The Economics of Charity

Last night I went to a fundraiser for the situation in Japan, and as part of it they had a charity auction. Any money raised for disaster relief made me happy, but I couldn’t help notice that the economics of it seemed all wrong. For example, one of the items auctioned was 4 adult tickets to Chessington World of Adventures. Now, a quick glance at the website tells me that they sell for £110, yet at the charity auction they were sold for £30. And this phenomenon was repeated across the night. Would it not be better to sell these items commercially, and then donate the proceeds to charity? It would raise more money… but it would be less visible, and it wouldn’t gather a bunch of people together to congratulate each other on how generous they are. The entire evening seemed entirely about showing how great the attendees are, and very little about the actual victims.

File under “Charity isn’t about helping.”

One response to this post.

  1. […] had similar thoughts when reading Why I am Not’s post on charity.  The author finds something fishy with the economics of charity auctions, and proposes they may […]


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