x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Charity made easy

Charitable donations will be needed long after Ramadan is over. But charities can do better to make giving easier.

As we look back on the Holy Month, one well-intended charitable project seems to be falling short of its goals. We have a suggestion which might improve the results next year.

The Box Appeal, intended to generate 10,000 boxes of toiletries and daily necessities for 10,000 labourers across the UAE, was last reported to have reached the 4,000 mark. Over the last four years the average annual haul was 5,000 boxes.

This is not, we believe, a reflection of a failing on the part of the public. All year long people take charitable giving seriously. The UK-based Charities Aid Foundation this year placed the UAE in the top third of 153 countries ranked by individual - not government - giving. And the idea behind this particular opportunity to give is a fine one.

That said, however, the system as it exists has an inherent inefficiency that may be deterring many people from actually following through with obtaining, filling and giving a box: it takes too much time.

For many people today, the time and energy needed to pack a box makes a simple act of charity far more onerous than it should be. As such, some people might simply prefer to donate cash, which organisers could use for a box buying and filling spree.

Appeals for donations are always encouraged, even after this season of charity ends. But so too should efforts be made to make giving easier.