Viral Video: The Daily DoGooder

"Changing the world, one video at a time." Seriously?

Signing up for this website means you’ll receive an email every weekday linking you to a well-meaning, philanthropic video. The Daily DoGooder is dedicated to “changing the world, one video at a time”, a noble but rather ridiculous claim. Most of these cause-oriented shorts package estimable messages in positive, snappy, instantly forgettable wrappers. They will hardly change the world, since they represent a campaign competing for the same dwindling supply of dollars every other video’s campaign is competing for.

What the Daily DoGooder makes painfully obvious are the impoverished methods America has devised to care for the hungry, the poor and the marginalized in our country. Ever since government began abdicating its responsibilities to private enterprise, shifting the burden of providing social services to non-profits beholden to the generosity of the rich, a cottage industry of fundraisers has sprung up. Most of these charity breakfasts, luncheons and auctions dot the non-profit terrain like dandelions in spring, and these events are vital to these organizations’ success. I should know, since my wife and I make short films for many of them, relying also on the largess of good-hearted donors while documenting the excellent, selfless work these orgs do on the front lines of many urgent social issues.

We have the luxury with our films of getting more time to portray rich characters and to go deeper into a single group’s mission, but the DoGooder site generally restricts lengths (30 seconds to 3 minutes), and they usually highlight national organizations with diffuse, easily digestible messages, such as No Kid Hungry, which features the kind of faux-handmade animation many of these videos are known for — along with a dash of celebrity-'splaining from Jeff Bridges. Any hints of left-wing politics are concealed behind vague “we’re all-in-this-together” statements, ensuring that most of these films end up in the same flavorless melting pot of inoffensive messaging. With that, the “DoGooder” lives up to its Webster’s definition: an earnest often naive humanitarian or reformer.

For more Viral Video nuggets, go here.


Rustin Thompson is a filmmaker, film critic and indie radio deejay. He enjoys strong coffee, red wine, IPAs and his wife and grown children. He is comfortable with the fact he will never be rich, but grows petulant if he thinks too much about it.

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