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Old 2006-05-08, 07:47 PM   #1
wobbling bear
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charity and social acitivity (such as unicycling)

I am very surprised by this tendency to mix events for <pick up your favorite activity here> and charity.
Is there a special reason for that? how does it work?
Thre main reason for my question is that in my (big international) company they just seem to think that charity is the base for social interaction and we (I mean my team and I) constantly refuse to oblige.
Are we wrong? Do you think our behaviour could be judged severely? or does nobody understand why we refuse to do that?
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Old 2006-05-08, 09:00 PM   #2
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Are you saying that unicycling for a charity is wrong?
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Old 2006-05-08, 09:16 PM   #3
JJuggle
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I think the questions of why many participate in unicycling events for charity and whether one should participate in corporately sponsored charity are two separate ones.

There is no single answer to the first and I don't think it goes to the heart of your comment. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

I also work for a big company and I do not participate either in corporate charity events. We have what is called the Global Days of Caring where working at soup kitchens, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, etc are arranged. I don't doubt that there is an element of the company actually wanting to be a good "corporate citizen". But I prefer to do my charitable works and volunteering privately or in association with my congregation. I will occasionally give money, as with tsunami or hurricane relief, through my company when they are matching it, i.e. my $50 donation is doubled to $100 by the company's matching program.

Charity for many big companies is in large part part of their public relations campaigns and that rubs me the wrong way.

So, no, I don't think you are wrong to refuse to oblige. I'm sure you try to make the world a better place in your own way.
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Old 2006-05-09, 07:58 AM   #4
wobbling bear
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JJUgle is right there are 2 different questions:
- one is challenge for charity (not saying it is wrong just saying I am not accustomed to that and that it sounds utterly strange to me: I just do not understand neither the motives nor how it works. That may sound a strange question to many of you because it sounds like something that goes without saying but this is a world-wide forum and you must understand that in some parts of the world challenge for charity is not an obvious thing to do)
- the other is corporate charity (an oxymoron?)

Let's start with an example.
A member of this forum came with a good idea: an unicycling challenge for one's 60th birthday.
I like this "coming of age" ceremony idea! (not unheard of before: my own father climbed two 4000+m mountains for his 60th birthday).
I could set up a challenge for me and that would remain in the family's memory (slightly nutty grandPa).
I could also post on R.S.U and get friendly support.
Being as vainglorious as any I could go further and get my pic in my company's newspaper. The only thing to do would be to do the thing in support of computer litteracy amongst Papuan highlanders!
(every month dozen of employees do such things)...
- If I ever do that I will loose the consideration of my friends Do you dare understand why?-
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Old 2006-05-09, 09:45 AM   #5
samia
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I agree to some extent with JJuggle and his view of corporate charity; I understand the almost sinister feeling you get when a large company "does the right thing" and organises charity events when truthfully(?) they are improving their public image (I would add that probably doesn't apply to allll companies). And being a part of that agenda can be against one's principles.

However, doesn't the fact that a good cause is also being served mean you could morally still take part? In the end, the charity still wins? So what if the company also boosts it's image - boo sucks to them and may the people who organised the event just so they could look good go to their own personal hell.
But the charity still benefits. I guess you have to ask yourself if the end justifies the means.

In answering wobbling bear and the whole challenge for charity thing, here are two thoughts:

In the UK, at least, there are an awful lot of charities constantly asking for donations - tv ads, street volunteers, door-to-door, junk mail, posters, even tv series, and then the big tv events that happen every year, like Children in Need, and Comic Relief (who does a 'Red Nose Day' every other year with Sport Relief in the intervening years). These tv shows probably cost about £1 million to produce, but of course most of it is done for free - all the cameramen, set builders, directors, make-up, presentors etc probably do it for free, forming their donation to the charity.
Now there is obviously a lot of competition between the charities - so to up their profiles, they get the public involved. And after that its all about incentives, which explains the celebrity involvement (Uk worship celebrities). For example after you complete your mile in London for Sport Relief, there's an afternoon of live music and entertainment to watch for free.

secondly.
To just give money to a charity feels good, but I'm just one person. What if I can convince others to part with their money? Instead of just going to people and saying, 'please donate', I can say: 'if I unicycle for a mile and you get to watch, would you donate?'.
For the people who challenge themselves for charity - like running or climbing or even car washing, in a way gives them a real motivational altruistic boost - "I'm not just running this marathon for me - I'm running it for the suffering people in <pick country>" - to not complete the challenge is to let down those people (and those who don't believe in altruism, let down your own morality, which feels bad).
In another way, you could almost say that through your suffering in completing a challenge, you can undrstand on some level to suffering of those you are trying to help. (though I don't think anyone who hasn't been through it can even remotely compare it)
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Old 2006-05-09, 10:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wobbling bear
Do you dare understand why?
I'm not sure I do.
Dare or understand.

I've always held true charity to be annonymous and regularly choke on some of the charity drives I hear on radio where the interviews with recipients are staged to the point where crying is almost guaranteed. In 2004, Highveld Stereo's 'Xmas Wish List' was actually sponsored by a company manufacturing facial tissues who also handed them out at traffic lights in the city.
That is not charity.
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Old 2006-05-09, 11:04 AM   #7
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thanks Samia for answering
Quote:
Originally Posted by GILD
That is not charity.
for sure
at the opposite I can approve naturally of events I do not consider as "charity": playing music at an house for the elderly, playing unibasket with people on wheelchair.... those are not charity those are plain fun! we play because we *love* those people and their willingness to participate: that is sheer joy!
In those case I would have no qualms on my own motives (alas I do not play uni-basket but I support those who do).
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Old 2006-05-09, 12:22 PM   #8
BillyTheMountain
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unicycling through Papua New Guinea

Quote:
Originally Posted by wobbling bear
I could go further and get my pic in my company's newspaper. The only thing to do would be to do the thing in support of computer litteracy amongst Papuan highlanders!
(every month dozen of employees do such things)...
- If I ever do that I will loose the consideration of my friends Do you dare understand why?-
Walks for the March of Dimes, Century Bike Rides for charity, and many of the international unicycle tours add on a charity component, like Laos Unicycle Tour made money for a specific Laos charity.

It works this way: You as a rider get to tell everyone that you're going to ride 700 miles thru Laos for charity, and you'd like people to pledge, say a penny or a nickel or a quarter a mile that you successfully ride.

Somehow, this is more fun and acceptable than just going up to co-workers and friends, asking them for $$ to support computer literacy amongst Papuan highlanders.

You're co-workers will be fascinated by the fact that you are
unicycling through Papua New Guinea, and to support your efforts, they'll cough up the dough.

How's that?

When walking for breast cancer, biking for leukemia, it often helps to add: My [mom, sister, etc] had [leukemia, breast cancer, etc.], which personalizes it more. I personally struggle with computer literacy, and I know the deep despair these folk must feel....

I leave a can out in the locker room at WalMart (I was trying to get the cashiers to take the cans) which say: Donations for Billy's Mountain Uni. I've gotten some spare change so far.

But if I got all of you to tell everyone about the big RIDE for donations for Billy's MUni, well, you can imagine the response. He's a poor WalMart stock boy, and he rides a standard Coker, and he's always dreamed of a MUni....
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