It seems that Summer is the time of year for well-meaning executives to get involved in charitable fundraising; leveraging their vast and often dependent contact list to subtly arm-twist a few shekels their way. The implicit message either way (give or not) being, “I’ll remember this”.

But there’s a new paradigm in fundraising these days: Achievement-for-money, e.g. walking 200 km for breast cancer, biking from Toronto to Montreal for prostate cancer, etc. I never quite understood this model for charity, i.e. where you have to actually do something to earn the other person’s contribution. It’s a strange psychology, that perhaps best appeals to the Protestant mentality of value-for-money – if I’m going to donate, I better see you sweat.

I always thought charity is something you did because the cause appealed to you and the person asking for the money could make a reasonable case for why his charity may be more deserving than others. I suppose that the idea of using an athletic event – the more grueling the better – is a way of proving your commitment to your charity, but as Mr. Italo often likes to say, “I just don’t get it”.

Frankly, it seems like a huge waste of time. I’d much rather if the solicitor of the funds actually went and worked directly with the poor and underprivileged rather than doing some event that he actually likes. How about a message like this: “Please sponsor my 500 diaper change marathon at the nursing home”, or, “I’m soliciting funds for my 72 hour cooking event at the homeless shelter”.

But one of my contacts has taken it too far. This company president is asking for funds for his charity, in return for which he will play 50 holes of golf consecutively!!!! Horror of horrors, how grueling!

And of course, each year the events get tougher and tougher, the distances get longer, and more event types are added to the roster like some gladiatorial spectacle.

Personally, I’m waiting for the Eating for Anorexia charity, or the Sex for Sexual Dysfunction marathon – a couple of events I could really get into!