Charity Fundraising in the 90s

During my stint at hospital radio in the early 90s, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to be part of a small charity fundraising team. This position gave me the go ahead to raise much needed funds for the station as well as fundraising for the Paediatric Ward in the hospital that we were connected to. It’s one of those jobs that I adored. Accruing donations of teddy bears, film memorabilia and games consoles for the kids to be able to use making their stay in hospital a lot less frightening than they thought it would be was an absolute delight. There is nothing that feels just as good as seeing a child smile when you hand them a huge fluffy dog that you’ve been donated. So why don’t more companies get involved and do something nice for someone they don’t know or for small charity events?

small charity

These days it’s all about whether you fit their criteria or whether or not the PR company think it’s a good idea for them to help with charity fundraising. What happened to just doing something for someone because you think they’re an inspiration etc? Charity fundraising is hard work believe me, but when you get 1 company out of the 180 companies that you’ve written to that actually give you a break and donate something nice – it makes it all worthwhile. It’s not as if the donation has to be huge either. Being local to our hospital radio station at the time, a huge chocolate company would think nothing of donating a massive amount of chocolate for us to use on an charity fundraising outside broadcast, then another smaller local company would give us a small donation of a £10 voucher but both would be gratefully received and never moaned at as it all helped. They would get a tax break on the donation and the fundraising team could then go about their business getting donations to help fund licenses and suchlike for permission to play music to alleviate pain and suffering that many patients may have had. So why don’t more companies do this and help small charity causes? And more importantly why do some “companies” (said in the loosest of terms since all they really end up being are publicity hungry whores who lie and cheat their way round to get more and more Facebook followers with their make believe competitions and scams just so eventually they can turn all those likes into some black hat scam farm where they can bombard your wall with affiliate muck they’ve dug up from a deep dark corner of the underworld) think that pretending to give a donation will give them decent publicity. It won’t.

Charity fundraising

Charity Fundraising Scammers

In fact companies that do that are just scammers without conscience. Twice this week I’ve seen a so called company say that they will donate stuff to causes only to run away at full speed once the donations of support are matched to the dreamworld donation they have given from their make believe world as soon as they are asked to fulfil their obligation. It’s disgusting. If you promise a donation then give it. Don’t promise the small charity a donation it if you can’t deliver. I’ve donated to causes – AND put my money where my mouth is. The person may not have known that I had anything to do it, and I’ve seen the effect it’s had from afar and I’ll tell you what – it’s fantastic to know that your donation has done that. Your donation that may have paid for something longed for has given that person hope that someone actually cares. People do care. Scammers on the other hand, care for nothing but themselves. They go day by day trampling over people without giving them a second thought but I can guarantee that they’ll meet the same people on the way back down again when they have the doors slammed in their faces and then what will they do?? They can’t rely on goodwill then.

It does surprise me though. In the 90s, if you wanted a donation of an item you would write to the company who had a designated person who dealt with them. Nowadays you have to write to either a PR company or to the company via their social media pages. But the reply rate is about the same. 1 or 2 out of the 180 will help, won’t be big companies either. It’s nearly always the small, independent company that’s generous enough to help since they recognise the need in their communities. Smaller companies might sometimes be swept up in the hype in helping larger charities like Barnardos and Comic Relief but it’s the smaller charities that need the help so much more.

Charity Fundraising Eye Opener

charity fundraising corporate

Dating Andy (who at the time was a mobile DJ) gave me the opportunity to go to corporate events. Big lavish corporate events where the evenings entertainment norm was huge charity auctions. “A tour in a London Bus… £22,000…. £34,000… Going… going…. gone to XYZ of Mayfair….” We saw obscene amounts of money changing hands but what shocked me more than anything was the amount of money that the charity themselves spent on these events. £14,000 for a live band, £50,000 for a casino, £20,000 for a compare. Disgusting and obscene amounts of money to then pull in the equivalent in donations. Giving the donors £2,000 goody bags EACH when they left! I can tell you that you have never seen such pomp and frivolity for an evening of fundraising. Needless to say the charity who held these evenings never saw a donation off me again but it certainly opens up your eyes when you see these particular charity ads on TV claiming they have nothing, yet one of their “ball” evenings (which they have 4 per year at a top London hotel) would seem quite the opposite.

Moral of the story? Big companies: please try be fair on small charity fundraisers. Donate to feel good, not for the glory or publicity it can give you. And those that scam. Pay up or get knotted because if the shoe was on the other foot you’ll find me stamping on the bare one in my 5″ heels… you have been warned.