FeelGood and our partner organizations focus on partnership not charity–what does that really mean? The following activity is designed to guide you and your chapter through a discussion about the difference between partnership and charity and how that relates to the work of FeelGood and our partner organizations. This guide will provide some starting points for discussion and resources and videos to explore as a group. Let the discussion go in whatever direction your group chooses!

Step one: definitions

Begin by asking everyone how they define “partnership” and “charity”. What do these words bring to mind?

Once everyone has had a chance to share, read the following:

  • Charity originally meant to care for someone, value them, hold them in esteem, another definition is kindness and tolerance in judging others. This in itself isn’t bad, but it has taken on a paternalistic meaning, with one party knowing better instead of two equals caring for each other.
  • Partnership comes from the French word “parcéner”, which means heir or joint heir, and is defined as a person who takes part in an undertaking with others, particularly with shared risks and profits.
Pause to ask for thoughts on these. Consider the following:

  • What connotations do these two words have for you? What about in the context of the work of FeelGood and our partner organizations?
  • What does it really mean to care for someone, to hold them in esteem?
  • In what ways are we all “joint heirs”?

Step Two: Some Examples

Each year, SAIH, the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund gives out awards to fundraising advertisements, “the goal with the Radi-Aid Awards is to change the way fundraising campaigns communicate and engage people in issues of poverty and development”:

“The Rusty Radiator Award goes to the fundraising video with the worst use of stereotypes. This kind of portrayal is not only unfair to the persons portrayed in the campaign, but also hinders long-term development and the fight against poverty.” Watch some of the nominated videos and ‘winners’ here.
“The Golden Radiator Award goes to the fundraising video using creativity and creating engagement. This kind of charity campaign is stepping outside of the common way with using stereotypes.” Watch some of the nominated videos and winners here.

Watch this Band Aid 30 ad, a real fundraising video that won the Rusty Radiator Award in 2015:

Now compare this to SAIH’s spoof, Africa for Norway:

Discuss this approach to fundraising as opposed to what it can look like to be in partnership with others. What needs to shift from these videos?
If desired, check out SAIH’s other videos here.

Step Three: Discussion

Have an open discussion with your group about all of this. Start by asking for initial thoughts and reactions. If needed, use the following discussion questions:

  1. What about these approaches works?
  2. What doesn’t?
  3. How does FeelGood approach fundraising and alleviating poverty?
  4. What do you see as the difference between partnership and charity in work to end poverty?