October was a great month for awareness. Many of you may be aware that October is breast cancer awareness month http://www.nbcam.org/about_nbcam.cfm
and saw lots of Susan G Komen pink ribbons on inappropriate products (Susan G. Komen urinal cakes, Susan G Komen personal lubricant, Susan G Komen hemoroid crème, etc.) on the store shelves, but did you realize October was ALSO awareness month for the following unsung but undoubtedly worthy issues/causes?
Car-deer collision awareness month
Domestic violence awareness month
Energy awareness month
Liver Awareness month
Spina bifida awareness month
and, of course, psychic vampire awareness month
I recall first hearing the term ‘charity burnout’ after 9/11. As it happened, Americans opened their hearts and wallets and ended up donating nearly 2 billion dollars to the families victimized by the attack. Sadly, virtually every other charity fared poorly that year and many more than 2,000 families suffered as a result of the loss of funds that would otherwise have gone that year to assist the thousands of other worthy causes/charities competing for those same donation $’s.
In about a month I expect to be bombarded with 800 brochures in my mailbox from various charitable organizations all asking for donations. I think it’s sad that charities have to expend so much of their resources to ‘raising awareness’ just so they can compete for funds. The trouble is that there are more causes out there than any individual could be reasonably expected to be aware of or assist. The charities that end up getting the donation $ are the ones that grab headlines and are best able to keep public attention directed on them. Often they allocate a sizable chunk of their budgets for this purpose alone. Over time the net psychological effect of being bombarded by so many requests for charity for so long is that it simply becomes background noise. And in the long run that contributes to a sense of helplessness and apathy (which helps nobody in the end).
Do you think cries for charity have become or are becoming background noise? Do you find yourself discarding brochures for charities in the mail along with the political ads and credit card offers?