Time for a brand new approach -- cut your arm off instead
I really do wish people would stop getting their heads shaved for cancer campaigns. I also wish small-town papers would cease running photos of them getting shorn, with the idea that those pictured, always grinning goofily, are making some sort of noble sacrifice.
The idea is that they are (I guess) showing some sort of solidarity with patients undergoing the rigors of chemotherapy – a process that often results in a temporary loss of hair. In the first place, you hardly ever see people getting chemo with big grins on their faces. Secondly, the fundraiser participants really are making no sacrifice at all, other than a slight compromise of vanity. So, you’ll look like a dope dealer or Elmer Fudd for a couple of weeks. So what?
The point is, aside from the fact it’s silly, is that cancer head-shaving is ‘old’. It has been done so many times that any impact it might once have had (and that’s dubious) has long since been lost. Hey, you want to make a gesture of impact, then why not lop off a limb in order to show solidarity with amputees? Or, consume a vast array of psychoactive drugs so that you can get an idea of what mental illness is about. You know, make a real sacrifice.
As it stands, the head-shaving thing today is about on a par with high school kids skipping lunch just to show their solidarity with Darfur famine victims.
Am I suggesting you should not, or I will not support certain charities (such as my particular favorite, the annual Hire the Morally Handicapped blitz) just because their fundraising campaigns are dumb, tired, clichéd or irritating? Of course not. All of the outfits you and I subscribe to and/or support are always desperately in need of support. I mean, I might say about certain cancer fundraisers, how come, considering the jillions of dollars of public support that have gone your way, how come there ain’t no cure yet? Huh? Well, hopefully there will be some day. Meanwhile, I keep on supporting. I support their campaigns even if I decry the way they go about it.
Those of you involved in charity fundraising or on the boards of non-profits know that raising needed bucks constitutes a tiresome, and sometimes even demeaning chore when you have to go door-to-door with cap in hand. You’re not even giving them Girl Scout cookies in return for their contributions.
Once, when I was still reporting, I went to a presentation by a woman who was an extremely successful fundraiser in a large Canadian city. Her primary point was that most charity drives think too small. What you have to do is offer major prizes as in incentive. Screw rinky-dink stuff like bake-sales, car-washes, or prizes worth a few bucks. Think biiiiiiiiiig and charge a whack for entry. Don’t just offer Hondas or Fords as car prizes, for example, offer Ferraris or Bentleys, and charge a lot for entry. People will pony up the cash. She knew. Her campaigns had worked.
A successful endeavor in recent years in raising hospital funds, for example, has been the house prize. Not just a cinderblock bungalow, but something manorial, and ask at least $100 per ticket. The cost of the house is minuscule compared with the bucks gleaned from those prepared to take the gamble – and there are lots who are.
You not only part with a mere C-note on the offchance of winning, you get to keep your hair and dignity.