Red Cross Cancelling

Mrsdave is a regular volunteer for the Red Cross Telecross program, where she phones someone each day for a month to help people who are at risk of suffering from social isolation. Because of this she was approached to participate in the Red Cross Calling appeal this March and was psyching herself up to go door knocking. Today she received a letter telling her that the appeal is cancelled.

The Red Cross has decided that in light of the enormous publicity surrounding the bushfire appeal there was a danger of causing confusion by holding another fundraiser so soon. I think they would also be cognisant of the fact that many people may not feel they have the capacity to give any more to charity as the economic climate becomes increasingly gloomy.

While the decision is understandable, and it is difficult to argue the case for proceeding with the regular appeal, I do worry about the consequences of this for Red Cross’ other programs. One of the points that Ross Gittins raised in his article last week is a fear that giving to a high profile charity like the bushfire appeal can reduce our giving to other charities. Right now we can see this in action as many people in northern Australia suffering from flooding, who may be in just as much difficulty as those who have suffered losses in the bushfires, have been largely ignored as the fires became a media juggernaught.

So what about all of the other programs that the Red Cross runs that may be short of funds because of the canceled appeal? I very much doubt that any left over funds from the bushfire appeal will be diverted to other projects after the PR disaster that followed similar actions after the Boxing Day Tsunami appeal. In this financial climate it’s not just individuals who are cutting back on their charitable giving, but businesses too. Those who do give will undoubtedly want to be associated with the bushfire appeal and the surrounding media, much as we are doing individuals.

Let’s make sure that we all remember that charity should not be a one off event, prompted only by disaster. Charitable giving or volunteering is a vital part of building better communities and a more equitable society.

5 thoughts on “Red Cross Cancelling

  1. Yeah, Dave, the reason they provided for the cancellation was that the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal was using up all their resources.

    I take that as meaning that they’re making truckloads out of it and don’t need to worry about regular annual appeals this year.

  2. “Let’s make sure that we all remember that charity should not be a one off event, prompted only by disaster. Charitable giving or volunteering is a vital part of building better communities and a more equitable society.”

    Good call Dave.

    Good on MrsDave too for actually volunteering to help our community, (specifically in your part of the world,) social isolation is a terrible thing.

    Its a pity that the media publicity may concentrate charitable giving to the bushfire victims when so many others will need it and may come up short. But you can’t blame people for that really, and its a pity the fire and flood disasters can’t be linked, at least as far as financial support goes.

    Because its massive disasters that really grab peoples attention. Its the destruction of communities, and the communities ability to then care for its members that really gets people in cases like the fires, tsunami’s and even floods. (I live near Kyogle, and after the floods last year there were people from Tamworth turning up with clothing and other donations months later, cos they recognised the scale of that flood – it was one of the biggest ever round here, tho its paled into insignificance lately.)

    If the community gets hammered it needs help from the larger national, and possibly world community.

    Its a pity people can’t see the everyday hammering that happens in every community and contribute more to the sort of worthiness MrsDave is involved in when the fires aren’t in the news.

  3. Thanks Jules, I agree that a special effort is required when large scale disasters occur, I wish that we could harness more of that enthusiasm and turn it into long term community involvement though.

    Mrsdave has found the Telecross program very rewarding. It’s easy too, one phone call between 8 and 9 every morning to the same person for a month and then you get a month off and a new person to call the following month.

    A great program, that I wish more people participated in.

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