Exploring Resilience via Lifes Burning Issues

Category: Charity

BAH-HUMBUG! Hating Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years

Whose a festive season turkey?

I think Scrooge McDuck said it all  “That silly season when everybody loves everybody else! A Curse on it!”…

BAH HUMBUG.. there I said it…. the holiday festive season makes me a BAH-HUMBUG person…. it is not because I don’t particularly like what each of the occasions means, I actually enjoy each specific day and the time with my family. The reason it makes me a BAH HUMBUG person is because of,

The outpouring of Bonhomie

Or should I say the outpouring of so much FAKE bonhomie… have you noticed the people who are complete nay sayers and grouches  suddenly become full of good cheer (or appear to be full of good cheer). How everyone suddenly has to find something nice to say about everyone else.. how people suddenly cut some slack for people they would not think twice about for the rest of the year…

What difference does it make?

I really have to question what difference it makes….. when so much of the bon homie appears so obviously strained and an effort. When so much of the effort is really about the retail experience and not really about the spirit of the events.

Does it make a difference to the people who are neglected for most of the year.. do those strained kind words really mean anything to them? Do the token contributions do anything practical for them, or do they just serve to highlight their status for the rest of the year?

Where does it go?

When the first week of January is over…. where has it all gone? How quickly do things revert to “normal”… how quickly do the little people suddenly mean very little again. If the sentiments expressed during the festive season meant anything at all how could this be?

Here’s a challenge I want to set for everyone….

Bank it for every day!

I want you to ration your bon homie for the festive season… I want you to examine the effort that you would usually make at this time, I want you to really think about how much of it you really have to work at…. and think, if you really have to work at it, is it genuine and is it worth it.

I want you to consider the investment you make, financially, emotionally and physically during the festive season and I want you to only do what feels completely 100% genuine and really from the heart during this festive season… and all of the energy, emotion and finances you would otherwise spend while “working at it” I want you to bank……

I want you to bank it NOW… and then I want you to SPEND it… but don’t spend it during the festive season… spend it during the rest of the year. Invest it in making a small but real difference EVERY DAY… use it to smile at someone who you might otherwise neglect, use it to buy someone a cup of coffee when they’re not expecting it, use it to make a donation to a charity outside of their traditional “appeal” times, use that energy, emotion and finance to make a small but REAL difference to people throughout the year…

make the whole year the festive season for all the RIGHT reasons  and help stop me being such a  BAH HUMBUG person…..

image credit – wishuponacupcake @flickr

The state of charity, cause related marketing and sustainability

charity, cause related marketing, corporate social responsibility, sustainabilityThe state of charity, cause marketing and sustainability – the start of the debate

I have recently been engaged in discussion with a national company regarding the issues of charity, cause marketing and sustainability.

It started with a post at the site Mumbrella dealing with a cause related marketing project that was undertaken by 1234 (a subsidiary of Sensis who are owned by Telstra). You can find the original Mumbrella post here.

I posted a comment because the story  struck a note with me.  What really caught my attention was the level of  return to the charity involved appearing to be out of proportion to the potential value of the use of their well deserved community image.

A great deal of commentary went back and forward between people on the site, including from members of the ad agency which produced the campaign, representatives of the charity involved in the campaign and representatives of 1234/Sensis. Some of this conversation was around the issues of what is cause related marketing vs sustainability vs corporate social responsibility and by default what constitutes charity.

I expressed my opinion as did quite a few others, with one of the consistent threads seeking some clarity about what the rationale behind the campaign.

In the comments I hope I was clear and transparent, and I declared my interest and the fact that I run another charity (which is the Samuel Morris Foundation if you are unfamiliar with me or this site).

A right of reply to 1234

Mumbrella provided 1234 an opportunity to respond directly with a quest post to set out the company position. An opportunity that they took up in the post why Sensis believes in the cause. You can make up your own mind about the quality of the “official” response from their communications manager.

Getting it right by the personal approach

What I found interesting and what I greatly appreciated was the personal response from Sensis’ head of sustainability.  Jillian reached out on a personal basis offering a direct line of contact and offering a discussion about the potential of undertaking a project with the Samuel Morris Foundation.

An exchange of emails and information took place and information about the Samuel Morris Foundation was circulated to the marketing teams  around the country within Sensis. The communication with the head of sustainability was friendly, efficient and very clear including explaining a number of items around Sensis’ strategic cycle in relation to choosing community partners etc.  [in the interests of full disclosure there is no project between the Samuel Morris Foundation and Sensis, this post is just my thoughts on the discussion]

A win or a loss?

I suppose it is a question around any debate, but I don’t think this is a win/loss situation.

Ultimately the original cause related marketing  charity partner appears happy with the outcome of the project. Sensis/1234 have taken some positive action in relation to assisting in a social issue and a senior member of their team has reached out to a potential new partner on a personal basis and has helped make a number of people within her business aware of the work of a charity that they may otherwise not have heard about.

So while there may be some debate about the original project and some of its elements the important point is that Sensis has shown a commitment to working with community partners, something which a lot more business’ should be doing.

I think that on many levels this overall discussion has been a win/win.

what about charity, cause related marketing and sustainability?

They are really interesting things to think about and a lot can and has been said. I think however that this RSAnimate clip featuring work by philosopher  Slavoj Zizek and his thoughts on the surprising ethical implications of charitable giving says way more, far more eloquently than I ever could…

so if you are interested in the concepts of charity, cause related marketing, corporate social responsibility and sustainability take 11 minutes out of your life to watch this…