Thinking About Donating to Charity this Holiday Season? Don’t.

Charitable giving can do more harm than good. Here’s why, and here’s what to do instead.

Nicole M. Luongo
11 min readDec 14, 2020
Photo credit: Etienne Godiard via Unsplash

The Holidays are here, and ten months into a global pandemic that has ravaged families, exposed inequalities, and exacerbated wealth gaps, charitable giving is uniquely significant.

People need help — badly — and those who can give, want to. Covid may have revealed the cartoon villianesque greed of the one — percenters, but it has also inspired unity, forced us to interrogate how we define “essential worker,” and led to moments that are, frankly, heart — warming. Times are tough, but so are communities.

Charities recognize this, and because they know that most of us are fundamentally “kind” (or are at least want to see ourselves as kind), they are capitalizing on 2020s surge of good — will to solicit donations.

Don’t fall for it.

Why? Because charity got us into this mess in the first place. And giving to charity won’t be the thing that gets us out.

Charity, then and now:

First, charitable giving is as old as wealth itself. By 2 500 BCE, the Ancient Hebrews had instituted a mandatory tax (“tithe”) to help the poor, and the word…