Read This Before You Contribute to Change.org

When you decide to make a charitable donation, you need to make sure that as much of your money as possible goes to the right place and will be used to actually support what you are trying to support. But while we warned you about clear charitable donation scams, there is another element to watch out for: online buttons that don’t really contribute a damn thing to the cause.

Take, for example, the Chips feature on Change.org. Typically, when you launch a petition on a platform – which is a commercial company, by the way – signatories will see a button asking if they want to contribute to promoting the petition in order to get more support and more signatures for that purpose. …

When a petition was launched to charge the police who killed George Floyd, it garnered over 17 million signatures. And, as you can imagine, a significant portion of those 17 million people contributed – over half a million, according to The Verge .

While the appeal box on the petition page made it clear that the funds would not go directly to the cause, but only to promote the petition, a growing group of former Change.org employees say that asking for money is the way to go.

“Change.org siphons resources from organizations that are accountable to black people and equipped for a deeper, long-term, community-based organization for black life and liberation,” reads an open letter to Change.org leadership. In fact, the letter claims that because Change.org is a for-profit corporation, it “profits from black deaths.”

Since the open letter was posted on Medium, Change.org has turned off the chip-in feature on some of the site’s most popular petitions.

When it comes down to it, Change.org can do whatever it wants with any money it collects through its site, and it doesn’t have to be transparent about how much money is raised or how it’s spent.

This is why it’s more important than ever to double-check details before investing in a business you care about. Find the organization Charity Navigator , GiveWell or Guidestar, before making a decision about the donation; For campaigns like GoFundMe and informal fundraising efforts, check out the organizers and their donation plans. We’ve got a list of racial justice donation options if you’re looking for where to start.

Investing in a petition or other business isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But not having all the details you need to make the right decision for you . If you are unsure where your dollars will go, take your time to ask so you can contribute with confidence.

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