The Ethics Of Disaster Appeals


Typhoon by Jasvipul Chawla on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Journalist Sam Hailes discusses the way charities make appeals for donations when there is a disaster. Is it ethical to promote heart-rending pictures of suffering children, or are there better ways to reflect the God-given dignity of those stricken by natural disaster or war?

Here are some words he quotes from Matthew Frost, Chief Executive of Tear Fund:

“There’s a lot of evidence out there that’s quite depressing and says the more you put a picture of a starving child out there, the more likely people are to give you lots of money on the spot. For many years across the organisations who are part of the Disaster Emergency Comittee there’s been a real desire to not put starving children in front of people and to paint these people as people of dignity who need our support.

“People are made in the image of God. We always try and see people as God sees them. In these current economic times there are some organisations drifting back into that simplistic presentation of people that denigrates their own human worth that we would abhor but it’s happening because it generates money.”

What do you think? What makes you respond in the best way? How do we best uphold the dignity of the poor?


One thought on “The Ethics Of Disaster Appeals

  1. I think it is sad that these types of images are used. I didn’t need it to donate to PI relief, but maybe some folks do. I don’t know that it’s right, but it does appear to be effective.

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