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.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gary
    Dec 02, 2012 @ 22:24:37

    … and you ask any Local Authority Trading Standards Department and they will tell you all about the material gain derived by those professional charity canvassers who funnel the public through pinch points in town centres. Their pan handling isn’t most often undertaken out of an altruistic impulse to help the needed but rather as a personal money making opportunity. Charity is indeed big business for some and a deflection from the real job of helping those in need. I’ve found that to genuinely help the poor one most often needs to become poor first. Not a good show…


    • Anupadin
      Dec 02, 2012 @ 22:35:10

      Being hyper cynical, you could argue that charities don’t want to solve the problems that they were set up to address. If they were to do so, they would be out of a job. I’m sure, in response, they would say that they would love to remove poverty, or famine, or whatever other bandwagon they ride upon, but it won’t happen in our lifetimes.


  2. Gary
    Dec 02, 2012 @ 22:57:08

    Cynicism breeds its own pit fall in that it nurtures a tacit acceptance of “that’s just the way it is and nothing I can do will ever change the situation”. Always use the Socratic method of questioning with a view to changing things for the better. If you’ve ever tried to help in a care sector in this country you will know how damned hard it is to achieve anything. After the corporate image, bureaucracy and CRB checks you can become a part of the team as long as you stay detached. Even homecare agencies rotate their staff at two week intervals so that they don’t start to bring to the fore too much attactment and human sensitivity. There we go you’ve got me being the cynic now…


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