Filed under: Comment
So a long time ago – a very long time ago – I wrote a post about the illusion of compassion, more specifically, how some companies claim they want to help the disadvantaged but act in ways that makes you question that claim.
This isn’t an anti-capitalist rant, as I’ve said a lot of times, money isn’t evil – it can make amazingly good things happen – the issue is always how you made it and what you do with it.
However I recently came across an issue of Bloomberg magazine that surprised me.
Sure, the front cover – and main story – was about India’s poor, however of the 105 pages in the magazine, there was a total of 10 full page [some, double page spreads] ads for charities.
Now 10 ads for charities in a magazine of over 100+ pages doesn’t seem a lot does it … but when you remember that there are only about 30 odd pages dedicated to advertising, you realise that approx 1/3 of all the ads in that edition of the magazine came from charities asking for money.
We saw ads about planting trees … helping the hungry … stopping malnutrition … saving the planet … making medicines available to all … you name it, we got it.
Now I have no beef with charitable organisations advertising for donations, even in highly expensive business magazines like Bloomberg, I’m more interested in why they all felt this edition was the right edition to be in, after all :
1. I buy the magazine regularly and rarely see that many charitable ads.
2. Going into an edition with so many ‘competitor’ organizations adds even more barriers to getting donations, that is unless you’re one of the ‘flavour of the month’ charities.
I’m assuming the reasons cover issues including:
1. Bloomberg offered special rates.
2. It’s approaching Christmas, a great ‘donation giving’ time.
3. Many of the organisations are supported by big business & this is their way of being seen to ‘help’.
4. Some of the organizations are more associated with political purposes than charitable.
But why didn’t the charities – and Bloomberg – get together and do something a bit more pro-active?
Why didn’t they do a story on the importance of charities and create one, all-encompassing and simple way to donate?
Why didn’t the charities say that for that edition, any donation would be equally split amongst all of them?
Why didn’t the charities ask for help that went beyond money but instead services, advice, infrastructure or distribution?
Hell, why didn’t Bloomberg say that for every copy of their magazine purchased, they would make a donation on their behalf?
I have my thoughts on why this didn’t happen, but it again highlights how too many charities  focus, at least in terms of their communication, on getting donations rather than getting help to accomplish their ultimate goal and  aren’t inventive enough in terms of getting donations or accomplishing their ultimate goal.
But then to be fair, those issues are not only limited to their industry and the reality is, they have probably shown more ingenuity in who/how to target their audience than 99% of mainstream advertising campaigns.
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