I got a postcard at work advertising an "International Gift Sale" today. Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit ministry of a local church. At the home of, I assume, a parishoner, they are selling handmade gifts created by and benefitting "third world artisans." They had a sale last year around this time I think; I remember some friends' mentioning it and the expensive coffee they were pouring at the event.
International artisans, fair trade coffee: It's very cultural.
Nonetheless, it is a good cause toward which I could contribute money.
It seems a trend in U.S. good causes: to get something for giving. Very American: only we would come up with "Let's give people incentives to give!" It's the same case with the Switchfoot single for Habitat and the Free Rice word game. I'm surprisingly uncynical about this trend though. If we get something like justice-oriented fair trade coffee and pay a bit more, a song for helping someone get home, or some word-knowledge or word-love for feeding the hungry, I think that's okay.
Although, I do wonder at Jesus' words: "Those who do something for the reward of recognition can be sure that's all they'll ever get." I guess we take our chances.