Popular Ways Of Raising Money For Charity (And Their Hidden Downsides)

So there’s a cause you want to support. It doesn’t matter what that cause is. You could be raising money for starving children in the third world, or the cure for cancer, or a shelter for donkeys. The fact is the same methods of fundraising are open to all of us.

The trouble is, there’s a reason why these methods raise money. It’s because they can be truly terrible to organise and take part in. The reason why people ask you to sponsor them for doing something, rather than simply asking for money for a good cause, is because our desire to alleviate suffering is far outweighed by our desire to see suffering that we can feel okay laughing at.

This is why people will willingly give to a good cause if it means you will:

Arrange A Bring & Buy Sale

When it comes to raising money for charity this is the lowest difficulty setting. Just find a bunch of rubbish you don’t want, tell other people to bring along things they don’t want, and then keep swapping the things people don’t want for money until you have no rubbish and lots of money, which you then donate to your chosen cause.

Readers who have been following the text closely will have noticed the fatal flaw in this plan. It’s that crucial phrase “things they don’t want”. Yes, it’s true that one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure, but an awful lot of that man’s rubbish is also rubbish to everybody else.

This is even truer now that we live in a world with eBay and Cash Converters seemingly popping up on every street corner. People who want to get rid of something that someone else might actually want to buy are now far more likely to, well, sell it to them.

Run a Marathon

There are people in this world who are properly equipped to run a marathon- athletic people with a balanced diet who get plenty of exercise on a regular basis. For these people running a marathon is a challenge, but one that can be ultimately overcome.

This isn’t what people pay good sponsorship money for. If they’re going to sponsor you to a run a marathon, then it’s because they’re hoping for Run Fatboy, Run, only this time without the heart warming romantic comedy plotline.

You are going to get sweaty, you are going to get tired, you are going to get dehydrated, and blasters and a stitch and dear God you are going to get chaffing.

And that’s just the training. Then you have to run the actual marathon.

Shave Your Head

This is a particularly popular way to raise some cash for charity if you’ve got an excess of hair to begin with, and it will be a popular one, for the aforementioned reason of sadism. Most likely you will be shaved in front of all your sponsors, and many a laugh and a joke and picture on Facebook will be had.

The problem is that once you shave your head, it stays shaved. You’re going to have to wait for weeks, or maybe even months before your hair is even close to its previous levels of luxurious volume.

Except no, that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that people will keep telling you about it. Until your hair has returned to normal every single person you meet will observe that you’ve had your head shaved, as if maybe your hair was whisked away while you slept. Then, after that, you will get every single possible bald joke under the sun directed your way.

You have to ask yourself, however dedicated you are to your chosen cause, however much good the money you raise could do for others, is it really worth it?

Chris Farnell is a freelance writer who covers jobs in charities, entertainment and business. Next Comic Relief he’s planning to do a sponsored Just Continue My Life As Usual, Thanks.