Marketing your Charity

Here’s how I see a charitable donation. It’s something you do to help others in need. It’s something you do when you can afford to do it. It’s something you keep to yourself. A heartwarming glow as it were. If you think others should donate, then you might share your thoughts and encourage them to contribute too.

Here’s what a charitable donation is not:

I just wrote about lipstick on a pig in another post. I can’t believe I have to use the term again to describe how people and businesses are marketing themselves off the back of others bad fortune. Claiming it “raises awareness” of something which the Media, Social or Old School has already done a good of awareness raising, is just a bullshit defence.

Call me a hater, call me what the hell you want. But if you want to donate to a charity, just do it, don’t promote yourself and your bloody business because you are.

Here’s the official link for the Queensland Floods Relief fund

Here’s one for Pakistan, which is still in strife because of the flooding there

Update: Seems like no-one ever learns, and with the recent disaster in Japan even international organisations like Bing have been sucked into this lame tactic.


12 thoughts on “Marketing your Charity

  1. Well-said. While we’re at it….

    What *is* the point of Twitter hashtags (a simple, widely-understood indexing tool) if anyone actually looking for relevant news/info has to wade through a 20:1 RT:original ratio to find something?

    How does the hysterical RTing / reworking “urgent alerts” from 4-8 hours earlier help anyone?

    I have two friends and a family member who lost houses up there this week. Twitter is the last place after (well, second last …after ACA/TT) they turned to for accurate & timely news. ABC AM-band radio + police/army/fire/SES/council folk was better anything Twitter could offer.

    I can’t believe that so many Twitter users had a go at Grant Denyer (et al) for ‘contrived drama’ and hyperbole. Twitter is THE “disaster pornography backchannel” of choice. As you’ve highlighted, it’s also vile disaster marketers’ wet-dream (no pun intended). At times like this, Twitter is like a TV station showing 95% repeated content interspersed with charity infomercials.

    Twitter: The echo chamber in the hall of mirrors. [sigh]

  2. Good opinion piece. Agree it is something you do because you are able and want to.

    Twitter should be treated with caution. I’ve found it brilliant for up to date facts from certain accounts eg QPS and Energex; equally full of hyperbole from certain outlets eg Courier Mail – trying to create headlines and sensationalise an already grave situation for its own purposes.

    Again, good piece.

  3. I agree! And I have to say I have been morally bankrupt in the past when it came to self promotion of my goods and services at the restaurant in order to get bums on seats I have used the misfortune of others. I have been guilty of it myself but twitter has become the highway of robbers of the misfortune of others for the glory of their own egos.

    • Dave, I disagree that “doing something” which may have a tangential benefit to you or your business is always wrong. The Underlying objective is always worthy, but putting conditions on the level of your donation based upon some benefit to you, is where I have the problem.

  4. Thanks for the post – you’ve raised something I was thinking about yesterday (ironically, while checking my twitter feed, but this is not a twitter bashing, I’m a general fan).

    Stop with the “10% of all proceeds go to [insert cause]”

    Encouraging people to buy your stuff (and then more of your stuff) is not charitable. Don’t pretend it is.
    Is it really so hard just to donate?

    • Lyrian, I love twitter, you’ll never find me bashing it. I love that people want to help, but I can’t see why that needs to be dependant on anything. I guess I eventually tipped over the edge last night with number of conditional donations out there, especially those which serve mainly, intentionally or otherwise, to derive a benefit for the supposed donating person or organisation.

  5. Pingback: Choosing Your Battles « Making Hay

  6. “Raising awareness” is a rather suspect form of activism. If you are not trying to achieve change (e.g. through donations, direct influence, etc.) then it seems a lot closer to self-promotion. Social Media slactivism has become a bit of a blight recently.

    • Andrew, your use of the term “self-promotion” is perfect. While, generally “self-promotion” is important, when it is surrounded by your charity work, it’s perfectly galling to me.
      But I don’t think this type of laziness is limited to Social Media. It’s more a mindset which many marketing people have rather than the tool or the medium in use.

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