Why I don’t wear TOMS and why one-for-one aid isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
Read full article here.
The poster child for the in-kind donation model is TOMS, a shoe company which has gained substantial popularity for its socially conscious business model. TOMS allows its customers to donate through personal consumption with a one-for-one model, giving one pair of shoes to impoverished children for each pair purchased. The hope is that by freely giving shoes away, the gap between the haves and have-nots might be bridged.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Often, such methods of giving do more to suppress the economic growth of targeted areas than they do to help. Clothing donations have a consistent record of damaging local economies, specifically textile industries.
Remember that 1) good intentions are not enough (you can also read the blog by that name here) and 2) you need to understand the community and empower it, rather than importing and imposing ideas, if you want sustainable progress.