I DECIDED early on that charity work will be central to the CogitoPR project.
My motives are entirely self-serving.
Certain things bring me unfiltered joy. My football team scoring a goal. My daughter reading a book. My wife giving me a break…
A more subtle warm-feeling generator is knowing I’ve carried out a genuinely charitable act. It is its own reward. Altruism as it is known by the academic elite.
I could (and would) serve soup, build huts and bandage cuts. But I’m crap at those things.
So instead I offer up my strong suit – writing.
Whenever I see a social media mate climbing a mountain, traversing terrain or shaving off their barnet, I offer to take their fundraising efforts to the next level.
With a photo and some brief details, I can explain why – even in these cash-strapped times – it’d be good to help top up their totaliser with a couple of quid.
Of course, it is always going to be down to them how much water they want their horses to drink. But the offer is always there.
I’ve also tried to work directly with salaried charity PR staff by offering them free comms support.
But I’ve found them to be mocha-quaffing, hyphenated-name sporting, thoroughly useless articles, too inept to even be organised enough to accept free professional help. Despite their own tragic levels of content output.
So I’ll just focus on the self-starters. Those passionate enough about their cause to book the time off work, raise cover prices for their venture, and then become intimately familiar with jumbo packs of blister plasters.
I’ve done ‘my bit’ over the years, often due to opportunities which came with being a reporter. I stood on top of the wing of an airborne plane once. True story.
But as a couple of my favourite childhood TV characters – the hilarious Smashie and Nicey (pictured above), brilliantly played by Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield – liked to say: I don’t like to talk about it.
I only make the point to underline my empathy with fundraisers. I get it. I get you. I’m not just a casual, side-line flag-waving observer.
Homelessness is the issue which moves me most. What a disgrace. A barometer of a genuinely gone-wrong society.
I have a visceral reaction to seeing rough sleepers. If I ever get to the stage where my family is comfortable enough that I can indulge my making-the-world better fantasy, I’ll start by fixing that problem. Properly.
But I can get upset-motivated by all sorts – Illnesses, cruelty to animals, food shortages and all other manner of societal ills. CogitoPR is an open church.
And on churches, I feel compelled to mention religion.
I am not religious and remain on the fence as to whether the organised major ones have been a net gain or loss for humanity.
But I’m always moved by their compassion for charity.
So away from debates and poxy wars over which mythical deity waved their magic wand at the dawn of time, I’d rather see all religions just double down on the ‘do charitable things’ doctrine.
And because that is rewarding in itself, eternal damnation need not be the stick.
If we could just get the government and industry onboard too we’d have the holy trinity.
Imagine if everyone in the UK could take a no-quibble, paid week off work every year to chuck themselves into charity work, using their own skill sets to make a really impactful difference.
Not to mention one which will remind them of their own humanity when their own self-doubt demons next rear their ugly heads.
Where’s the downside? No really – you tell me. Comments section below.
Anyway, away from my utopian vision, CogitoPR is here to help you if you help others.
Just drop me a line and then you can sit back and enjoy deserved recognition for your efforts as a few extra donations drop into your pot.