Charity Open Season

Charity Calendar?Being stuck indoors all weekend, still trying to shift this cold, I have to admit that I have watched more TV than is good for me. I must say that those old X Files still make for good viewing and that Gillian Anderson is rather more appealing as Dana Scully than she is as Miss Havisham in the recent BBC version of Great Expectations.

Anyway, I digress. What really struck me was the propensity of adverts promoting charities. Here in the UK, we seem to have an unwritten rule, that there are no adverts for summer holidays until after Christmas Day.

Clearly no such rule exists for charity adverts. Everything from Save the Children telling me that 20,000 children die every day, to the World Wildlife Fund saying that the equivalent of two football fields of the Leopard’s habitat is felled each hour. The strange thing is, that £2 a month will fix both of these sad situations.

Now I like to think I am as generous as the next person when it comes to donating to charity, but being bombarded by these unconvincing messages really isn’t going to persuade me to give more. With money being tight for everyone at the moment, I really feel we need to be shown the truth, not just peppered with emotive images and fed heart-rending sob stories.

We all know that there are deserving causes out there, and that our charities are seeing reducing donations as a result of the recent economic downturn. It may well be, that research has found that £2 a month is the optimal amount to ask for, when analysing conversion figures, but it all sounds so hollow and I just find I don’t believe their message.

Just to put the lid on the argument, I am told that the 2013 Countryfile Calendar costs £9, £4 of which will be donated to the BBC Children In Need charity. That means that £5 will not be donated. Now that is fine, but they put such an emphasis on the charity side of it, whereas, actually, it’s just another BBC product. To my mind, charity and advertising just do not mix, so please don’t try to pull the wool over our eyes.

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