Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Some musings on the Daily Mirror front page

Today, this was the Daily Mirror front page.

It could be a press ad for a charity. It’s strong, emotive and unflinching

But, it turns out that this is a photo from 2009. What’s more, it’s a US child. Crying because an earthworm wriggled away.

Opinion is torn. Is the Daily Mirror wrong to do this? Use an image that isn’t true to the situation?

The first reactions I saw on twitter were horror that this was the situation for children in the UK. Then praise for the Daily Mirror on the power of the front page.

Then a couple of tweets about the photo and where it came from. Then a few more tweets about this. Then the tweets where people stated they didn’t care that the photo wasn’t real, because the situation was.

I immediately thought about the charity sector and fundraising. As I often do.

I’ve been privileged enough to work as a fundraiser in the international development sector for almost ten years. I’ve witnessed the constant turmoil about images, authenticity, truth – the list is endless. I’ve heard the phrase poverty porn. I’ve blogged about the phrase poverty porn.

And I can’t help but question the response had the Daily Mirror been a front page of a child, facing extreme poverty in a country like the Democratic Republic of Congo? One of the poorest countries in the world, where children face horrors that I can’t even begin to think about.

And they used a photo of a child from a different country? A different year? A different situation? Somehow I think the reaction would be different.

And if an international development charity did this? I could almost write the headlines:

“International fat cat charities bamboozle public”

“Fury over lying photo”

“Spiralling web of lies at well-known organisations”

This is an interesting comment piece from The Guardian: "Perhaps it doesn't matter if the Daily Mirror's weeping child is a lie."
I have no answers, just questions and some musings. It made me think though. Never a bad thing.

Danielle Atkinson

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Be better, happier and more productive

I’ve had a few conversations with people recently, and the ‘blame’ word has popped up.

If there is one word that is guaranteed to get me riled, it’s this one. It has no place in the work environment. It creates tension, anger and breaks down relationships.

Take this scenario. You have a disgruntled supporter, they’ve been given incorrect information, and they’re getting more disgruntled. Someone is trying to sort this out and make them happy again. Then they ask ‘who can we blame for this?’ Not the supporter asking, the person trying to resolve the issue.

And I ask – really? You want to blame someone? Someone internally? So, you can feel better about a mistake you have made. The supporter doesn’t care. Just get on with sorting out the issue, making it better and making them happy.

I can guarantee you’ll feel better about the fact you’ve found a solution rather than creating a problem. You’ve achieved what you’re meant to do without the toxicity of blaming someone else. And the supporter will be happy too.

Then I remembered reading this – 18 things mentally strong people do:

It’s not always easy but apply this to your work life and you’ll be better, happier and more productive.

Go on, try it. Who else can you 'blame' but yourself if you don’t?

Danielle Atkinson

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Five things I love in fundraising*

*at the moment

So, it has come to our attention in Charity Chicks towers that our most popular blog post is '10 things I hate about fundraising.' It was actually only five in the end, 10 was too many to come up with.

It was written last year when dreaded phrases like ‘period of consultation’ and ‘transition’ were being thrown round. However that was then - and this is now. 

I am currently settled in a new job, working for an awesome charity, seeing exciting and great fundraising all through the sector. So I thought perhaps it was time to write a blog called ‘Five things I love about fundraising’ (lessons learned from last year – 10 is too many).

And then, last month, something strange and incredible happened. So I decided to write a blog called ‘Five things I love in fundraising at the moment.’ 
1. #nomakeupselfies – wow – Where on earth did that come from? Well interestingly, not a charity! However Cancer Research UK raised £1 million in a day (and £8 million in total!!!).

Breast Cancer Campaign also saw a spike in donations and the most hits to its website in a day ever. There have been lots of blogs written about it since, but this one from Lisa Clavering is worth a read for the inside track. 

But how inspiring to see - not women without their make up on, that’s no big deal - but the public taking something and running with it.

I must admit when I first saw someone do a make up free selfie and put #cancerawareness I cynically rolled my eyes and asked 'how does that raise awareness?'. 

Then I saw more people do it and start putting instructions on how to donate. Then I it raised £1 million and I started to eat my words. Then I saw this on Breast Cancer Care’s Facebook page and the comments totally made me tear up, take my own selfie and text a donation. 

2. This from UNICEF USA is awesome, but only look at it on your mobile (I lasted 27 minutes. Not sure that is anything to feel proud about). 

3. Not strictly ‘at the moment’ - and more awareness than fundraising,  but Shelter is great on Buzzfeed

4. Not all donors give money – some give blood. And a couple of Friday’s ago I was greeted by the blood donors take over of Kings Cross station – great food for thought for where street fundraising can go. 

And much needed, as shockingly only 4% of the UK are active blood donors. As we well know, a face to face conversation is a great (the best??) way to get new donors. If you can, do click here and sign up. 

5. And finally………..this is a controversial one that has split the sector. 

I wouldn’t say I love it. In fact I am not even sure if I like it. But I do know I took notice in an incredibly crowded area of fundraising. 

And I kind of get it. I get the point they are making and I get where the lady in the advert is coming from. 

Is it upsetting to people who have lost someone to breast cancer? Undoubtedly. 

Is it insulting to the 1,000 women who lose their life every month  to the awful disease that is breast cancer? I imagine so.

But isn’t also shocking that survival rates in pancreatic cancer have barely moved in 20 years? Would it have got anywhere near the level of attention had they not gone for something so shocking? 

And don’t we argue in international sector that sometimes you have to shock? That its not 'poverty porn', it’s reality.

The young lady very sadly died in February but she stood by the advert and meant what she said. Is this not just her reality?     

Kathryn Brooke

To give to Pancreatic Cancer Action click here

To give to Breast Cancer Campaign click here

To give to Breast Cancer Care click here