Monday, April 30, 2007

Fast-Food Philanthropy? Idol Gives Back

In my Google Reader the other night, I found a post by Amy Tiemann at the MojoMom Blog entitled "Fast-Food Philanthropy" talking about the recent "Idol Gives Back" American Idol campaign to raise money for charities seeking to address poverty in America and abroad. I wrote the following comment in response to her blog entry:

Thanks for your post. I can only imagine the negotiations that went on behind the scenes between the orgs that are to receive this money and the producers of Idol Gives Back.

As is the case with many big appeals (e.g. Make Poverty History, Live8 etc), the actual highlighting of individual charities in a piece like Idol Gives Back would be fraught with the brand managers of those charities squabbling over how they are represented, worried that they would lose a percentage of the pie, as opposed to think about how the pie is increased from mass-media events like Idol Gives Back.

Idol is one of the most valuable pieces of television programming on the network, certainly much more watched than the late-night and weekend appeals put on by the big international charities.

The fact that IGB's appeal speaks and incites action amongst a group of people most likely not otherwise conscious of the plight of African Countries is indeed a good thing. And while it leaves people to get that "quick satisfaction" that placates their need to do more than "phone it in" the reality is that for many citizens, this is all they are capable of.

I have lamented the fact that most all big appeals have little to no meaningful feedback. Long ago, I coined the term "Return On Generosity" to refer to the fact that without this measure, most of us are unlikely to remain invested.

What's wrong with Fast-Food Philanthropy is that the producers have forgotten to include the "toy in the happy meal" that makes one want to come back and collect the other toys on my next purchase.

I hate ending on such a stupid analogy but hey, I'm hungry and I'm in need of some fast-food.

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Good thoughts, here. I agree that IGB, wasn't a 'bad' thing. Sure, it could have been better, but for many people, it was an all-important start. Hopefully, some of those who 'phoned it in' will now be inspired to do more to fight poverty domestically and elsewhere.

Here are my thoughts on it, if you're interested.
I saw this american idol..and I thought it was great to see that American Idol was doing something for good. I don't have a lot of confidence in this show, to really help it's viewers understand the importance and to take ownership for the negative things that are going on in our world.. I agree with Tom, that this is not a bad least some positive actions will be taken. w
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