image courtesy of cwiss

2009 has seen a number of important events, but the one overshadowing them all was the recession. It hit everybody in one way or another, and without turning this blog into a financial analysis, one area that feared its effect greatly was charity. When times get tough we cut back. The things that aren’t essential go first, and many people including the Carol Goldstone Associates feared one such casualty would be the charities.

It’s strange then that many including Children In Need saw 2008 and 2009 raise more than in its entire history.

On Wednesday night a small group of us, many of who had never met one another before, met up at a bar in Central London to toast the achievement of online pseudonym AdLand Suit’s achievement in raising over £3,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care by revealing himself. What makes this story remarkable though is that, in the midst of this recession, a headless suit without a name whom many didn’t even know asked people to dip into their tightened pockets to raise some cash in return for his name. It was hardly a marathon, it was hardly climbing a mountain, but people were nonetheless desperate to know his identity and gave money. Lots of it. It could have failed; he thought the asking price of £1,000 was too high and had considered halving it. In the end people gave well over £3,000. Wow.

So what motivated people to generously give money in these tough times to both of these events?

I’ve come to an opinion of late through talking to others, that having to cut back in these times forces us to re-evaluate what poverty REALLY is. It forces us to put into perspective our own stresses and worries of maybe having to forgo Sky+, delay buying a new car, cancel our gym membership or shop at Asda instead of Sainsbury.

It’s almost as if we see at people in real need and feel a stronger sympathy with them. The issue is one of perceived poverty: We imagine our own money worries multiplied ten-fold, and put ourselves in their shoes. Ultimately it makes people say “You know what? My troubles are, in all honesty, nothing in comparison.”

My hope is that one day if things got really bad that others would pull together for me. I also hope I never reach that point. In the mean time though I’ll continue to help others at their own point of true desperation and despair.

Well done everybody on Wednesday night. For not only being part of raising so much good cash for a good cause, but also a great night with great people. It made me realise that my own life filled with great people, despite the odd worry here and there, is, when I put it into perspective, bloody fantastic.

A toast to you all.