Stoptober, Movember, Mecember? Charitable fundraising has become a self-centred affair

I want more effort than a moustache before I pay up

Share

You’ll have heard of Stoptober, a national health initiative in which smokers kick the habit during October and, in many cases, raise money for charity while doing so. You’re probably familiar with Movember too, since there’s no avoiding the goof in the office chortling about his “hilarious” new moustache that he hopes makes him look like a Mexican bandit, while pressing send on yet another “Please donate...” email.

Putting aside for a moment the benefits of giving money to save the donkeys/eradicate landmines/raise cancer awareness, you have to wonder whether pledging to not do something – whether it’s lighting  a fag or picking up a razor – really qualifies as an  act of charity.

Asking us to donate money in order that you can quit smoking is like saying “Give me some cash and I’ll stop punching myself in the face”. Quit, by all means, but don’t try kidding us that you’re doing anything other than giving up an expensive habit that might just kill you.

At this time of year I find myself inundated with missives from friends and colleagues staring bleakly at middle age and requesting that I open my wallet in support of their charitable health kick, or a new and exhausting regime involving sitting about and waiting for their face to sprout. “I’m going to look ridiculous,” the Movember disciple will chuckle. Really? Try  wearing an orange wig and lederhosen for a month and then we’ll talk.

When I think of fundraisers such as Eddie Izzard running 43 marathons with suppurating feet, or David Walliams gulping down the nation’s effluent while swimming the Thames, I genuinely marvel at the human capacity for endurance and altruism.

Of course it’s not just celebs doing great things. A fortnight ago my friend Zoe ran five kilometres for Cancer Research UK, despite already being undone with exhaustion from rallying round her mother who has terminal cancer. These are the deeds that prompt me to dig deep.

In recent years, however, charitable fundraising has become a curiously self-centred affair, in which the focus is frequently more on the fundraiser than those for whom they are raising the funds. The rise of online platforms such as JustGiving have made it easy – too easy, perhaps – for us to work loudly through our  mid-life crises.

You don’t need to go door to door rattling a tin and making a case for a donation. Now you just need a Facebook profile, some willing follicles and, hey presto, you are officially a Good Person.

So you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t shower  you with congratulations and cash at your  new-found facial hair, or when, after four weeks’ smoke-free, you find that not only has your vital capacity improved but your current account is looking pretty plump too. I’m all for a good cause, but if it’s sponsorship you’re after, you’ll have to put some effort in first.

Twitter: @FionaSturges

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Service Technician

£30000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...

Energy Sales Co-ordinator

£20000 - £25000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Energy Sales Consultant

£25000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...

Bid Writer – Energy Markets

£35000 Per Annum DOE: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Com...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Public sector workers march through Newcastle city centre as they take part in the one-day walkout as part of bitter disputes over pay, pensions, jobs and spending cuts  

The Government’s attitude to the civil service is breathtaking hypocrisy

Chris Blackhurst
Brazil fans are devastated while watching the first half on Copacabana Beach during the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final match between Brazil and Germany on July 8, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The winner advances to the final at the famed Maracana stadium.  

The response to Brazil's defeat has been a surreal exploration of loss and tragedy

Timothy Kennett
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil