Charity is big business, but not all charities are created equal, and not all charities, despite the best intentions, actually end up doing good. Yet most people want to help out in some way: we empathize with the pain of others, we sympathize with the unfortunate positions they have been put in, but very few actually do anything about it.
Sure we might feel bad, but rarely does that translate into action, and even when it does, the actions we take are rarely the most effective. But then, the real motivation for many people is to make that feeling go away, to feel as if they have done something, but not to look too closely into what has actually been achieved, because trying to confront such a terrible, insurmountable problem is quite a task to set before yourself.
So we do the little things: we recycle, we turn off lights, we send some money to an organization. It lets us think of ourselves good people, it alleviates the guilt we feel when we see the late night commercial with the starving African children, but these techniques are often marketed to do just that: to make us feel complacent, as if we have already done something good.