Xavier Ho
2014 / 02 / 27

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.

About the author

Xavier Ho

Xavier Ho is the creator of Roguelike Universe, Smoke and Fire, and other interactive data visualisations. He works at Monash Art, Design and Architecture, often pulling from the intersection of data visualisation, design, society, and systems thinking.

Profile art by Franpaccio.

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