Doing Good: The Difference Humor Can Make

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Doing Good

Breaking down African stereotypes

NOTE FROM DR. WAYNE BAKER: This week, Gayle Campbell is exploring the ways we think we’re doing good. Here is her final column in this five-part series …

We’ve been discussing the science behind “Doing Good”—the state of the charitable sector and the difference our donations can make. Around the world, charities are making a big difference, and so are the donors that support them. But with nearly half the world (over 3 billion people) still living in poverty, we still have a long way to go.

A surprisingly valuable tool in getting there? Humor.

Take, the non-profit co-founded by Matt Damon, for example. The charity is known for their hilarious fundraising campaigns, such as Damon’s “toilet strike”, where he publicly vows, in a video set as a press event, to not use the bathroom until the water and sanitation crisis is solved.

Damon even took a comical spin on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (which is closing in on $100 million raised, which is nearly double the total we reported in Monday’s Part 1 of this series). After he was nominated for the ALS challenge, Damon opted to douse himself in toilet water, highlighting the fact that while hundreds of thousands of people are dumping buckets of clean water on their heads, 800 million people in the world still lack access to clean water.

Damon and aren’t the only charities to invoke humor to make a difference. MamaHope, a non-profit dedicated to empowering local African organizations and communities, uses humor to poke fun at the way African people are often portrayed in pop culture and by other charitable organizations. One video from their “Stop the Pity” campaign features four African men ridiculing Hollywood stereotypes.

It’s the Labor Day weekend—so take a few minutes to watch the videos! They’ll make your day, and they might even encourage you to make a difference.




As we wrap up the series, give us your thoughts on this last post:
Are you more likely to donate to a charity that can make you laugh?
How is humor–and irony–changing the conversation on making a difference?


You know what to do! Use those blue-“f” Facebook icons and other social-media buttons to invite friends to read along with you this week!

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