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Making innovation work for good. T:@inspirechilli

Friday 21 February 2014

That Feeling...

 I saw the poster inside the shiny offices of Prince’s Trust as I trudged through the rain to work from Liverpool Street station. That Feeling – a big face catching the eye with the sensation of doing something challenging and exciting to raise money for The Prince’s Trust.  Or, in the words of the poster, to support ‘disadvantaged young people’.  Or, from a more honest perspective, to support the Trust’s ongoing communications campaign to stereotype young people as being ‘disadvantaged’ and other negative labels as the most effective way to raise money for itself.

At least the poster was colourful. At least the poster would motivate thousands of people to do things for others. At least the poster would stimulate an interest in the future for young people. Atleast some individuals would directly benefit from the promise of inspiration.

But I had a different feeling.

I was walking down a street in East London. One where there are not-so-shiny housing estates with young people who experience multiple challenges to harness their potential for life. Directly outside the estate, in the bus stop normally postered with KFC and drink ads, the Prince’s Trust’s ‘That Feeling’ image stared back.  It stopped me in my tracks. Not even I expected this.

How could they?  How dare they allow a poster to be put up here? Raising money in the name of supporting young people like some of those on the estate, who receive absolutely no service what so ever from The Prince’s Trust?  Using the image of their so-called ‘disadvantage’, in order to raise money that they never see?  I know, because I've lived there.

I wondered how many people had signed up to help the campaign, thinking their donations would make a difference in their actual locality.  Does the Prince’s Trust have a plan to help those young people on the estate?  They have great resources to offer, but do they and will they ever reach here?  Do they have an intention to share funding with those local charities working with young people in the areas where they put up their posters - those who actually have the best expertise to reach out and connect young people with opportunity?

I doubt it. After all, this is just the way that big national charities meet fundraising targets  to protect their status quo - in a clever, well done, and utterly shameful manner.

That Feeling….

Of betrayal. 

Of broken trust. 

That’s what putting a poster, with that language, with that intent, in that place, amounts to. For me.

As I walked home, I wondered if I could sign up to help the Prince’s Trust’s work.  The 'That Feeling' campaign has four options to choose your challenge, none of which I'm that good at, so I reasoned I could come up with my own.  And in the spirit of the campaign, it's a life-changing challenge - to convince the staff at Prince's Trust to 'Take Advantaged Thinking Action' in the way they talk about young people; in the way they invest in young people; and in the way they behave as a charity.  Because ‘That Feeling’ really really needs to change.
If you like a challenge, come and explore a night of Advantaged Thinking Action with me at The Cockpit, Marylebone, on 6th August at 7.30pm. Tickets now on sale HERE

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