Sunday, 7 October 2012

Heartless git?

I have spent the weekend sat at home, doing very little work, and with the TV on. It happens! It should be relaxing. Yes, clearly I am getting old...

Today, almost every bloody advert break is trying to get me to pay money to help starving kids somewhere. It is not just one charity. I think there are at least three. Apparently 22,000 children will die today! Do they pick Sundays specially for some reason?

Now, just to be clear, I am not a heartless git, honest, though I am sure my kids would rather I gave them money than to a charity. So what is winding me up?

1. The adverts are very specifically targeting empathy and parental instincts in us all - deliberately exploiting the way most people's minds work with images of a starving kid on screen. That annoys me! I always look for the real meaning in any advert, and this just winds me up. If I am going to donate to a charity I want it to be my choice, not someone cleverly making an advert to trigger an emotional response. The effect is negative, in my case. I deliberately avoid these charities because of the tactic.

2. Whilst I am not one to be convinced by most of the environmental crap we see these days, it seems somewhat hypercritical that these adverts are not also required to state the environmental impact. How much CO2 is produced by saving one child? Not that saving a child is not worthwhile, but if they did state the environmental impact of one more person on the overpopulated planet in such adverts, it would make the car adverts stating CO2 emissions look meaningless irrelevant...

So, proper rant today, sorry...

I'll go back to watching TV.

8 comments:

  1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/04/african-aid-no-more-pity

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  2. Also, primetime adverts cost a fortune.. I find it difficult to believe that enough people will 'pledge £10 a month' even to cover the cost of making them.

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  3. I once received a bit of charity junk mail which contained a coin. Maybe it was a 20p or 50p coin. The idea was to get you to sign up to donate 50p a week to their charity. And apparently 50p a week could achieve some specific goal - maybe like provide a week's worth of rice or something. Anyway; the letter actually came with a coin sellotaped to it.

    Two points disgusted me about this :

    1. Wasting money donated by others by effectively giving it away.
    2. Attempting to 'guilt trip' people into setting up direct debits, to give back the original coin's value, then forgetting to deactivate it.

    Very very low indeed. You wonder how the execs of these charities live with themselves really.

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    Replies
    1. The execs live with themselves by the large salaries a lot of them seem to receive...

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  4. I think you're all missing the point.

    Whilst you, personally, may be upset/angry/disgusted, the fact is that campaigns like this work - that is, they generate additional income over and above the cost of the campaign. Surely (at least in theory) there is nothing wrong with, for example, taking somebody's 50p donation and turning it into a £1 donation even if they have to give away the 50p first. Speculate/accumulate etc.

    I was going to write a big whinge about the large reserves that some charities carry, but then I noticed this article in today's Guardian which I found more interesting...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/voluntary-sector-network/2012/oct/08/charities-most-reserves?newsfeed=true

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  5. One thing that disgusts me more is that people that knock on your doors

    If you don't donate for more than a year then generally the charities lose money due to the amount they have to pay these "helpful" companies to solicit your donations

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    Replies
    1. I'd rather have them (a simple "No, we already donate." gets rid easily) than some of the more opinionated people who knock on our door.

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  6. The one that annoys me is when I make a 1-off donation to a charity, and then spend the next 10 years seeing that money just being spent on sending me regular junk mail asking me to donate more.

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