A portion of the proceeds

Research | January 20, 2012

I never read anything about Kim Kardashian – or any Kardashian, really. But I did the other day. I came across an article talking about a “charity auction” she hosts on eBay. She sells her clothes through it, and she sells the event itself as a “Charity Auction Supporting the Dream Foundation.”

When you read the now-often-used phrase “a portion of the proceeds,” how much of the proceeds do you think should actually go to charity? Probably more than the 10 percent that KK gives (the minimum required to participate in eBay’s charity auctions).

The eldest Kardashian is hardly alone in this though. Corporations do it all the time. Their profit far outweighs what they’re giving to charity, but yet they market it based largely on the charitable endeavor. So is it charity, or just smart business? And if it’s smart business, is it ethical?

The (Red) campaign is well known worldwide, with loads of companies giving a portion of the proceeds from certain product sales to fund the elimination of AIDS or help those living with it. While all offer “(Red)” products, the proceeds they give vary greatly:

– Converse high tops: Each sale sends a 5-15% contribution to the global fund

– Gap World AIDS Day T-shirt: 50% of profits from the sale

– Dr. Dre earphones: $5 from each pair, which are $199.50 each

– Apple iPad 2 cover: No defined number, just “a portion of the purchase price”

How much of this seems like generous corporate giving to you? I’m not saying don’t buy the stuff if you want it. Just don’t assume all your money is going to good – look for or ask how much is.

If it’s about performing a charitable act, you can make it far more effective by doing this:

1. Search for AIDS-related charities on Chimp.

2. Have a look at some charity profiles and check out their programs, expenditures, etc.

3. Pick one that fits best with your values.

4. Send them money.



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