One charity’s perplexing response to a potential source of donations

My father died from prostate cancer. I had an idea that I might put some donation buttons in this web site so I approached the major Australian prostate cancer charity, the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, with a proposal:

“hi there, I maintain a mens rights blog at I thought I would put in a “donate now” button to help fund-raise for your organisation. I came to your web site today looking for a ‘button” that I could cut and paste into one or more locations within my site, with the image hyperlinked to your everydayhero donation page. do you have such a button I could use, preferably with html code pointing to the page of your choice? Cheers”

I got a reply back the very same day which left me a little perplexed:

“Thank you so much for your email and reaching out to support PCFA. We are very grateful for your offer of having a donate now button on your website but as PCFA isn’t just about men but also about their families and the wider community, as they too have to deal with the side effects to prostate cancer, therefore, we like to work with bogs/website that are all inclusive of these audiences. Once again thank you so much for your offer and support and good luck with the continued success of your blog.”

Oh, the irony of being excluded due to a policy favouring inclusiveness. A curious state of affairs, made more so as I don’t know:

  • What test of ‘inclusiveness’ was applied, or the nature of the blogs/web sites deemed to meet that criteria
  • If the staff member who wrote to me deigned to peruse my site before determining whether or not it was sufficiently inclusive,  and
  • Whether that decision was sanctioned by way of an established policy or whether it simply reflected personal bias on the part of the individual involved.

On that last point I looked through the Foundation’s web site but couldn’t find any applicable policy, even for example in relation to the suitability of sponsors.

Perhaps the Foundation’s decision reflects the ‘deer in the headlights’ reaction demonstrated by some organisations when they imagine their name appearing in the same sentence as the words ‘men’ and ‘rights’? That would be odd given that the Foundation is in fact in the business of securing mens rights. The right to remain free of disease due to world-class scientific research. The right to have access to the best possible methods of treatment. The right to be treated with empathy and dignity. These are rights, or at least should be rights, rather than privileges bestowed by a capricious matriarchy.

I happen to think my blog is pretty darn welcoming, and presumably so do most of the 500-600 people that it attracts each day (and growing steadily). The only visitors who might be feel a tad marginalised – though I still welcome their readership – would be gender feminists. And as dad used to say to me, ‘you can’t please everyone’.

I’m disappointed that this has happened. Not being a political ingenue I can appreciate the merit of not alienating those with influence over government funding priorities – where the real money comes from. But when did worrying about what people might think become more important than actually helping?

I have invited both the CEO of the Foundation, and the staff member who wrote to me, to add their comments to this blog. I will update this post should any further information come to hand.

See also:

Reddit mens rights discussion thread on this issue (November 2014)

Ending the ‘inclusive’ myth (11 November 2014) By sheer coincidence this thread popped up today

Prostate Foundation is looking for staff (this also popped up on 11 Nov … by coincidence)

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