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

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nai or Oxi: whether Greece says Yes or No today its citizens will continue to struggle  

Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy

Rupert Cornwell
George Osborne likes to think of himself as the greatest political mind of his generation  

Budget 2015: It takes a lot of hard work to be as lucky as George Osborne

John Rentoul
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test