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The Automation of Charity

Often people stop me on the street asking for 5 minutes of my time to hear them out: asking for spare change to buy food, invitation for self-esteem workshops, or donate to charity for a good cause.

Today was different, though, because a charity missionary asked for my credit card details on the streets. Asking for someone's credit card details this way is not appropriate.

It wasn't that much of a big deal, something like $40 a month to help out 6,000 kids. Even though I rejected the sign-up with a financial excuse (I'm only a student on scholarship with no jobs), I was uncomfortable with a commitment that was out of my control.

Politics aside, I still feel there is a fundamental difference between actively donating and passively donating.

As an avid gamer, I purchase games from Humble Bundle, which lets me choose a portion to donate to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. When someone asks me for spare change on the street, I give my pocket change to them by hand. Whenever I need pet stuff, I buy from RSPCA, knowing my money will go towards animal foster cares. Recently I learned about the Siberian Husky Rescue, from where I plan on adopting a puppy one day. These are all active ways I interact with charity.

If I had given out my credit card details, I will probably forget about it after a few days. I don't think about it, and I just make sure my account has money all the time. This passive way of donating doesn't make sense to me.

Maybe I should buy a T-shirt from the Salvation Army for a good cause.

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