Oprah Winfrey recently gave more than 300 audience members $1,000 debit cards sponsored by Bank of America, with the stipulation that they donate the money to a charitable cause.
It's the latest incarnation of this new form of charity that I have come to call "Diet Charity". It requires little or nothing of consumer's participation. Marketing budget dollars are shifted to allow people who have no intention of doing anything for other people to do nothing for other people except feel good about themselves.
On some level these work like pyramid schemes. Bank of America get's the most notoriety for being "charitable". Oprah second and the recipients of the charity cards third.
The rest of us can fell good about knowing that all those douple-dip ATM charges are helping other people to feel good about themselves.
I wonder if there is a way for recipients of Oprah's Charity Cards to fashion them into some kind of annoying, socially obvious object to let the rest of us what great people they are? Yellow bracelets, red tshirts.... the lucky charms of diet charity.