I strongly believe in organizations which help to save or fulfill a person’s life, such as the Jimmy Fund, the American Cancer Society, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. I am extremely proud of the work that these types of organizations do, and I am fully aware that they receive millions of dollars on a regular basis in an attempt to achieve their goals. Furthermore, some organizations hold radio telethons once a year in order to raise a substantial amount of money from the community at large.
During game broadcasts of a specific sports team on the radio, there are public service announcements about one of these organizations that I find a bit tacky, because it suggests conditions by which someone will generously donate. Here’s a specific example without me mentioning names. In one promotion, a popular business in the Boston area agrees to give a charity $250 if a baseball player in a certain portion of the batting order hits a home run. Given the nature of the language in this promotion, I interpret that to mean, “Well, if the guy doesn’t hit a home run, too bad.” Radio is all about messages being interpreted by the listener, and I am an avid listener.
I believe that charitable organizations should be allowed to receive money from anyone at any time. With the promotion I just mentioned, money will be withheld from the charitable organization if the condition is not met; in this case, a certain player hitting a home run. It restricts the condition of the gift so much that they only appear to be supporting the organization without ever really doing anything at all.
To look at it another way, let’s say you are living on the street with little or no food. I run a food drive for people who are in your situation. On the radio, there is a public service announcement stating that a prominent business is willing to give me 50 pounds of food if someone scores three goals in a hockey game. Though many will think that this prominent business is extremely generous for donating food in this manner, the problem is that you need food now. Can you afford to wait to find out if a player will score three goals in a given hockey game in order for this generous business to give me food for you? That promotion wouldn’t do you a bit of good if there aren’t any guarantees that this would happen.
Instead of putting public service announcements on the air implying conditions by which you donate to a cause, why don’t we stick to public service announcements about the organizations, how good they are, and that we can donate any time we are able to, and just leave it at that?
I welcome your thoughts in the Readers’ Forum.