The ONE Campaign needs you.

You can visit the ONE Campaign at www.one.org, but be prepared to have it ask you to join on the very first screen. And when you sign up, you can feel good. After all, you have really done something to fight the twin horrors of AIDS and poverty. Now pat yourself on the back.

What? You don’t believe that you have really accomplished something great? How did the video above end? “We’re not asking for your money. We’re asking for your voice.” So you signed up and gave them your voice. Somewhere Ursula must be working for the ONE Campaign. Under the link of “Why add your name?” comes a further explanation — “Why add your name to ONE? As our numbers grow, so does our influence. Together we can show our leaders that Americans demand an end to global poverty and AIDS. Don’t worry, we won’t share your information with anybody else; we don’t want your money, we want your voice.”

Ursula, indeed.

OK, so I sign up — type type type — and now I don’t need to be personally concerned about AIDS and poverty any more. I’ve done my part. I love making a difference! Back to playing The Lord of the Rings Online, secure in the knowledge that I’ve done my bit to destroy AIDS and poverty. Way to go ME! *pat pat pat* Next, I’m going to end homelessness by sleeping in a box, and eliminate cancer by wearing a wristband.

But if, for some reason, contributing your voice doesn’t seem enough and you’re interested to know what else you can do, the ONE Campaign has a list of actions you can take:

  1. Sign the declaration
  2. Email a friend
  3. Wear the wristband
  4. Host a banner
  5. Get Involved

And if that’s not enough for you, you can even have your Yahoo avatar wear a ONE Campaign t-shirt. “Your avatar is now an official supporter of the ONE Campaign!” That’s pretty much as useful as anything that’s been accomplished so far.

Step 1 and 2 involve adding more names to the list of ONE supporters. Step 3 is simple advertisement. Despite the fact that they’re not asking for my money, there is a “donate” option on their capitalism page. And note the disclaimer under the donation option: “Contributions to ONE Action are not tax deductable; they support our advocacy and lobbying efforts in the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty.” Step 4 is just linking back to the ONE Campaign, so it’s more simple advertisement. It’s not until Step 5 that ONE actually offers you an option to do something. And that “something” is primarily spreading the gospel of the ONE Campaign.

Tom Hanks ends the ONE video by saying, “We’re not asking for your money. We’re asking for your voice.” Really? If the ONE Campaign isn’t asking for my money, then how does it intend to end AIDS and poverty in places like Africa? Shall we shower the poor and ill with signatures? How exactly does my voice, without the power of my money, help anyone?

The truth is that the ONE Campaign does want your money, but not directly. It prefers to get money from you in the form of government taxation to pay for their causes. I much prefer to bypass bureaucracies and actually do something effective with my money by giving it to worthwhile philanthropic causes. My favorite is Humanitarian Aid because 100% of all money donated goes to help people in need. So a donation of money, food, or items to Humanitarian Services will be directly transferred to someone who needs help, rather than being filtered through some government official or bureaucrat in the form of tax monies.

I know, giving to a charity like Humanitarian Aid won’t provide the same thrill as seeing movie actors ask for your voice, but it will actually help someone. The ONE Campaign lets you feel good without actually doing anything useful. I prefer to help people.

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