Donating to Charity
It's not just the way we engage with Africa that needs to change. Charity has become big business, but charities are not held to account by shareholders...
It was without a doubt the most challenging 48 hours of my life. It's our natural instant to talk and the mental energy it took to stop the words in my mind from escaping my mouth was exhausting. For the first few hours I felt it necessary to have tape over my mouth.
In August The Ice Bucket Challenge (IBC) well and truly took over social media, with a host of celebrities, business leaders and members of the general public jumping at the chance to film themselves pouring a bucket of ice cold water over themselves and making a donation to charity.
What is happening at the moment is almost a massed sheep like behaviour. Okay yes it is highlighting a terrible disease and raising funds. But ask yourself who is behind this and if you could follow it back to its source you would find a very clever advertising executive.
When it comes to my great passion, dementia, the UK's major charities - Alzheimer's Society, Alzheimer's Research UK and Dementia UK - are all becoming household names. Interestingly though, when my story of my dad's life with dementia was unknown, it was a charity hardly anyone in the dementia world talks about who showed most interest in me.
In a recent column by Oliver Burkeman on why profiting from giving isn't always bad, he said that "starving refugees care about food and shelter, not motives." In essence, doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is just as good as doing the right thing for the right reasons
This 'social experiment' leads us to the conclusion we're all total bastards. And I must be a bastard too, because when I see a man with a sandwich board rattling his unsanctioned charity tin without any clue as to which charity (if any) he is working for, I too would ignore him.
I've had it. I refuse to sponsor one more person to go skydiving, travel across South America collecting pictures of themselves patting wretched children on the head or drive a car across Europe in the name of the environment.
Pledging to give 10% might be the most important decision I will make in my life. Whatever else happens, I will save and elevate countless lives - the lives of those who most need my help. That's worth giving up a few lattes.
We are suffering from a lack of leadership, something the Victorians had in spades. By failing to give significantly, the new rich are failing to set an example and inspire those who will follow them. Government makes noises about encouraging more philanthropy but most politicians follow focus groups rather offer leadership...