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.

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

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

E150/2014 - English Language Checker (Grade B3)

On Application: Council of Europe: The European Court of Human Rights’s judgme...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?