Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Adventures and charities

I'm sure I've had a rant about this before...

Here's the example that set off this post.

My friend knows some people who are planning a Mt Kilimanjaro in aid of some or other charity. This is very common. So, it costs the people participating around R20,000 to do the climb and they're tasked with raising at least R3,000 through donations. This raised money will go to the charity.

My unfiltered suggestion was that the six-odd people (or more?) should cancel the trip and instead donate their R20,000 to the charity, if they're really serious about doing something for charity. It's far more effective and the charity scores a far bigger donation.

Another thing... the charities that you choose to support are quite a personal thing. While your friends and relations support you in your adventures, why should they donate towards the charity of your choice when they could send their donation to the charity of their choice?

There are hundreds of ways to do something 'for charity' that takes less time, money and resources than that needed for you to undertake an expedition.

As for doing an adventure or sporting event to 'raise awareness'. Just by interacting with me you're raising my awareness. You don't need to run a million kilometres. Hey, even a street pole ad costs as little as R400/month - cheaper than funding an expedition.

Consider this...

A friend organised a Bingo evening and raised R13,000 on this fun-filled night for a charity that her team supported. The reality is that you could spend four months away and only raise R10,000 (if that!) in donations.

Greater Good South Africa's website (www.myggsa.co.za) has requests from organisations for assistance. The Projects section presents volunteering opportunities. Requests/project range from requiring donations of your time as a hands-on volunteer to money, paint, toys, appliances or any other variety of things. You may have some of them in your garage. GGSA can also connect you with causes - if you're looking for one. Even the Botanical Society of South Africa has a project post on GGSA - they're looking for volunteers to assist "in monitoring, searching for and ultimately conserving endangered wildflowers across the country".

Looking at the project list each post has a 'Target' and a 'So far' tally. Most of the 'So far' entries read 0 (zero) both in terms of financial and volunteer requirements. Also on the Requests page... most have '0 responses'. And yet people will fly down to Cape Town and do a sporting event 'for charity'?

This is a theme that goes around and around in my mind, frequently, because I read numerous emails from people doing this and that 'for charity'. My stomach turns. I'm not unsympathetic to causes but I am all for adventures being about you. There's nothing wrong with doing something for yourself just because you want to. 

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