As if any further evidence was needed that charity auctions and holiday festivals do very little to encourage philanthropy and sustained generosity, a recent editorial appearing in a regional business publication authored by an editor of the publication gave us more.
As Christmas approaches, there are numerous festivals which seek to raise funds for one charity or the other. I even like to attend the major such function that is in my community. To be honest, I attend it for the “spectacle” rather than the charity, however.
The article in question describes one such event. It begins by naming the festival and making a passing reference to the charitable effort that it benefits. The festival name is right but who it benefits is incorrect. Why it’s important isn’t even mentioned.
Never mind, as this is the last mention the article makes of either the organization or its benefits. The rest of the piece is devoted to extolling the festival’s virtues as an excellent venue at which to conduct business networking. About forty percent of the article is given over to name-dropping of one business executive or public official or another the author bumped into while there.
The finale of the piece? By making a “little effort” anyone can meet these decision makers. You, too, can do this! As Seth Godin said, such events are ultimately corrupting in that they deflect away from the philanthropic purpose and they give the illusion that people are being generous when they are not. Enough said.
Larry C. Johnson
M. E. Grace & Associates