Charity, in and of itself is a great thing, people who 'have' give freely to those who 'have not'.
It's kind of like Robin Hood without the... Erm... Robbing, or the Hood, or the being peppered with arrows.
And you know, I, personally, have given the occasional grubby pound coin to pretty female students wandering around the town centre shaking their collecting boxes at me whilst they try to do something that their friends will consider worthwhile in their gap-year.
It was one of these ladies who introduced me to 'kitten boxing' Which sounds super-cute right? little fluffy kittens doing that thing with their paws which makes it look like they're boxing... Well, it's not that at all, it's all to do with people who go from town to town scanning the free papers for 'Free to a good home' kittens, 'adopting' a few then duct-taping them to their fists and beating the crap out of each other with them whilst videoing it on their stolen iPhones... Horrific, right?
I genuinely think so too, so can anyone explain to me why, during the entire time that she was describing it to me, I was actually putting my hand over my mouth to stop myself from bursting out into fits of laughter - Maybe I just couldn't get the cute kitten image out of my head, which mixed with her pretty graphic description, and her white-girl dreadlocks, short-circuited my brain.
Actually, it's probably because I'm a bad person. Yeah, that's probably it, thinking about it, all things considered.
I even watch Children in Need, every year, without fail. I mean, I turn over when someone says 'And here's a report from Lenny Henry' (Or whichever current star is thinking that their popularity might be fading slightly and has gone to Namibia to stay in a 5 star hotel on the proviso that when they're pretending to cry at a small African child covered in flies, there's an Apple Daiquiri just out of shot) just like everyone else does, and I've never actually given any money, and I don't know anyone who has. Although I've never asked any of my friends whether they've given any money - Most of the people that I know, that do work for charity usually advertise it pretty loudly.
I'm not saying that this is a bad thing at all, if you're trying to raise money, then it makes sense to let as many people as you can know about it. The more, quite literally, the merrier.
Which brings up that scourge of the office worker, the sinker of hearts, the chiller of bones... The sponsorship form. Now, I don't know about you, but the first thing I think when I see one of those is 'Please Gods, let it be for your kid's school.' Mainly because, you can usually get away with saying 'What's He/She doing?' so that you sound interested, then when you find out they're walking the perimeter of their school fields twenty-five times (If Michael Gove hadn't allowed them all to be sold off) Then you can just say 'Oh, great, here's a pound, just scribble my name down as paid whether he/she makes it or not. which makes you sound like a big-shot philanthropist, like Richard Branson or Warren Buffett
I do actually say He/She to the proud parent, because some of these modern names are just so androgynous aren't they? What sex would you say a child called 'Nevada', or 'Diamond' or 'Stuka' would be - (Obviously Stuka's a boy's name though, isn't it?)
It's an order of magnitude or two worse when it's actually the adult that's doing something. You ask the same question, but they say 'I'm bagging the Munros on a pogo stick', or 'I'm cycling the route of the Stockton to Darlington Railway dressed as Admiral Lord Nelson' or 'I'm strapping on a rucksack and jumping out of a perfectly serviceable aeroplane that's not even on fire or anything.' Then you look down the list of who's already pledged and notice that Brian from Accounting had done a tenner per peak, or Susie from Marketing has promised a fiver for every time they go over a man-hole cover.
I tend to say something like 'Can I give you a pound for every bin-liner they have to shovel you into if your 'chute doesn't open?' - I don't mean to, it's hardwired, like I've got sarcastic tourettes or something.
They look at you funny and reply 'It IS for Charity you know!' - Which I guess is a given really, it's about the only time that you'd get most people to just give you money, you couldn't come into the office one day and be all like:
Me: 'Will you sponsor me?'
You: 'Why, what're you doing?'
Me: 'I'm going to Antigua.'
You: 'What to do?'
Me: 'Nothing really, just sort of ponce about in the sun for a couple of weeks.'
You: 'You're not going to do anything difficult to sort of earn the money?'
Me: 'Erm.. Nope, although if I raise enough money I might swim with some baby stingrays, that's a bit dangerous, or climb Mount Obama or something.'
You: 'What's it all for?'
Me: [Staring meaningfully out of the window] 'I ask myself that all the time...'
You: 'No, I mean, what charity will you be donating the money to?'
Me: 'Um... No, sorry, you've lost me...'
You: 'The charity, which charity are you raising money for?'
You: 'When you go to Antigua!'
Me: 'Don't really think I'll have time to give money to charity, what with all the stingrays and the mountain climbing. I won't be going at all at this rate, not unless you hurry up and put your moniker on this bit of paper chop-chop. Everyone else is giving about £100.'
You: 'So, effectively, you just want us to fund your holiday?'
Me: 'Yes, pretty much - What are you doing with that staple remover? Now, don't be hasty! ARRAGHRRGAHH!'
Could you? It only has to work once I guess. Is it fraud? I wouldn't actually say that I was raising money for Charity.