Have you reached ‘compassion fatigue’ with good causes?

This week has been very busy with people commenting, about my previous post and sharing their ‘patient experience.’ It certainly provoked a large response, but interestingly, a lot of people wanted to keep their comments private. This worries me, because it is one thing if staff feel threatened to talk about their working environment, but patients shouldn’t feel that their care may be compromised for voicing their opinions.

So it seems that we have a long way to go before we reach a ‘transparent health service,’ that seems to be continually talked about. My subject for todays piece started with the ‘no makeup selfie,’ but was prompted by a presentation I did. I was very honoured to be asked by Macmillan Cancer Support to talk about my work, to their valued corporate partners. These were organisations that were already working with them or looking to get involved. An opportunity to showcase current successes and for people to explore new ways of collaborating. I found this very stimulating as it wasn’t necessarily about donating money, more sharing experience and skills.

It is starting to appear that supporting good causes is becoming very fashionable. Not just from the person putting coins into a bucket, but by large companies, who want to hang their hat on a ‘charity of the year.’ Wonderful news of course for all the organisations out there needing our help! Obviously social media has opened up a whole new way of communicating our passion for giving, and we can easily share our causes with friends. Giving money, has never been easier, and the ‘selfie campaign’ was a wonderful example of this, raising millions for charity.

Compassion fatigue


There are now so many ways to support our favourite causes, and another fashionable way is by supporting e-campaigns and signing petitions that are also easily shared via social-media. I see so many of these daily now. The advantage of these is that anyone can start one, with very little cost, but that also means that there are so many different ones out there.

My work, means that I spend a lot of time, in the health and charity sector, so certainly I am going to see more causes than most, but day after day, I see so many lovely people setting off on exciting challenges to raise money. Next week we have the London Marathon, another massive fundraiser, for so many organisations. The industry has made a variety of new challenges available, from walking the great wall of China to doing marathons in the desert. Even having a cup of coffee and a piece of cake is a massive money spinner.

I find it wonderful that people are inspired to do all these interesting things, and that so many people will eventually benefit from all the good work involved, but I am starting to ask, how long this fashion will last. Will this become something that we slowly lose interest in? While marketing continues to find innovative ways of engaging us, I think not, there may be many more years of interest to follow.

My personal communication channels are awash with people, advertising their fabulous work, but like most things social-media, you can never see everything. I don’t like being bombarded with messages from others, so I also don’t send too many out myself. For me, less is more, but that is not everyone’s style! My entire day could be filled by looking at everyone’s efforts and signing petitions, all of which I’m sure are very valuable, but not always things that I am personally passionate about. However life won’t work, if we only follow the path of what is good for us.

In my life before cancer, I was a very random giver, anyone who seemed passionate, got my vote, but obviously things are very different now. I have my own charity, but beyond that I donate my time to other causes. Firstly I have very little spare cash, but secondly, my time is more valuable, and I would like to think that my personal skills and experience can make a tangible difference to people.

Most of us seem to be natural givers. Let’s be honest, we feel an inner glow when we have done something good for someone. Most people, have very little time, so they like to contribute some cash, maybe directly through the bank, or by random donations. It’s a win win really.

So my questions to you are, do you feel morally obliged to donate time or money to causes that get directed your way? How do you decide what causes you will support, personal experience etc?  Do you get fed up with the constant barrage of fundraising campaigns, and does that mean you will in fact switch off. Do you feel that charity asking is becoming more ‘hard-core?’



  1. I have supported an handful of charities for more than 20 years, but am currently reviewing this due to discovering that one of the charities, Amnesty International, paid and executive and her assistant in excess of 1 million pounds. This so shocked me that I’m definitely cancelling my subscription to AI and reviewing the others.

    • Hi Susan.

      We all have different views of charity giving, and I hear so many different arguments about it. Most of us like to do good in one way or another, but it made me think how people make their decisions.

      I can understand your thought process, and this seems to be a common issue. It seems, like most things in life we all have our own ideas, of who we want to support and why. It is certainly a very individual thing.

      Many thanks for sharing your experience, one I’m sure others will have an opinion about too!
      I hope all going well with you, Chris

  2. First the twitter,fb,g+ links moving down the page here on the left as I read obscure the text. If I want to link there are also the same links on the right and at the top of the page.

    Then I support a few charities monthly, some now and then by buying items or donating, but do get tired of being asked for cash from every body I support by signing their petition, not just when signing but later on by repeated emails.

  3. Hi Vicky

    My experience also shows me that people support more than one charity in different ways. I also agree with you about email and telephone pressure from charities. I’m personally not a lover of that style, but they all tell me it is effective!

    Ref the issue of the links. I have read the blog on mobile and computer, and can’t replicate that. Obviously we don’t want the text obscured by share buttons. Maybe you could let me know on which device you are reading it, and I will check into things. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Your own views re charity giving are much appreciated. Very best to you, Chris

  4. Hi Chris
    I’m using a pc and google chrome if that helps. I can still see links on the left and right as well as at the tip and they are right in the middle of the page, not entirely obscuring but enough to be annoying.

  5. Hi Vicky
    Thanks for the info. I logged into Chrome from my PC and that issue happened when the page was minimised. When the screen is opened fully the share buttons at the side are far away from the text. I hope this helps, Chris

    • I’m pleased that you have now managed to resolve this issue Vicky, and that you continue to enjoy the site. Many thanks, Chris

  6. Hi Chris,
    interesting post. Compassion fatigue must be one of the most desperately sad and frightening concepts around. Not being able to support every worthy cause is a comforting sign to me that a great many good, passionate people are covering bases I couldn’t imagine exist. None of us can save the whole world, but if more of us care about saving the whole world it’s got to be a good thing.

  7. Hi Toni
    Thanks for your comments. I spend a lot of my time in the health/charity sector, and many thoughts are provoked. My idea is to put them out there and see what others feel. I have had a very mixed response.

    However, personally I’m with you, and feel that if we all do a bit, the world will be a better place. Obviously it is impossible to support all causes, but it seems that most of us do more than our share.

    I guess that social media makes us more aware of what everyone is doing. Many thanks for taking the time to share your comments, and I look forward to welcoming you back soon, Chris

  8. Hi to all, the contents present at this website are in fact
    remarkable for people experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

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