Man About Town: Feel good for charity

 

Of all the invitations I am lucky enough to receive, around a quarter have something to do with charity. Be they fundraisers, dinners or auctions, this end of the charitable activities spectrum is usually the most comfortable.

Guests can feel good just by mingling and drinking the free champagne (usually provided by a sponsor). If they want to feel especially good about themselves, they can listen to the speech on the worthiness of whatever cause it is we’re noticing that evening. They might even get their photo taken.

I’ve seen one billionaire spend more than £20,000 on a table tennis lesson at a charity auction, and witnessed countless times the way a garrulous auctioneer, an eager spouse and a willing audience can push the nation’s plutocrats and captains of industry to pay over the odds for jewellery, art and exotic holidays all in the name of “charidee”.

The cigar-smoking media mogul Richard Desmond was on a stage in London this week as he helped launch the health lottery. The new game encourages us to buy tickets, with all the money going to health charities.

People always feel good about winning money, or trying to win money. And patrons such as Desmond can feel good that they’re raising money for charity in the warm glow of the public spotlight.

The same was true at the Serpentine Gallery last week. There, the Future Contemporaries party, brought together the group of under forties whose £1,000 per year each helps to finance the gallery and keep it free.

For that sum, members get to be part of an select (and very good looking) cadre of art-lovers with access to exclusive events and a glamorous party each year – almost as good as a member’s club.

A study earlier this month discovered that the average household in this country spends as much on cheese as we do on charity – 0.4 per cent of income, a number that has remained fairly static over the years.

In the meantime, a Barclay’s Wealth report survey concludes that better targeted philanthropy could save the UK tax payer £100bn a year.

Last week I wrote how big brands are cashing in on the cachet of cool, by aligning themselves with creative types and their work. The same could be true for charity givers. In the eyes of the party crowd, they never looked better.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn