Create Your Own Vices To Give Up For Charity

Create Your Own Vices To Give Up For Charity

Causes such as Movember and Dry July are all well and good if you drink and aren’t normally hairy, but what if you don’t have vices to speak of? Create your own challenges instead.

Somehow, this is all my fault.

Well, I say that, but the reality is that this really is all my fault, but it’s for the best of reasons. It really is.

Nearly a month ago, I was procrastinating on Twitter (as you do), chatting to various people I know. As with Twitter, there are some you know in person because you see them all the time, and others you only know through Twitter.

Up popped Anna Spargo-Ryan (@annaspargoryan). I should point out that I’ve never met Anna in person; merely traded terrible puns about the difficulties of being a writer over Twitter with her. Anyway, she posed a question that almost could have been written as an Ask Lifehacker.

I don’t drink alcohol, I wax my mo’ and I will never run. How can I raise funds for causes I like? HOW?

Rather flippantly, I replied

Skydive. Or get sponsored to jump into a bath of unusual substance. Baked beans, custard, something that ppl would pay.

Yeah, I can be flippant like that. It’s a character flaw, I know, but this got me thinking. So I carried on, which is why this is my fault.

The point is, ppl pay for the discomfort/weirdness of others, charities win. I can do weird, but ppl don’t pay just for that.

Or, given your skillset, get sponsored to do Nanowrimo (or similar). Xc/word, etc.

That was something of a throwaway line, although I figured that it was fundamentally true.

Movember isn’t about raising awareness of moustache fashion trends. Dry July isn’t about selling as much sparkling mineral water as one alcohol-deprived body can take. Head shaves aren’t about baldness, something I’m only too familiar with.

Instead, they’re about willingly undergoing a little discomfort or ridicule in order to generate interest. Through that interest, you raise money, and that’s where a charity can win out through stunts like that.

The thing is, Anna took it quite seriously — and so that’s exactly what she did.

So for NanoWrimo — the National Novel Writing month that we’ve covered extensively here on Lifehacker previously — Anna’s going to write a novel on a sponsored basis. 10c buys a word, with all proceeds going to BeyondBlue.

Anna describes the work as, and I quote:

“It’s essentially a woman’s experiences of grief and denial, and how they manifest (through psychosis and detachment from reality). Told in a garden.”

You can read Anna’s full pitch and sponsor her here, and I’d strongly encourage you to do so; Mental health issues are something that she and I are both quite passionate about.

In broader context, though, Anna’s doing what anyone could do if they had a charity they wished to support but none of the generally accepted “saleable” vices to give up in return for cold hard cash.

All you’ve got to do is find something that you’d be inconvenienced/uncomfortable/ridiculed for that you reckon somebody (or preferably several somebodies) would pay money to see you go through.

You get the self benefits of doing something good — and perhaps stepping outside your comfort zone — and the charity of your choice wins. If you do fit into the vices of the convenient and well known charity efforts, that’s still great work too, but if you don’t, or couldn’t for whatever reason manage them, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t create a charity effort of your own.

My Story: Anna Spargo-Ryan [Everyday Hero]


    • Whereas looking at your comment history, you do nothing but post negative rubbish about just about anything. Which, I’m thinking, must be terribly painful for you. Might be worth looking into that.

      • I’m generally more cynical than negative, except where the situation negativity. I’m hardly the only one in most instances.

        Realistically though unless your point is “This is the best journalism I can achieve”… Then a negative comment about how negative someone is seems counter-intuitive.

        Though realistically, what good journalist doesn’t enter into a debate on criticisms based on “Oh yeah, well i’m better than you!!”. I think they teach that on day 1 of “journalism school” (lol).

        Nek minnit we will have articles “omg I was toootally talking to this chick right, and like, I totally know that I am facetious sometimes.. but like omg, she was all like lel im going to totes do this stuff and I was all no way man, no freaking way but she was all yes!!! then she did it and I was all omg”

        Go back to facebook, kid[man]. (see what I did there?)

        • So your response is “others do it, so it’s OK?”

          My response was based on the fact that, looking at your comment history, you’re not actually adding anything of value to the conversation, either relating to the article or the discussion at hand. Nobody has to like every article, but I’m struggling to see one where you haven’t popped up essentially just to troll.

          It’s just bland snark, and while that has a place on the net, it’s in no way constructive. But I’ve said my piece. You’re free to do whatever makes you happy, no matter what that might be.

          • Being negative is “not ok” according to you? Yeah, if only everyone everywhere could agree on everything and then we could kiss bunnies in the sun. Contrarians are essential to society.

            My comment was based on your article, not your ‘history’ which, while i’m aware of, I would not personally invest time in to gain some mythical moral high ground. And you can see many, many articles where I don’t just pop up to “troll”, though your definition of trolling seems to be not thinking you’re a good journalist in this article.

            … Though with nearly 3k comments, you might want to stalk me some more before commenting on my personality. I was talking about your journalistic skills in the context of this article, but I can see you want to make this about my own personality to abstract from that… A trait I most commonly enjoy when communicating with children in video games.

            I now realise having had this deep and insightful conversation with you that this probably IS the best of your journalistic ability, and your integrity, thus why you don’t really have anything relevant to say except to comment on my personality.

            Good luck with that.

      • Just my 2cents…

        Alex, if you’ve been paid for this article, then you’re a professional writer.

        I don’t see how attacking a commentor adds to your professionalism.

        If you’ve not been paid for this article, and you’re upset that someone’s pissed on your parade, I could be more understanding about you lashing out. But if you’ve been paid, then suck it up – because not everyone will enjoy your writing (as you acknowledge).

  • Anna’s going to write a novel on a sponsored basis. 10c buys a word

    How many words are there in an average novel?

    10c a word seems a huge amount to me. If she can find enough sponsors she should write a trilogy to get the US out of debt.

    “All you’ve got to do is find something that you’d be inconvenienced/uncomfortable/ridiculed for that you reckon somebody (or preferably several somebodies) would pay money to see you go through.”

    Is this really the only way to raise money for charity? And if so, why? Is there a psychological element along the lines of Schadenfreude at play? Perhaps so. Comic Relief is pretty effective.

    Maybe discomfort and embarrassment is the only effective way to raise funds, or maybe we just haven’t been inventive enough yet.

    It’s potentially a very serious subject that should be examined more thoroughly,

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