More and more, charity work is being evaluated in terms of the impact that is made. Rather than focusing solely on the monetary value of a project, attention is paid to the change that is made as a result. We at whatCharity are big advocates of any charity work that strives to make deep and impactful changes for beneficiaries, this is surely money well spent. What must also be considered though, is the wider impacts of charity events on the surrounding and associated social and ecological environments.
Most Brits agree that charitable fundraising events are tremendously important and valuable, not only because of the money and awareness each event can raise, but also the wide-spread sense of community that comes with it. The helper’s high feeling that volunteers know and love is only exaggerated when the act of helping involves the coming together of like-minded people. The impact of these events on volunteers and beneficiaries are well documented, yet the consequential impacts of these events is an equally important but often neglected factor.
Events will always create a certain amount of waste, which requires the use of transportation and resources. The benefits of any event must be weighted against its cost (monetary or not). For instance, if the use value of green T shirt for an environmental charity event is merely to be worn at the event and then thrown away, does the cost of labour, money and resources that were necessary to produce and ship the t-shirt match up with the ethos of the event? Was the cost worth it?
As well as this, although charities that organise mass events such as marathons or other outdoor activities will usually have recycling partners to collect waste, this does not change the volume of waste generated, or the fact that most of it is non-reusable.
Being aware of the necessary balance between cost and benefit is a worthy factor to take into consideration when taking part in any charitable event. With smaller outdoor fundraising events slowly becoming a part of our new normal in the UK, you might ask yourself the following questions the next time you sign up to a fundraising event:
- Is the initiative I am a part of inclusive to the community in which is is situated? Has the charity let the local community know it is going on?
- Park spaces are being used more and more for outdoor events – who is doing the clean up and are they a reputable organisation?
- Is the charity buying its event materials from sustainable vendors?
- Is it necessary to get a T-shirt for the event or is it optional? If it is optional, do you really need the T shirt?
The amount of resources that are poured into the makings of pop up events and one-off projects is a valid and important factor for consideration for the sector, but it also demands evaluation by the public. If a charity is running events that are neglectful of its consequential impacts and they are held to account by members of the public as a result, it is in the charity’s interest to change their ways in order to cater to the interests of their supporters. In today’s ever evolving society, being conscious about the societal and environmental impact of an event – and being inquisitive if the event organisers are not conscious about these things – is a necessary duty for all citizens to undertake when deciding how to engage in fundraising events.