Individualistic Philanthropy: The Paradox of Embodied Participation for Health-Related Fundraising Campaigns

John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 2013, 18 (4), pp. 261 - 274
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Movember and Julyna have emerged as examples of health-related fundraising and awareness campaigns that require embodied participation in the form of temporary body modification. Reaching a younger demographic not traditionally motivated by appeals to altruism, these campaigns have capitalized on the signifying power of the body to reflect and construct identities and self-perceptions to motivate participation. Taking a cultural studies approach and employing visual, textual and discursive analyses of the campaigns websites, a primary vector for information dissemination and recruitment, this study highlights how philanthropic activity has been successfully coded as making participants more physically, sexually, and socially desirable. In promoting such individualistic motives for philanthropy, however, these campaigns further a mentality that philanthropy is foremost about personal gain. The challenge these initiatives pose is how to convert participants from individualistic to altruistic models of philanthropy.
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