I know having a go at people trying to raise money for charity is a sure fire way to incite hate, but some things just have to be said.
I’m fed up with people asking me to sponsor them to go do stuff that they want to do.
Paul wants me to donate money because him and his two best mates are going to do some cycling across China. Joe wants me to give him money because he’s going to spend the whole summer trekking African mountains. Fred wants money because he’s going to a hot place and doing a bit of white water rafting.
No, I’m not funding you to go on holiday. Even if the exceeds are going to charity. Stop using charities as an excuse to get money to go sky-diving. Then also stop creating Facebook groups just to subtly show off your adventure under this guise of modesty and generosity. Getting sponsored should be about pushing yourself to your limits. About taking yourself out of your comfort zone and doing something that you didn’t know you could, all for the sake of a worthy cause. Yet it seems that somewhere down the line this idea of ‘pushing yourself to the limit’ has become synonymous with doing a bit of exercise in another country. Going white-water rafting in France isn’t a wild feat, it’s a holiday, a holiday people pay to go on every year. Pay for it yourself you hack.
People receiving your emails about this incredible hardship are often sat in a London office 9-5. Their brief British summers spent glimpsing the sun over a pc monitor. You’re travelling around China. That’s amazing. I’d much sooner sponsor the person on the other end of your email who has to endure a summer in a call-centre trying to sell life insurance to newly made mothers.
And although the donations aren’t always used to fund these trips, I nonetheless remain un-inclined towards sponsoring someone to do something fun. Yes, no more asking for money to go do things that you find fun. We’ve got to put a stop to it now. It starts off with a cycling trip in India, then next thing you know, it’s ‘Hey… sponsor me, I’m going to party for 72 hours straight in Ibiza.’ Or ‘Hey… sponsor me, me and my friends are staying in and taking coke.’ No. I’m not sponsoring you to stay in and take coke.
Of course though I do realise that while staying in and taking coke is impressive to no-one, cycling foreign countries or trekking mountains does naturally sound like a nightmare to some people. For example, my mother would never in a million years go skydiving. Though if she did, I’d donate a lot of money and I’m sure lots of others would too since it would be such a terrible ordeal for her. But these people asking for money to go skydiving aren’t my mum, their often peers who’ve had a past predisposition towards bungee jumping.
But Sam… they are raising money for people who need it and can that ever be such a bad thing? Well done, excellent question. No, one would have to say it can’t be, and that does make me feel guilty for writing this. For even if somebody asked and did manage to raise money by staying in and taking coke, you’d still have to agree that they did a good thing for some people out there. If you can get sponsored for doing something that you’re doing, then perhaps you should always try to raise some money through it simply because you have the ability to.
The above holds true. Therefore I cannot morally disagree with what they are doing and really, I suppose I’m glad that they are doing it, that they are making a difference to those who need it. However I can still dislike them and think their Facebook pages are cringe.
So, I hereby open the floor to a new wave of sponsorships. One where we raise more money because we have to go through more hell to get it. I’m talking sponsoring people with vertigo to go skydiving, or getting claustrophobics to go potholing, or paying people with mild shellfish allergies to eat a bucket of prawns. Then put it on film. Put it all over facebook, make a movie, people love schadenfreude, BAM, it’s a hit! Send the proceeds to charity and save a whole country! (But I’ll keep some because it was my idea). Have you got any suggestions? Let’s make it happen.
To kick off proceedings:
This may be surprising to read about someone who is off to do a solo cycle around Italy (not for charity), but I’m scared of the dark. I’m not ashamed to admit it. My mum always told me it was because I’m a creative and special boy. For the right donation, I could be willing to find a forest in Italy and an old local who can tell me a whole load of ghost stories about it, then spend 3 nights in there on my own. Now I know to some people that might seem like nothing, but that’s essentially my worst nightmare. That or watching date movie again.
Or can you think of something else? I may be willing to do it for the right price and cause. Maybe I’ll pick one of these suggestions and put a donations bar somewhere on the blog, and go out and do it if the bar gets high enough.
So let’s hear some thoughts…