Stop exploiting tragedy for profit

By Jordan Davidson | Reporter

The Australia wildfires have been raging for over six months. With over 11 million hectares (or over 27 million acres), over 2,000 houses lost, and 33 dead, the fires have become much more than just front page news. People around the world began donating to the cause using fundraising campaigns like on Facebook or other platforms.

Despite the fact that there are many people around the world who have donated funds and resources to those helping contain, evaluate, and eventually rebuild from the fires, that hasn’t stopped some businesses from exploiting the calamity as an opportunity for personal gain.

One American business, Lisa Frank, which sells colorful designs of animals printed on products, recently offered financial donations to the Australian wildfires — but under one condition. Lisa Frank announced via social media that it would donate $1 towards Australian relief for every new follower that it gained. They also launched a clothing line decorated with koalas that will donate an unspecified amount to aid.

The same fundraising tactic occurred after the news of a fatal helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others broke. Nosebleed, a company that created an app for consumers to buy “courtside seats at nosebleed prices,” offered on social media to donate “$8 for every repost in the next 24 hours to honor #8 and #24” towards, which supports the other victims of the helicopter crash. The graphic they used showed a picture of Bryant and his daughter with the dates of their lives. Emblazoned across the top of the black-and-white photo is the Nosebleed logo in bright green.

Whether it’s asking for likes, followers or shares in exchange for donations toward the people affected by tragedy, it is extremely unethical and thoughtless to take advantage of the communities of people who are currently suffering. Although people in need are still being helped by these kinds of donations, businesses should not exploit tragedies and the goodness of other people for their own profit.

Donations towards the Australian wildfires and the MambaOnThree fund should be made because people care about other people and our world, not because it is an opportunity to build a social media presence or increase profits. If companies are willing to donate a certain amount of money based on the social media traction that they gain, why can’t they just donate that anyway? When it comes to giving to charitable causes, businesses should do it simply because they believe in it and because it is the right thing to do.

Jordan is a senior political science major from Lubbock.