Friday, December 9

Charities, Class and Conscious Choices

Everybody's seen or heard about the waves PETA makes with their risqué ads at some point or another. I've never been impressed, so I wasn't particularly happy to hear that more charities are taking up their habit of use shock value to get attention.

I was going to write it off as just another example of charities failing to live up to the high standards they were once held to. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided it is actually an example of what happens when you reward the wrong behavior.

Like parents cultivating the habits and behaviors of their children by rewarding the good and purposefully ignoring the fits of child who wants candy in the checkout isle, Americans could choose to ignore uncouth marketing efforts and reward charities that comport themselves respectably with their donation dollars instead.

Marketers of all stripes would stop putting out racy, over-sexualized and vulgar ads if they failed to bring in traffic. God forbid we went so far as to pull current funding from organizations and businesses that run campaigns in bad taste, we'd see a complete clean-up of the market in record time!

This trend toward shock-value marketing says a lot about Americans... and not in a good way. Our youth embrace t-shirts that say "F**k Cancer" and the insanely annoying "I *heart* Boobies" bracelets because we haven't pushed and done the hard, long work in their early years to fight "socialization" trends that break down the concepts of class, good taste and modesty. Adults let the offenses pass, because we can't dredge up the time, energy or
indignation to fight them.

Let's take a stand, shall we? There's no need to cause a scene or to offend anyone at all. Just sift through your life as you live it and intentionally weed out the offensive, the crass and the disrespectful. Before you write a check or lay down your credit to buy something, ask yourself if the company or organization is living by standards and playing by rules that you are proud to be associated with. If the answer isn't a firm yes, walk away. Spend your money elsewhere.

In these tight days, when everyone is looking to stretch their resources - make your money count twice. Once, for the physical good done by the donation and again for the statement it makes about what we want to see our nation be. We can change the world, a dollar at a time. All we have to do is choose to.

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