Sunday, November 11, 2012

Number of annual charity-themed “days” now more than 17,000

If it's 9:00 AM, it must be World Chicken Leg Day!

The International Themed-Day Authority says there are now more than 17,000 annual charity “days”. In a new study, the Authority says each day of the year now has an average of 46 different fundraising or engagement days.

The study, called “The Days Challenge”, found that there were more than 3,000 days to fight cancer, 1,500 days to help the environment, 900 days to support animal welfare and 12 days devoted to whether Elvis is alive or dead.

“Every year, the world has about half-a-century worth of charity-themed days. That’s too much,” said Gottfried Von Snidely, Secretary-General of the Authority, at a news conference in Geneva. “And the trouble is that that more and more days are being introduced all the time. We’re heading for real trouble if we don’t bring in international regulation.”

The study found that the entire 365-day calendar was actually filled by charity themed-days back in 1978. Every day since then has added multiple days, making some dates completely unmanageable.

“Take January 3rd for example. It has one of the fewest charity themed-days, but it’s still the day the world celebrates ‘Be Nice to Trout Day’, ‘Kiss for Oral Health Day’, ‘Alaskan Social Work Day’, ‘Chicken Leg Day’ and five others,” said Von Snidely.

The day of the year with the most charity themed-days is June 1st, with a record 327 “days”. This includes International Children's Day, Mothers and Children’s Day (Mongolia), Fei Fei Day (Vancouver), Madaraka Day (Kenya), Marine's Day (Mexico), National Day Against Homophobia (Canada) and National Tree Planting Day (Cambodia). It is also the “Alumni Day” for 39 US universities, the “birthday” for 41 North American hospitals and the annual day for more than 100 disease-based charities.

The study found that North American charities owned more than 88 per cent of all charity themed-days. Developing world charities have had considerable trouble getting international recognition for their themed-days. More than once, charities from Africa have appealed directly to the United Nations to get their days recognized only to be vetoed by the United States at the Security Council. Later this month, one East Asian charity will launch a legal action at the World Trade Court claiming that the US is monopolizing themed-days to protect its charitable sector.

The Authority is recommending a moratorium on new theme-days until new regulations can be introduced. The new rules would see each day carved up into hourly periods and allocated to various charities based on importance and geography.
“Under the regulations, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination would get the 9:00AM slot on March 21st and World Poetry Day would get 10:00AM. World Puppetry Day would only get the period between 11:00 and 11:20AM since it’s not very important,” explained Snidely.

The report is making waves in Washington where Congress is debating whether to follow the new rules or to create a US-system.

“We don’t want any foreign charities taking our themed-days,” said Republican Senator Possum Brewer, chairman of the powerful Senate Miscellaneous Things Committee. “We created these days and we’re gonna keep ‘em.”