Raising awareness vs raising money

It’s been two weeks since Carrie Bickmore won the gold logie and used her acceptance speech to ‘get the nation talking about brain cancer’. ‘Whoever is on TV tomorrow, whack on a beanie’ she implored. She raised awareness for a worthy cause but how much money did she raise?

Her TV contemporaries all got behind the #beaniesforbraincancer campaign. Breakfast shows Today and Sunrise (from rival networks) posted photos of themselves in beanies to social media the next morning to show their support for the cause but neither Karl or Lisa, nor Sam or Kochie posted a link to the Cure Brain Cancer Website or the Royal Melbourne Hospital Neuroscience Foundation via their twitter accounts. Carrie thanked them for their support but a fundraising opportunity had been missed.

Last Friday I googled ‘brain cancer research’ and was directed to the ‘Cure Brain Cancer’ website which seemed to be affiliated with the #beaniesforbraincancer campaign. They had a figure on their home page of $4,749… ‘Could this be how much money Carrie’s #beaniesforbraincancer campaign has raised?’ I wondered. I called them to inquire. The lady who picked up the phone told me this figure was an indication of how many people had donated money through the website since Carrie’s Logies speech. ‘Really?!’ Carrie hijacks the Logies, leans on all her media pals to show their support for a good cause and less than $5K is raised? She could have passed a beanie around her table at the Logies and raised more than that!

I’m sure the precise amount raised is more than this. Carrie herself has pointed her Twitter followers to another website – The Royal Melbourne Hospital Neuroscience Foundation to make donations but the question remains, ‘how much more money could have been raised if the focus had been on people donating rather than simply taking a selfie of themselves in a beanie’? Raising awareness is not without merit but which causes are best served by this approach and which benefit more from old fashioned fundraising? An awareness campaign about heart disease, for example, would be appropriate, people may be encouraged to eat more heathily. Rosie Batty is a brilliant ambassador for Domestic violence and much of her work has been focussed on affecting social change by raising awareness of the issues. But what about brain cancer? What is the most effective way to fight it? By getting people talking about it or by funding research and support services to combat it? I suspect Carrie was hoping one would follow the other.

The problem is, increasingly, people seem to consider their participation in charities via social media is a donation in itself. Raising awareness is great but reaching into your pocket and making a donation is still the most effective way to be charitable. One of my friends grew a moustache last November but failed to raise any money for Movember. He claimed his intention was only to raise awareness for Men’s health but I suspect his real intention was to raise his profile as a charitable soul.

Cancer is the epidemic of our age. A heart breaking story like Carrie’s exists in almost every family. We need to fund research to find a cure and support people affected by Cancer with all the support and services we can afford. So, if you took a photo of yourself wearing a beanie after Carrie’s speech but didn’t donate – donate $10 here right now as punishment.

[picture credit: Channel 9 and abc.net.au]

What are your thoughts about raising awareness vs raising money? Leave a comment below…



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