People who raise money for charity are, almost be definition, well meaning souls. The trouble is, being pure of heart and noble of intention doesn’t prevent you from also being really, really stupid. And often when you’re really, really stupid, you’re going to end up offending a lot of people. Like, for instance:

Dressing Up As Disabled People For Charity!

Ramco Primary School in South Australia wanted to raise some money for a clinic in Bangladesh that repaired cleft lips and palates in children. At the same time, the school wanted to use this as an opportunity to get their kids to think a little bit about the experiences of disabled people, raising their awareness and generally doing good.

Absolutely no problems with any of that.

That was until the school decided to raise money with a fancy dress competition that would offer a prize for, ahem:  “best students dressed as a person with a disability”.

This did manage to raise some awareness, in that when the parents heard about it there was outrage, and pretty soon the story hit the paper. So… mission accomplished, I guess?

We just need to really, really hope they don’t try to do some sort of racial equality fundraiser…

Drink For Drunk Driving!

The trouble with giving to charity is it always makes you feel bad. Even if you’re donating to a good cause right now, there’s always that slight suspicion that you could be giving more. This is why many fundraisers try to combine the charity and awareness aspect of their work with something fun. Comic Relief raises money for charity by giving you a night of TV personalities and comedians who aren’t really doing their best work, but at least they’re trying. Band Aid raised money for charity with some music legends playing and Bob Geldoff swearing entertainingly on air.

So when you look at it that way, it’s not that surprising that when the Dori Slosberg Foundation were trying to raise awareness of the dangers of drink driving, they decided to combine it with a fun activity. You know what’s fun?

Drinking.

So it was that the Blue Martini Lounge in Boca Raton $20 got you entry and a free drink to the Dori Slosberg Foundation drink driving awareness fundraiser. As the pub landlord said: “We give back. Yes, we are a drinking establishment, but we are just as involved in the community as any other type of business. It’s a venue for them to meet, and it’s a social event, and they are collecting donations.”

Rival drink driving awareness group (can drink driving awareness groups be rivals?) were critical of the move, saying- “What a headline that would be if folks leave a MADD fundraiser and have DUI crash.”

The (Cough) Scientology (Cough) Anti-Drugs Fundraiser

In 2007 an event was organised in Hawaii to organise fundraising to for anti-drugs organisation Narconon. The event would feature big name starts such as Marie Presley and John Travolta alongside less big name starts like Brooke Shields and Matt Lauer. For the honour of attending the event you simply had to pay a $2,500 ticket. The event was expected to have roughly 1,000 people in attendance and it might have actually got that many if it wasn’t for one tiny bit of information. A piece of information that, with some foresight, Narconon had seen fit not to mention on any of their advertisements for the fundraiser.

Narconon is backed by Scientology.

A local Hawaiian newspaper had the investigative journalistic skills to Google the name of the “charity” and funnily enough, nobody actually turned up to the event…

Carol Ellison writes about charity sector jobs.

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