This is the text of an email I've just sent to Comic Relief:
Dear Sir or Madam,
Congratulations on the very successful campaign your charity has once again organised to aid the poor and needy, both in this country and abroad.
You’re probably aware of a fund raising campaign which involved various members of the blogging community in an effort to publish a collection of blog posts in book form. The idea was that authors who would not ordinarily expect to see themselves in print could do so and the proceeds would got Comic Releif [sic]. Both laudable aims, I’m sure you’ll agree. The details are here:
However, as part of the – as I’m sure you can imagine – lively (!) discussion surrounding this project, it was pointed out that the book, which retails at £8.95 (I believe) would only be generating roughly half that figure for your esteemed organisation once the various costs (and, again, I believe) profits had been stripped away. It was further pointed out – not by me, I hasten to add – that in purely pragmatic terms, it would perhaps have been better to ask those chosen to be published to shell out the full £8.95 by way of a thank you for the honour of being selected, so to speak, and to forgo the publishing of the book completely. It was thought that this figure, if donated by those who would otherwise have bought the book, could be generously rounded up to £10 and the proceeds going to CR would thus be more than doubled.
So, with just under a year to the next comic relief, I wondered what your Organisation’s views were on this – is it better for you that there’s some project or task associated to the fundraising, or can you (presumably) do more good works given more cash? I propose to spend the next year trying to organise something that will stimulate debate about the issues surrounding global inequality and the ways in which we can best target the (you may disagree with me here!) very large sums of money that are being raised for your projects so that they go to you, and organisations like yours. Like cats and dogs at Christmas, famine relief and aid are not just for Red Nose Day, I’m sure you’d agree. Whichever you decide - a campaign geared to harnessing direct donations or a print version that will reflect the discussion I intend to generate on the blogosphere - I will do my best to organise something over the next 11 months.
Whilst I have many personal reservations regarding the paraphernalia of Red Nose Day – e.g. the use of, in my view, obscenely remunerated presenters and cynical careerists to raise funds is ethically questionable, given the harrowing and ingrained nature of the problems we are dealing with here – I recognise that my view is very much the minority one and that your organisation’s infrastructure is well established and widely trusted.
To that end, I’d like to use the space I have created on the blog (100,000 plus over the last couple of years) to do two things. Firstly, to get people debating the issues surrounding the sort of inequalities that can see a man who is paid £6 million PA coaxing the average earning Briton to donate to alleviate the very real and tragic sufferings of those who are much less fortunate than *any* of us. Secondly, to raise money *solely* for your organization and not to the benefit of other businesses, egos or careers.
So, please get back to me on this. I figure it’s a win win situation. I’m sure people will respond to a similar idea as the Shaggy Blog Stories book, only we can cut out the middleman and (hopefully) raise a lot more money at the same time as generating interest in a subject close to us all.
Kind regards and good luck for the forthcoming year,
I think this could be a good thing to do. I have a vague idea of how you could use the many-tentacled nature of the web and the various (and incredible) talents and minds who congregate around certain less salubious parts of it to generate something that's actually a useful contribution to Comic Relief for a change, instead of the knee jerk, here's-your-feckin'-money-now-can-I-get-back-to-me-Westlfe-videos-in-peace approach. My idea would be to have a variety of posts on the theme of global inequality - factual, satirical, travelogue - whatever, as long as they bring something of interest to the party. You could pay to vote or to enter or something and just have donate button by the side if we could get C.R. involved to that extent. But that's as far as it goes, so I'm going to need a lot of help. So, if any of you have any ideas that will help raise both conscuousness *and* money they will be greatly welcomed.
L.U.V. on y'all,
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