From shop windows to faces across the country, the ubiquitous Red Nose has made its return
The last few weeks have seen a rise in the all too familiar red noses being sold in shops, accompanied by an uptake in celebrity stunts and advertising in aid of Comic Relief.
But what exactly is Red Nose Day about? Despite the huge amount of emphasis placed on people doing ‘something funny for money’, the heart of this humorous campaign is to help those who are in need in the UK and abroad. The organisation places the needs of vulnerable people at the heart of its projects – something which most aid agencies tend to do. What then makes Comic Relief so unique? Is it the fact that there is a huge fundraising push only once a year as opposed to all year round? Is it the use of celebrity stunts and entertainment to do this? Or is it the simple fact that the difference made to millions of people around the world is televised extensively? The truth is that these individual components, even when combined do not make the cause unique in terms of fundraising – after all Children in Need also use these methods once a year to raise money for their cause. What does separate Comic Relief from other charities is the need to ‘do something funny’.
Comic Relief’s mission is to ‘drive positive change through the power of entertainment’. While this is a clear vision, it begs the question, why is there a need to use entertainment to raise funds? Surely we live in a society where people want to see change occur around them? Where vulnerable people are able to find a safe haven through the generosity of others?
In a perfect world this would be the case. In fact, in a perfect world the need for charity would not even be present. But in the real world, with the pressures of work, an increase in organisations tackling problems and the general juggling of day-to-day life, deciding where to donate and indeed finding the time to do so has become more difficult. By offering to use donations in worthy projects affecting vulnerable people in the UK and internationally, Comic Relief offers a way for donors to give to a number of good causes in a simple and easy manner.
The use of entertainment as a form of fundraising is a lighthearted way of getting a serious message across. The heart wrenching reality of those living in conditions of abuse and poverty will strike a chord with any human being, which is why it is important to maintain an element of hope and positive change. The organisation engages the public by entertaining them, thus capturing enough attention to be able to discuss difficult issues such as mental health issues, sexual exploitation and street children among others.
So, if the organisation funds such an array of important projects, why is there a huge campaign push once a year as opposed to all year round? Well, there are many facets to that matter. In addition to raising awareness about poverty, Comic Relief has an element of community activism to it. Whilst appealing to the wider public to donate, the organisation emphasises the need to get everyone involved in the fundraising process. Whether this be asking people to sponsor you to do something or getting together with friends to organise a bake sale, the outcome is the same: people coming together to help those who are need. The organisation encourages people to join forces to find new creative and fun ways of raising money for charity, and with such a high celebrity input this has proven to be a successful method. The engagement of the public is key for all fundraising methods, and Comic Relief have demonstrated the power of celebrity impact. People want to watch celebrities perform and are more willing to listen to the concerns about poverty and development both within the UK and in less developed countries. Therefore they are more likely to donate when they see trusted or well-known figures supporting the cause.
While there are many people who criticise the use of entertainment in order to raise funds for charitable causes, society has become so engrossed in the world of entertainment and celebrity standing, that this is now one of the most effective ways to engage the public and attract attention. Comic Relief have successfully tapped into this societal trend to raise money for a greater cause and to help those who are truly in need of support.
Image from: http://www.radiotimes.com/
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