Thoughts on Charity Drives in SL

A tiny blurb on charity events in SL – And why, at present, La Boheme is abstaining from participation (outside of previously verified and affiliated fundraisers I know are legitimate).  No need to read if this does not interest you.

I am a longstanding resident in SL, nearly 13 years under my little pixel wings.  Over the course of years I have participated in innumerable charity fundraisers for whatever cause was asking for me – Be it breast cancer awareness, various other cancer based charities, children’s charities, even more personal fundraisers for a particular person who was in dire need of assistance for whatever reason, etc.   Today I was approached by another charity which says they represent Doctors Without Borders to which I was considering what I might put out for their donation drive.. until I saw the cost to participate. (Mind you, their information website does not say they are affiliated with the charity Doctors Without Borders, it only puts up information from the charity’s own website to make it look official)

It seems that everything in SL is about money.  How to make it and how to spend it.   Prices to participate in events has been on the steady rise, event organizers becoming far more greedy and no doubt taking a chunk of the finances for their own pocket.   Many of these charity fundraiser drives seem like they are out for the cause and to assist, but how much of our money is actually going to these charities and how much is being pocketed by the organizers?  Also, there’s no means to track the finances earned in the charity fundraisers the way authentic charity fundraisers provide, so we really never know if this is official or even legitimate. With so many charity events popping up left and right, I am becoming skeptical that even half of them are 100% affiliated or even giving 100% of the donations to whatever charity they claim to represent.

When a charity event approaches designers asking for their participation, there are certain expectations.  We, the designers, are agreeing to put x amount of our items out in donation kiosks to which, unless the designer is greedy, 100% of proceeds goes directly to the fundraiser and not the designer.   We don’t see a penny for our hard work and the costs to create and upload such item(s), which is fine for me.   If I commit to a charity fundraiser event, I expect to make absolutely nothing on the products put out and do it out of sheer hope people will buy from my kiosks to help raise the donation totals overall.

When a charity event approaches a designer asking for their participation, they should not expect the designers to cough up 9k (or 6k or 3k) lindens for a kiosk spot on top of their generous contributions of products which will earn finances for the fundraiser.   I wouldn’t bat an eyelash at 1k, seriously. Sure, take my 1k and here’s my items.   9k, however, is fairly steep, and very, very greedy to assume that the base of all the fundraising be built on contributing designer’s paying out of pocket to try to be helpful.  It doesn’t make your event look successful, it makes you look kind of silly.. And yes, greedy. You do the math: 180 (or even 200) designers at 9k or even 6k.. That’s millions of lindens right there.  Cost to rent a sim for 2 weeks for the event + setup =  maybe 40-60k lindens max.   Where is the rest going?

I don’t mean to write this to dissuade people from visiting charity events and buying something, or fellow designers to participate in such events.   Perhaps I have just become a bit skeptical as there’s no means to ever see if your efforts are actually being 100% allocated toward such a charity, how honest the people organizing it are, or why I, the designer, am being told I need to pay such ridiculous amounts of money to help someone else’s cause.  Maybe organizers should rethink the escalating costs they are charging people for participation (even non-charity events) and realize we see what you’re doing there.


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