I just watched the premier of The Big Give. (Thank God for a DVR! 🙂 )

I really liked it.

I was really touched by the examples of people bringing community together. Like the woman who’s husband was shot. Wow. They all pulled together. And the balloons. How cool that the family will forever have a way to validate the place Dad has in their lives.

And I loved that the fashion show got panned. Particularly because it had nothing to do with the person. No connection whatsoever. Maybe we’ll hear less of that type of suggestion from our well meaning volunteers.

As a full-time fundraiser, it was a bit annoying to see how “easy” some of them made fundraising look. I’m sure dropping Oprah’s name was a HUGE motivator. While I’m glad for the success they had, I dread the backlash that it may have to my job. “Hey, just watched Oprah last night. When are you going to actually raise some money like that?” Ouch.

I’d probably answer, “As soon as Oprah allows me to use her name and the exposure of a national TV show.” 😉

And I did find myself worrying for the people helped. What are the long-term impacts? Sure they gave folks housing for 6 months, but what then? These guys are going to screw up, that’s just life. We all make mistakes. But now they’ll be screwing up with someone’s lives. What are the implications?

Sure, the four judgement areas seem a bit corny. But it is a “reality” show after all. And America watches reality shows.

Oprah certainly knows how to communicate to America!

So this can go a long way in inspiring people to make a difference in their own communities, with their own neighbors. And it can show them that “just raising money” isn’t enough.

And for the nay-sayers that say, “C’mon, they’re just competing for $1 million.” Please. Let it rest. The show is quite clear that they don’t even know what they’re competing for.

I wouldn’t call this “philanthropy.” Perhaps I’m splitting hairs. But it is cool to see the difference a motivated team can do in someone’s life. It can be really addicting!

I like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. But The Big Give seems to “make it real.” You don’t need to be Ty or have a huge show to change a family’s life. You can just be a couple of regular joes with a little seed cash.

And you probably don’t even need the seed cash.

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