Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The Big Give - Did you see it?
I'm going to admit that I like Oprah. I really believe that Oprah is a transformational individual. She has tremendous influence and damn if she doesn't use it for good. I even bought her magazine the other day and read an editorial in which she talked about her relationship with money. She was paid .50 an hour in her first job as a preteen. Now she raises and gives away (and makes) millions of dollars. Wow.
But I still struggle with the gloss she puts on her social change message. I was kind of excited to watch The Big Give because I actually believe that fundraising (which to me is more about facilitating the giving of resources, support and community) helps not only the person(s)/agency that receives it but the giver as well. Maybe it's because I am enough of a realist to know that the government will never provide what is needed in each unique community. Maybe it is because when I give to an organization, campaign or issue that I feel strongly about, I know it will make a difference. I've been behind the scenes and I know that every dollar counts.
So anyway, I like it when people encourage giving. And I like it when prominent individuals encourage everyday citizens to not only write a check but strategize and ask other people to give. But The Big Give? It felt icky. This review from blogHer sums up a lot of what I was thinking. Giving the contestants a challenge to find a complete stranger in a huge city is a waste of time if you are just trying to fundraise, obviously.
I still love Oprah and of course, the individuals involved need the help and deserve it. But really, I think The Big Give perpetuates the myth that in order to actually make a difference through fundraising you have to know someone like Oprah. You don't.
That said, if you have a connection to Oprah - give me a call. We'd love to have her at Safety In Numbers 2008. ;)