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Thread: Charity and Awareness

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Feb 2004
    on my 15 minute break

    Charity and Awareness

    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

    Cyber-security 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?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
    Aug 2005
    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post

    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?
    Yes. I know the causes that concern me and tend to keep my donations focused on them. Every now and then I might make a one-time donation to some other charity e.g. after Katrina I donated to the Louisiana ASPCA.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
    Jul 2006
    Slightly Off-Center

    Bah Humbug!

    "Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude," returned the gentleman, "a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?"

    "Nothing!" Scrooge replied.

    "You wish to be anonymous?"

    "I wish to be left alone," said Scrooge.
    And so it still goes, but not just at Christmas.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Salmissra's avatar
    Aug 2004
    Central Texas
    I have two charities that I support regularly, and one that I support only at Christmas - Heifer International. Several people I know get gifts that are really me purchasing something in their name, and they get the thank-you card.

    The rest are just noise.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  5. #5
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
    May 2005
    Metro Detroit
    You forgot that October is National Community Planning Awareness month. Sometimes i feel like my membership dues are acts of charity.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
    Nov 2006
    Rockwood, MI

    Fat Cat

    We have two charities that we give to. This our choice and I would support people who pick other charities.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    May 2003
    Northwestern Ohio
    This Bear supports a few charities, related to cancer research, battered women, and a Toledo homeless shelter. Also do United Way, via the workplace. Our workplace also does quarterly drives.....just a little extra to help out those less fortunate. Example.....we did a "spring cleaning" thing in April, asking our employees to bring in jackets and coats that they do not wear. We received hundreds (many brand new, never worn!) and contributed them to a shelter. Even though the leaves were turning green, we knew winter's cold wind would follow the heat of summer. I will be adding another to my personal list.....Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

    Agree that there are a ton of charities and causes that are asking for help. The net has some sites that willl help you determine those little goodies such as percentage of your gift that is actually "received" by the needy.


    EDIT: Mr. Maister, those of us in "the biz" call them "urinal blocks", not "urinal cakes". Getting the terminology straight is certainly something to aim for.
    Last edited by Bear Up North; 05 Nov 2008 at 10:45 AM. Reason: Yadda

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
    May 2004
    Grand Rapids, Michigan (Detroit ex-pat since 2004)

    My charities, year 'round

    Not a lot of disposable (or tax-deductible) income here. I like hands-on helping, rather than the pen-to-checkbook support.

    Elves & More - West Mich We assemble brand-new bicycles, and give them away to every kid living in a specified neighborhood. Assembly day happens the week before Christmas, and give-out is the Saturday before. Putting together brand-new bikes, one after another, is Christmas for me.

    Favorite City They sent me a refund of my overpaid taxes. I wrote "keep it" on the envelope and slid under the door of city hall. I'm about to join the Friends of the Parks. (They considered accepting my offer of industry support in the form of long-term cell tower leases in cemeteries.) Charettes, public meetings, opportunities for citizen involvement, I am there.

    Salvation Army It is really fun to go play ad hoc carols next to a kettle. I started doing this about 20 years ago, at least once during the bell-ringing season. First time, the ringer told me, "people are putting bills in!" rather than coins. Cool!

    Various donate-a-car causes A different charity each time. Two cars ago, it was the liver folks, because someone in the bicycle club listed it in her obit. Last time it was the local NPR station.

    Thrifts Ain't no $150k wardrobe here. My attire is rented from the various agencies running thrift stores. Every now and then, I assemble a big donation for them, returning clothing they sold me a few years back.

    DAV Nice people, send me custom address labels and a calendar.

    Good Search dot com lists many agencies and schools which you can support merely by using this Yahoo-based search page. I'm doing it for a local bicycle ministry (keeps kids busy, lets them earn a bike and learn how to fix it, takes them on rides).

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