Clicking for good

I was reminded the other day of all the web sites I used to visit regularly where you could click on an ad to donate money to famine victims or breast cancer research or a dozen other things.  Such an easy way to help good causes—yet I stopped going and clicking long ago.  Has this been your experience too, ethical readers?  They still exist—or at least thebreastcancersite.com does.  Why don’t we all go to them everyday?  What’s the lesson in this?

Some of the reasons I stopped going and clicking are that the more of these sites there were, the less I went to them, because I didn’t have time to go to all of them, and I somehow felt less guilty going to none than choosing breast cancer over famine or famine over animal shelters, etc.  The other thing I remember is that after a while the sites began to beg you also to click on one of their sponsors’ ads—which took more time, but more important, since I wasn’t going to buy anything from the sponsor anyway, this felt useless at best and like cheating at worst.  Finally, I had no feedback that my little clicks were making a difference—it seemed that the only way they would is if I also convinced a lot of other people to click as well, and I figured everyone I knew was becoming as disillusioned with all these clicking-for-good sites as I was, so I didn’t want to spam them with any more.

The breast cancer site says it’s helped 2500 women this year, which is 2500 times better than none, but considering the millions of people who use the web, it doesn’t represent much clicking.  If the power of the Net is going to be harnessed to raise money for good causes, clearly a new way needs to be found.  MoveOn and similar organizations raise money by sending pleas directly into people’s inboxes, but the more organizations that do that, the less effective that tactic will become as well.  I wonder what will be next.

Anyway, I clicked for breast cancer research, and I’m going to make one of these sites my homepage so that I remember everyday.  I’m just going to pick one out of a hat and tell myself that one is not just better than none; it’s much much better.