I recently read an essay by Peter Singer in the New York Times that asked how much the mega-rich should be required to give in charity. I like Singer; he’s dry and rational but he’s presented the most irrefutable arguments I’ve read for the rights of animals and the right to euthanasia, and this was an equally charged and reasonable piece. Paul Lamb of Smart Mobs thought so too, and came up with a inversion of the idea: why not apply one of this year’s big ideas — bottom-up creativity — to the problem of charitable giving?
Why couldn’t we flip the script and think about a bottom up approach? In other words, instead of just going after the rich and rich governements, what if all of us took responsibility for getting a billion people to each give between $1 and $100. We already know the power of what is possible through a smart mob approach…take rock band U2’s “One” campaign. During concerts, lead singer Bono told fans to take out their cell phones and text their support for OXFAM to a short code which then got flashed up on a big screen above the stage. Thousands did as Bono told. Now imagine if Bono told his fans to do the same thing only this time donating 99 cents or more to a global poverty relief effort?
If we all gave just a little bit it could be more than the billions donated by Gates and Buffets and others (though their contributions are welcome).
Lamb announced that he’s donating $50 to The People’s Campaign to End Global Poverty and has provided a website to help others donate too. It’s just a little, but it’s a start.