Social Good

Don’t Give $20 to the Red Cross

There was a time when a talking head or global celebrity would make an appeal on behalf of an organization post-tragedy, natural or otherwise, asking for funds to mobilize aid to the location of need. The viewer, overtaken with emotion, would answer the call by donating whatever they were able in hopes that their gift will help the grave situation they have just been made aware of.

Brands that do good for a community (local, national, global) need to do good within its own walls. If they don’t, they risk tainting their own waters.

The best example of this is the American Red Cross (ARC). Whenever I hear that name, I immediately return to 2010 and the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti. ARC was able to raise over half a billion dollars for the relief effort, which yielded a total of six houses erected for the disaster-stricken nation. In subsequent disasters (Hurricane Katrina, Sandy, Harvey), ARC has fallen short in their ability to bring aid. Instead, they have come out seeming mismanaged, ill-prepared and aloof.

In light of the tragic Las Vegas shooting, some have used their platform to implore people to donate to ARC.

Though not American, I wouldn’t donate to them and can’t see why anyone would willfully give to them given their track record.

Brands that say they do good, actually need to DO GOOD. We are in an age where anyone can Google an organization and read of all the good and bad that they do. ARC has done good, but its my belief that the bad outweighs it.

And it matters.

The young generation has no interest in giving to a humanitarian organization whose CEO drives a Bentley; no desire to invest in a business who makes the lion’s share of their revenue on the backs of the poor.

There is a shift happening in consumer spending. Transparency and social good are key in the new economy. If ARC, and others, believe that they can conduct ‘business as usual’, they have sealed their fate.

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Thomas Cumberbatch was born in Ottawa, Canada to Caribbean parents. He’s a husband, father, and lover of art who serves as the CEO/creative director at Godzspeed Communications, a branding and digital media firm. At Godzspeed they’re obsessed with identity and purpose. They connect with their clients on intimate yet analytical levels to convey the soul of their corporate and/or personal brands through strategy, art and digital media. Thomas firmly believes that “inspiration is the currency of creative thought” and leads a life that engenders inspiration and creativity.

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