22 September 2010

Confuse Advocacy with Action…

*Update: I have written a follow up post correcting my errors thanks to the comments from David Week. Please refer to it here: http://www.aviewfromthecave.com/2010/09/i-have-erred.html
and you will eventually get burned.
The Metro (UK) reports that Bono is ‘under fire’ for the allocation of funds by One.
The non-profit One campaign received almost £9.6million in donations in 2008 but handed over only £118,000 to good causes.
Figures show that the group also spent more than £5.1million on executive and staff salaries.
One responded to the criticism by pointing out that they are an advocacy organization, not an aid organization.  This is entirely true, and the money donated is going to be used for things like lobbying and require more (dare I say?) overhead costs.  The problem is that they advertise themselves as an aid organization.

The A-listers tell you to care, give and save lives.  It is not unreasonable to assume that One will then use the money to make a difference.  The thing is, if they added that they were going to use the money for staff to lobby in Washington people would think twice.  Why give to One when they have all these celebrities who can advocate for free with their large paychecks?  The point is not to discuss advocacy itself, but to point out that misleading campaigns can lead people to make the wrong assumptions.
I want to give One the benefit of the doubt that it is staffed by very smart people.  This perception was not a mistake.  One got caught with their preverbal pants down and deserve the criticism that is being leveled at them.  Own up and be transparent, please.