Whether it’s for COVID-19 relief, the Australian fires, or any other big event, wealthy public figures continuously choose to donate their money to help alleviate the financial stress of these global issues. However, more and more public figures are now met with online backlash as a result of their donations – some users even shame them for their giving. Donation shaming is dumb, it does nothing but invite negativity, and what’s worse is that it may dis-incentivize public figures from donating in the future. Many wealthy people don’t donate at all…why shame the ones that do? Where is the wisdom in that? This issue is part of why so many people have turned to using Silent Donor to send an anonymous donation.
Social media is the biggest culprit of donation shaming, with Twitter users leading the charge. Take this recent example of a verified Twitter user with almost 200,000 followers shaming Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, and Bill Gates who funded a $25 million coronavirus research group because this user thinks $25 million is an insignificant amount of money relative to Zuckerberg’s net worth.
Using the ‘net worth versus donation amount’ argument has proved to be a popular argument for many people, who appear to insist on shaming public figures instead of acknowledging that they freely and willingly donate millions of dollars to the public good when they don’t have to. That seems to be the part that gets lost on these people: nobody forces wealthy people to donate. They do it to better the lives of others. It shouldn’t matter if a public figure or your neighbor donates $100, $10,000, or $10,000,000. All these figures are better than $0 and will go towards improving the lives of an untold amount of suffering people. Here is another example of such a tweet after Jeff Bezos gave donated $1 million AUD to Australia to aid against the fires that ravaged the country.:
This user chose to compare the million dollar donation to Bezos’ ever fluctuating, on-paper net worth that this user arrived at after putting in all of one google search into researching it, instead of recognizing that nobody has to donate money ever. They do it to help.
Another dangerous and slippery slope that public donations invite is donation comparisons. In that link, CNBC focuses on pointing out how much money different celebrities have donated to Australia for the fires. What does this mean for you if you are a public figure? People compare either the amount you donated to the amounts that other people donate, or they compare the amount you give to one cause vs. a different cause (and they then unfairly lay claim that you therefore view one cause more favorably/significantly than the other).
Luckily, many Twitter users are recognizing that donation shaming high-profile people is not an effective use of anyone’s time. It is unnecessary at best, and can scuttle future donations from public figures at its worst. Use Silent Donor to send an anonymous donation today to any organization that you are passionate about. Keep the impact of your donation, but lose the unwanted attention.