miracle Store is that, if visitors were to make a donation as a gift, all that they would receive at the kiosk would be a receipt. Not very sentimental! (For simplicity’s sake, among other reasons, the kiosk should not handle money directly.) So perhaps the group running the kiosk should arrange a tie-in with one or more local stores that sell greeting cards. By presenting a receipt from the Miracle Store, greeting-card customers might get a discount on a card that they could use to communicate their donation. And perhaps the greeting-card vendors would promote donations, since this arrangement would increase their own sales volume.