Inspirational Fundraising & moral philosophy in action

You may have already seen this advert as it has had more than 12 million views on YouTube,  but I only became aware of it thanks to today’s online edition of Third Sector which featured it as ‘film of the week’.

I spend much of my working life trying to understand donor decision making, and it is a rare gift to be able to watch in action as people are confronted with a situation of need and decide whether or not to respond.

The film, created by the Norwegian branch of SOS Children’s Villages, shows a young actor shivering at a bus stop because he has lost his coat. Passersby who encounter him must decide whether or not to respond and if so how. It is fascinating to watch their faces as they struggle with deciding what to do – then cheering as the vast majority give him a coat, scarf or gloves.

The point being made by the charity is that many Syrian children are facing a freezing cold winter and need help. The film is a 200 second encapsulation of the point made by the philosopher Peter Singer, whose famous ‘Drowning Child analogy argues that we have a moral obligation to help others if we can, and that obligation is not removed by geographical distance.

You can watch the ad here. I hope that some of the 12m YouTube viewers decided to donate – it certainly prompted me to do so.


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