Why People Donate to Disaster Victims
by Randy Dellosa
Super typhoon Yolanda wreaked havoc as she rampaged through the Philippines. The violent pouring of rain, the furious blasting of wind, and the torrential surging of flood waters pitifully soaked Tacloban and its surrounding areas into a lamentable state of calamity.
When disasters of this magnitude happen, those who are directly unaffected by the disaster often display an overwhelming desire to help the victims. They may not necessarily go to the calamity area, but one way they offer help is through the donation of cash and kind.
The word “donation” refers to the generous gesture of sharing to the needy. Donating time and effort, cash or kind to disaster victims is a charitable act. However, those who donate differ in their underlying motivations and reasons for doing so.
What factors might influence people to donate to disaster victims?
- Compassion. Many people donate out of true compassion. They empathize with the harrowing experience of the disaster victims and sincerely want to help them in their sufferings. These compassionate people feel the fear, grief, shock, and sense of vulnerability which disaster victims go through. Compassionate people know that another person's ordeal could have been their own so they are willing to go an extra mile in comforting those in need.
- Regional affiliation. Some people donate only due to regional affiliation or connection. For instance, a person from Tacloban who resides in Manila would obviously be concerned about the safety of his relatives and townsfolk in Tacloban. Had the calamity happened elsewhere, he might have cared less or not at all.
- Sense of accomplishment. Some people belong to socio-civic or advocacy groups and actually enjoy doing noble projects that uplift the lot of the people. For them, it is a joy to donate their time, money, and efforts for the benefit of the less fortunate.
- Guilt feelings. Some people donate out of guilt feelings. They feel a sense of shame as they bask in the comfort and luxury of their own homes while some countrymen of theirs are homeless, hungry, and drenched in the rain. Hence, to appease themselves of their emotional discomfort, they give donations to the victims.
- Sense of obligation. Some people donate simply because they’re expected to do so by their school, church, organization, or society.
- Image enhancement. Some people donate to earn so-called “pogi” points and gain press mileage. Actors, actresses, and politicians are notoriously known for this. They are deemed dubious and self-serving because they display their charitable acts for all to see.
- Excess wealth. Some people donate from their excess wealth. They simply have too much luxury and the little bit that they give to the disaster victims is really inconsequential to them.
When we Filipinos act from a true spirit of compassion, it is not merely time and effort, cash or material kind that we donate. When we are truly compassionate, whatever we give to others is a sharing not only from ourselves, but also from deep within us.
Giving donations and doing charitable acts for disaster victims prove that our core values of bayanihan and damayan are still alive and not yet out-moded. We need to show the disaster victims that our pagkakaisa is not limited just to backing up our beauty contestants in international pageants or cheering for our boxers who compete in title fights. In sharing to the disaster victims what we can give, we help to keep their hopes and spirit alive as we journey with them through thick and thin.