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A "Like" Doesn't Save Lives, Money Does

Over the years, you've probably seen a lot of campaigns saying that if you "like" something or comment on a blog post, a donation will be made to feed hungry children, vaccinate babies, or find a cure for breast cancer. It sounds easy, it IS easy, but there's often more to it than that. I can see the good in some of these campaigns, but I'm also wary about corporate attachments to good causes.

This is why, although I'm a social good and social change blogger, you'll see me shy away from, ignore, or sometimes outright criticize the social good campaigns with major corporate affiliations (unless they are transparent and have no conflict of interest). That is also why it is easy for me to enthusiastically support UNICEF Canada's "Likes Don't Save Lives" campaign, which encourages people to go beyond slacktivism and make a donation that will make a difference.

If you normally would have had a pot of change out for trick or treaters to put in those orange UNICEF boxes that they used to carry around, perhaps consider making a direct donation in the form of a UNICEF survival gift instead. The gifts range from $10 all the way up to $40,413. There is something there for every cause and every budget, whether you are interested in supporting vaccines, nutrition, health, education, or other important initiatives.

Take a look at UNICEF's survival gifts and tell me which one you're buying or which one you would like to buy. I plan to buy one, but am still thinking about which one. I'd love your thoughts on what you think is most important.

Note: After writing this post and getting ready to publish it, I noticed that UNICEF Canada had a note on their website indicating that for each blog post written about their campaign, Hallmark Canada was going to donate 10 vaccines. That wasn't my motivation for writing this post, but of course, based on what I wrote above, I wanted to know what that actually means in financial terms. I reached out to UNICEF and they got back to me right away and also added clarifying information on their website. One tetanus vaccination costs 7 cents, so that value of Hallmark's contribution per blog post written is $0.70.

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Reader Comments (9)

Important post! I have said on Twitter a few times that "donating" a Tweet never actually helped anyone. I get yelled at a few times. People might like to hear it--but it's true. Starving and abused children or anyone will not be saved via anyone's donated tweet or 'like' as you said.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNina Badzin

0.70 eh....

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle


Yes, I mention that in the interest of transparency. As I said, it wasn't my motivation for writing the post, but it is what it is.

I do find it interesting though, the $0.07 figure. I never did find out what the cost per vaccine is for the Blogust campaign that happened in August, where a US drug store was going to donate 1 vaccine per comment on the 31 blog posts that were written by influential bloggers, up to a maximum of 50,000 vaccines. So, if the $0.07 figure applies there too, that means that they donated up to a maximum of $3,500 worth of vaccines. Probably not what people were thinking when they were enthusiastically supporting the campaign.

November 1, 2013 | Registered Commenterphdinparenting

I find it interesting and commented on it because it felt like a grand gesture at first, but when you break it down a little depressing. Especially considering that they sell their cards for $4.99 a pop... I think it's a good reminder to actually look at the financials behind the gestures, like you mentioned.

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

A vaccine costs only 7 cents?? Wow ... eye-opener!

November 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCoffee with Julie

@Coffee with Julie:

Some vaccines cost 7 cents, others cost a lot more. That's why I like to ask what is really being donated.

November 4, 2013 | Registered Commenterphdinparenting

I made my decision regarding the gifts I'm purchasing. I bought a New Mother Pack, which includes 23 HIV Test Kits and 23 Tetanus Vaccines to help mothers protect their babies from diseases that can be contracted during birth. I also made an additional donation to Urgent Aid.

November 5, 2013 | Registered Commenterphdinparenting

I think it's great that they aren't trying to tell you that likes are worth something but that doesn't mean that you know where your money is going.

November 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharles

Donating a like in Facebook or a tweet in twitter can't change the situation of any person and some how it depends upon the situation of that people how to overcome from the bad situations. According to me money is one of the necessity of every people and you need to think about the steps how to save the money in account. We should help people to overcome from bad situations.

November 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarikalekel

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