The ALS ice bucket challenge so far has been the most successful marketing/fund raising campaign by a non-profit in recent memory.  It has all the element of a “dream campaign”:  It caught on globally.  It went viral on the internet.  It got a lot, make that A LOT of people talking about a disease that was previously relatively unknown.  AND, it raised raised more money than anybody expected.

Not surprising, there are those who did not like the campaign.  Many for good reasons:

Some felt it was too gimmicky.

Yes, I can see that.

Some feel that it promotes a sense of false charity – that by dumping a bucket of water on their heads, people feel that they have done a “charitable act”.

Got a point there.

Others object to the fact that the campaign wastes a valuable resource in many parts of the world – clean, drinkable water.

Although not as strong an argument (in my opinion), but there is some validity there.

And, lately it seems more and more people are objecting to the campaign, or raising an eyebrow when talking about it, because it is raising too much money.  Much more than the original target.

Excuse me?

This one, I don’t get.

I am reading posts on social media (FB, twitter, etc) that says “ALS has raised enough money and awareness with this campaign.  It’s time to give money to other charities.”  Others do some “research” and come up with the old “ALS only spends x% of their funds on research while y% is spent on fundraising and overhead”, implying people should stop giving money to them because their donation won’t go towards “helping people”.  This is another giant myth about charities that I LOVE to talk to people about, but that’s not the point I want to make today.  For that, listen to Dan Pollotta’s awesome TED talk who presented the argument against the “they spend too much on overhead” myth better than anyone I have heard.

But today, I want to focus on one question:  Why do we feel a need to punish a charity for being “too successful”?

We never do it to for profit companies (“Son, tomorrow we are going to start drinking Pepsi, because Coke is making too much money”).  Why would we say things like “We believe ALS has generated enough money and awareness already…”  Have you ever heard anyone say the same thing about cancer research, or AIDS relief, or world-hunger programs?

It is not my intention to preach a sermon here.  I simply want to point out one simple fact:  Everywhere we turn in the world today we see HUGE problems.  We see GIANT sized issues.  These are the issues that many, many charities take on to hopefully solve.  We need to get rid of this attitude that says “Be suspicious whenever a charity raises too much money.”  Yes, ask question about transparency.  Yes, do research to see how a charity operates.  But don’t clip its wings by saying things like “They have raised too much money already.”  We have Goliath sized problems in the world.  Charities go up against them, sometimes hopelessly outsized like David.  Let us not go and make the fight even tougher by taking away the stones.

A final point:  Some people have  encouraged others to do the ice-bucket challenge and donate the money to other worthy causes.  It is not my intention to criticize them here.  They made the suggestions out of a spirit of good will and we all know we need more of that in the world.  But consider this:

Your church started a fund-raising campaign to pay for a new program.  You designed a kick-ass poster that for sure will motivate people to give.  You put up the posters all over the place.  If I go to your posters, and where it says on the poster “make your donation to ABC church”, I put a giant sticker over it with the name of my organization instead.  How would that make you feel?

I wrote this post because it is my conviction that in order to begin solving these huge problems in our communities, we need people to work together:  business sector, charities, churches, temples, etc.  In fact, that is the one part of my job that I am most passionate about.   But working together is not as easy as it sounds.  The first step towards building that kind of environment is an honest spirit that respects and honours the work done by others and what they bring to the table.

Ok.  End of rant.  Now back to 0ur regular programming :-)

 

 

 

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RIP, Robin Williams…

August 12, 2014

These days, with the manuscript of my new book completed and handed over to the capable hands of the editor and designer, I have been feeling a little more relaxed.  So tonight after dinner the Lam Clan decided to go for a little coffee and cookie run.  On the way home, we remembered we had run out of cold cuts to pack sandwiches for lunch.  My older daughter, ever the opportunist, seized the moment and suggested, “Can I have pizza for lunch tomorrow?”

We stopped by a pizza place close to home.  I went out to grab a slice for my girl to pack for lunch.  When I got back to the car, my wife looked up from her phone with this expression that tells me something was wrong.  Before I could ask, she said: “Robin Williams died.  Depression.  Suicide.”

Her words stopped me dead in my tracks.  As  I have battled depression over the last 10 years, every time I hear news of someone with depression or another form of mental illness committing suicide, I feel a deep sense of loss.  I feel as though I have lost another comrade in battle.   Today, the battle took another one from us.

Mr. Williams, you took the fight as far as you could.  You have fought well.  You bore the wounds and scars while you gave us laughter and joy.  Now it is our turn to continue the battle.  May you now rest in God’s peace.

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Long time no post!

August 5, 2014

It has been a couple of months since my last post.  In addition to the usual craziness of summer with 2 young kids and a vacation in the middle, I have been spending most of my “spare time” working on my book which hopefully will come out soon!!  I have completed the manuscript, and now it [...]

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Lessons learned from the Provincial Election

June 13, 2014

Another Provincial election came and went.  Like many people I talked to, although I voted, I didn’t really have a strong “rooting interest” this time around.  None of the campaigns were particularly well run (in my own very humble opinion), and each party leader have issues with them that cause me to raise an eyebrow. [...]

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給十年後的我 (For me…10 years later)

April 30, 2014

I have shared with some of you that I am working on a book on how my journey with depression has changed me and given me a new faith.  So far it has been a truly rewarding process working with my friend and therapist of many years.  She (who is a writer herself)  encouraged me [...]

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For my friend

March 30, 2014

20 years ago, when I was going through a painful time in my life, I decided to run my first marathon.  I wasn’t really a runner, I just needed to prove to myself that I can conquer anything that I set my mind to.   I was determined to look the 42.195 km course in [...]

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The golf clap

February 20, 2014

I have always hated the “golf clap”. You know, the one where you gently tap the palm of one hand with the fingers of another…so named because apparently some dude made up a rule that says it is not polite or “cultured” to clap loudly on a country club golf course, even when one is [...]

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A lesson in homophobia

January 17, 2014

A few weeks ago I went out to lunch with 3 other good friends.  Four of us, 2 guys and 2 girls chatted up a storm like we normal do.  I can’t remember exactly how, but in one of the playful turns in our conversation, I made a verbal jab at the other guy, pretending [...]

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Prayers Needed This Weekend!

January 3, 2014

Hi friends! This weekend I am looking forward to speaking and singing at a retreat to a gathering of young volunteers for Across U-Hub.  I was invited to speak on the theme of creativity and volunteering.  Which are two ideas that I am absolutely passionate about.  Last couple of days, however, I have come down [...]

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Thanks Everyone!!!

December 15, 2013

We had an awesome time on Saturday night!  Despite the snow and the cold, many of you battled the weather and came out for the show.   Even though it was a smaller, more intimate show, it took a small army of people to make it happen.  Thanks to Design Girl Sarah for the beautiful poster, [...]

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