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Will you pass the charity challenge?

My father took this photo during the eclipse in March this year. It wasn’t from his back garden; he shot the image from the deck of a luxurious cruise liner.

Let’s set aside my jealousy for the moment.

For me, it took a total eclipse of the sun to make clear the biggest mistake of the charity sector: we are approaching fundraising entirely wrong.

Let me set you a challenge. Go to any charity web site. Click on the link that explains how you can get involved to raise money. What is the image there? What are they asking you to do?

I can almost guarantee they want you to skydive, climb a mountain or run a marathon. (Try the first ones I typed into Google: Save the Children, Barnardos or RSPCA if you don’t believe me.) Now, I don’t know about you – but I am 36 and I don’t run marathons.

85% of the wealth in Britain is owned by the over-55s. How many of them are into extreme sports?

Which brings me back to my father and his cruise – where the most exertion he made was deciding whether he wanted to take the lift to the third floor 24-hour ice cream sundae bar or the fourth floor 24-hour all you can eat breakfast.

Not that I’m jealous. (Do you know they also have relaxing spas and famous authors speaking on these ships?)

Aren’t we approaching fundraising completely wrong if we are asking the people with the most wealth in the country, who also happen to be over-55 and willing to spend upwards of £6,000 on a cruise, to run marathons?

Some simple Maths shows that 1,000 people on a cruise x £6,000 = £6,000,000. And that’s just one cruise. These companies run thousands.

Now, I’m not knocking how people spend their disposable income (or my inheritance). I’m just saying: that is a lot of money.

There’s an old Hollywood quote, attributed to many people, that goes, “Give the people what they want and they’ll come.”

Well, I want the charities I work for to raise loads of money to help their causes and people over-55 don’t want to bungie-jump. It doesn’t take any Maths to see that we are pushing a formula that doesn’t work.

Jonathan Cook | | +44 (0)7921 250 211

Jonathan @Linkedin | Twitter @jonathan_m_cook

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