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ONE YEAR ON

Being reminded by Blue Frog that the website has been in existence for more than a year, it is interesting to look back at the charity appeals that have been received during that time.  All are attempting to relieve the suffering caused by:

 

·             Man’s inhumanity to man, for example torture, rape, genocide, fall out from armed conflict including use of child soldiers

·             Man’s inhumanity to animals, dancing bears, deserted dogs, overworked donkeys

·             Effects of natural disasters including earthquake, flood, hurricane

·             Disablement such as blindness, amputation (man’s inhumanity again)

·             A range of birth defects including learning disability

·             Diseases too numerous to list but including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, motor-neurone disease, AIDS, Parkinsons

·             Homelessness, displacement, hunger and lack of access to clean water.

 

Wherever there is a need a charity exists to try to do something about it.

 

Contributors to the site have from time to time complained about such practices as the mailing of incentives; disguising appeals as questionnaires; cost of mailshots (for example the use of too much paper); environmental impact (non biodegradable window envelopes); and the overuse of competitions.  Having spent a year looking at these documents one could be suffering from donor fatigue or what is sometimes called compassion fatigue.  The overwhelming sensation which I have experienced though is one of horror, horror that there is a need in the 21st century for charitable activity of any kind.  The conclusion I have reached is a very simple one that the only way to judge a charity appeal is to ask two questions:

Is the charity fulfilling a necessary purpose? 

Is it a purpose that I feel sufficiently strongly about to support? 

Why should we be offended by what, if we look at the bigger picture, are in reality trivialities.  Every charity is run by a group of people who, in my experience, are genuinely concerned to make an impact by reducing the level of suffering which exists in the world.  Those people are all like me and from time to time display human frailties. If those frailties manifest as practices with which we do not always agree I do not think that castigation is the correct response.  We don’t need to feel angry or embarrassed or guilty.  I certainly feel only gratitude that there is another side to human nature. 

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