Dry July is upon us once again — and it’s starting to piss off a few people.
I already know some of you aren’t going to like me for this…
But I also know there are many of you who, like me, are tired of being solicited for donations on Facebook every time Dry July rolls around.
Not only is it bloody annoying to be approached and asked for cash (don’t look at me like that, I know you’ve all tried to dodge a street collector before), but this kind of socially-driven charity campaigning is also the least inspiring.
Now, call me crazy, but I don’t feel the overwhelming desire to empty my wallet every time one of my friends decides to forego a few vodkas for the month of July
I don’t care how hard it was for you to grow that moustache for Movember, and I’m certainly not going to give you money just because you gave up sugar for a month or stopped wearing makeup.
There are people who do genuinely charitable things every single day — and they don’t ask their friends for money when they do.
Related content: Let’s rename every month with a sympathetic action. Go.
Social media charity campaigns can be great, but they also inspire a kind of “armchair activism” that facilitate movements like #nomakeupselfie and the ice bucket challenge — fleeting phenomenons that realistically do very little to actually help people.
Most of the “sacrifices” my Facebook friends make are totally symbolic. We all know what happens on that first weekend of August after a Dry July, amirite? (*Cough* BINGE FEST.)
For some, it seems Dry July is little more than an excuse to give up something you already know is bad for you.
These kind of celebrity-fronted campaigns also breed a kind of apathy and ignorance that don’t encourage people to investigate the charities to which they are donating or the atrocities they wish to correct. (How many people even remember the charity that benefited from the ice bucket challenge? Anybody?)
Related content: I got tricked into sponsoring an African child.
If a friend came to me and said she was donating a kidney or volunteering at a women’s shelter in India, hell yes, I would be on board. But I can’t help but be skeptical when confronted with on-trend do-gooders swept up in the brilliance of a social media marketing campaign.
Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe giving to charity is a non-negotiable responsibility of wage-earning Australians.
But I am also aware every person has their political priorities, and therefore would be hesitant to ask others for money to support the charities I believe in.
While some feel passionately about rehabilitating drug users, others would rather sponsor an endangered species. The person beside you could be donating to fistula clinics, while your coffee guy prefers the Make A Wish foundation.
Seriously — LOOK at this register of charity events. There is a day, a week, a month, a charity for absolutely everything and you can’t possibly give to them all.
This is why it is so important we do our research and give frequently and generously to a cause that resonates with us, individually. If we all gave to a cause we cared about — and I can guarantee you will find something — your charitable efforts are less likely to die out after 10 minutes of social media stardom.
No cause is objectively more worthy than another — but, for me (and probably for you) they each fall on a spectrum of your personal beliefs and interests.
There are endless opportunities to give, and sadly, I’m no longer reached by inane social media fads that become more about status and less about giving consistently and earnestly to causes that desperately need your help.
I don’t begrudge charities for seizing an opportunity to grab a few extra bucks — but I fear your time on my Facebook feed is limited.
What charities do you give to?