Monday, 1 September 2014

Why are so many ‘charity’ people being so bah humbug about the #icebucketchallenge?

Why are so many ‘charity’ people being so bah humbug about the #icebucketchallenge? And yet, with #nomakeupselfie people were full of excitement.

I’ve held off blogging about the challenge as I didn’t want to jump on that particular bandwagon. But now I’m just getting annoyed.

Articles like this one in Civil Society – Why I Didn’t Accept an Ice Bucket Challenge. This one seems to be to have an element of giving snobbery attached to it. It’s ok to give, so long as I keep it to myself.

Why? If people want to shout about the fact that they’re giving to charity – albeit because of a social craze – how can that possibly be a bad thing? 

We talk endlessIy in this sector about how to engage the younger generation of givers. And then this one happens and we get grumpy about it. I’m really not sure why. It’s fun, it’s inclusive. And even children can take part.

This challenge has raised £millions, made people laugh, engaged them with giving and with charity. And it’s user-generated – what’s not to love? Is it because ‘we’ didn’t think of it? 

To be honest, there are thousands of people giving monthly via direct debit, popping change in collection tins and donating to emergency appeals.

And, ignoring direct debit giving, how are the two latter ways of giving any different to taking part in the latest social media fundraising craze?

A wiser woman than me once described emergency fundraising as ‘fund catching’ – catching the mood of the time as people respond to horrific events. Put the mechanisms out there and people will respond.

Popping money in a collection tin – is there a less engaging, more cold way to give to charity? No engagement, no thought – and, arguably, no warm glow. The #icebucketchallenge is giving that glow (ironically) to thousands of people. 

Did I think I would do it? No. Did I want to? No. Did I do it? Yes. And actually, it made me feel good. I felt part of a something. I gave money to charity. And I was able to nominate people and make them think about why and who they should give to.

Take part and understand why those audiences who are doing it are enjoying it. Don’t we always say we should understand our audiences more? You might even suprise yourself by enjoying it.
I don’t think anyone is suggesting that this user generated fundraising is going to replace more traditional methods of garnering support. But it’s happening more and more. And we need to embrace it, or be left behind.
So, please. Stop being grumpy. It’s very irritating.

Danielle Atkinson

And if you want to laugh at me, and other fundraisers taking part, here we are: