The title and indeed lack of context may paint this particular foray into rant territory as one that is ill-informed and tedious in nature but in truth this is simply a look at how charities should be campaigning and what methods they should do without.
A few days ago, I found myself meeting with a few friends for lunch. We were walking past the town hall and towards the shopping mall, when a charity worker stopped us. She was short and stout, armed with a parka and a cardboard 2D bucket displaying a new filtration system. It was drizzling, it was icy cold and we were in a hurry. But she roped us in.
I tried to do the given thing by saying ‘we’re in a hurry, sorry’ but walked in our path and stopped us. She said it would only take 2 minutes and that we could get out of the cold as soon as possible.
She then proceeded to talk for 5 minutes about sending buckets to Africa to filter and give water to malnourished and thirsty families. She asked if we wanted to donate. She wanted us to donate there and then – to sign up online and transfer money to the charity.
Lets put it this way; it wasn’t sensible for us to donate. I am a university student from a working family. I need to make my money go far because I need it for travel, food and accommodation. Anyone who’s ever been a student knows that accountancy is essential as a university student.
My friend is on a gap year. She’s on job seekers allowance and literally cannot give a penny away. It sounds harsh and horrible but in the cold, the rain and the context, we needed to go.
I was annoyed.
But what annoyed me was neither the charity nor the cause. If anything the cause and idea is fantastic and should be funded. But the charity needs to understand that not everyone is in a situation to donate. For instance, I donate when and where I can. I have sent multiple bags of old clothes and shoes to charity shops to send around the world. I donated for the ALS challenge like everyone else. I donate when and where I can and charities should and probably do know that.
I was annoyed at the charity for not instigating smarter and more efficient means to secure funding. And I was annoyed that by not being efficient the charity made me look and feel like scum. The woman shrugged us off. She frowned and looked down on us from below. Its like we don’t want to give money even as we explained we cant.
What I wanted to say is that there are other more attention grabbing ways.
TV adverts, billboards and online ads are key to raising awareness but bucket drives in the middle of a town center to people who are clearly students just doesn’t make logistical or common sense.
Small fairs and events where charities can organise activities for all the family not only provided sunshine and happiness domestically but also internationally through funding.
Signing on recognisable and wealthy donors to rally their followers online and in person is surely the way to go. Celebrities help of their own accord. It is terrific self-promotion and great publicity for them but in turn great marketing for the charity.
All of the aforementioned processes and strategies are effective and efficient. They should be used more readily and frequently but instead charity workers who are sent on low yielding bucket drives hamper us.
My annoyance is not with the charity. My annoyance is that the charities have yet to figure out the best way to market themselves.