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Non-monetary Charity Activities Catching On in Korea

Posted October. 18, 2008 09:12,   


○ Non-monetary donations welcome

Charity activities are often associated with monetary donations, but a growing number of donors are sharing their talent rather than their funds.

A poet or a calligrapher can donate his or her works. From caricatures, balloon art and hair design skills to magic and composition, small contributions and gifts from each individual can greatly assist charity organizations.

Many corporations seek charity activities that feature their specialties. For example, a CI design firm specializing in creating advertising and marketing materials offers free renewals of computer programs to social welfare centers.

The PC utility company ALTools donates its products. Several entertainers also take part in social donations by taking part in user-created content advertising and promotions for free.

○ Growingly popular among citizens

"Talent donations" are growing popular not just among celebrities and companies, but also ordinary citizens. A 53-year-old freelancer gives do-it-yourself furniture he made to study centers for low-income students. “I was happy to see children pleased to have the furniture they needed. Since then, I have exerted more efforts to produce things for them,” he said.

Software developer Yoon Seung-min helps to build a database for the charity organization Good Neighbors International. He said, “Donating money is good, but I feel more proud to benefit this organization with my specialty in software programs.”

More people are seeking to donate their talents to charity, including foreign languages, tutoring and construction. Good Neighbors said the number of ordinary donors rose to 479 in last year from 378 in 2006, and the estimated number this year will surpass 500.

Other charity groups see a growing number of donations by ordinary citizens. Food for the Hungry International receives volunteer applications on its Web site. Various volunteer duties needed include translating foreign languages, including writing letters to aid recipient children overseas.

Lim Gyeong-suk, a team manager at Good Neighbors, said, “More people seem interested in sharing their talents with others. In the cases of advanced countries, charity activities that utilize donors’ jobs, aptitude and academic majors have long been done.”