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Quirky bushfire fundraisers that took the world by storm

11 January 2020 at 12:00 pm
Maggie Coggan
From sending nudes, to Russell Crowe auctioning off a daggy cap, we take a look at the wackiest bushfire fundraisers that went viral for a good cause 

Maggie Coggan | 11 January 2020 at 12:00 pm


Quirky bushfire fundraisers that took the world by storm
11 January 2020 at 12:00 pm

From sending nudes, to Russell Crowe auctioning off a daggy cap, we take a look at the wackiest bushfire fundraisers that went viral for a good cause 

The devastation of this year’s bushfires to rural communities, the environment and Australia’s wildlife population is unprecedented. 

With many Australians and people around the globe desperate to help, millions of dollars have been donated to charity appeals, celebrity fundraisers, and directly to GoFundMe campaigns supporting smaller charities or individuals affected by the fires.

But in this fast-paced age of the internet and social media, people have been thinking outside the box to attract attention and raise money for the crisis. We take a look at some of the best. 

The nude philanthropist 

Model and sex worker, Kaylen Ward, ignited a viral craze of donations after sending out a tweet promising a nude photo to anyone that provided proof they’d donated at least $10 to Australian charities such as the Red Cross, GIVIT, and wildlife rescue charity WIRES.

Self-dubbed the “naked philanthropist”, the fundraiser has allegedly raised over $1 million, and attracted so much attention Ward had to hire a team of four people to help sort through the thousands of DMs she’s received to try to verify donations and reply with the promised nude.

But the craze was short-lived. Just three days after the fundraiser launched, her Instagram account was shut down for violating community guidelines, and a bunch of fake accounts under her name popped up. While the original campaign was run out of her Twitter account, it saw the end of the left-of-centre fundraiser.    

Play to your strengths  

With the likes of Nick Kyrgios pledging $250 for every ace hit over the Australian summer to go towards the bushfire relief effort, Swiss tennis star Belinda Bencic is doing her bit for the bushfires a little differently. Rather than celebrating her wins, she has pledged $200 for every double fault she hits, which she believes is much more likely to happen. 

“Although I’m not the best at hitting aces but much better at hitting double faults, I will donate $200 for every one I serve at my next tournaments,” Bencic tweeted.

“Like that, I won’t be angry at myself when I hit one and finally they will be useful.”

A sweaty cap for a cause 

Australian actor Russell Crowe made headlines when he announced he would be auctioning off his sweaty, sooty, and worse-for-wear Rabbitohs hat to raise money for the Rural Fire Service.

Environmental entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes was named the winning bidder, taking home the cap for a cool $100,000. Crowe committed to tripling the winning bid, donating a total of $300,000. 

The auction came as Crowe detailed the devastation to his regional NSW home and surrounding bushland.   

Suit up, and save the koalas  

British TV power-house, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, is reportedly auctioning off her designer Golden Globes suit to raise money for bushfire relief efforts. 

While no money has come through yet, The Independent reported that Waller-Bridge, who won the award for best actress in a comedy or musical television series at this year’s Golden Globes, made the announcement backstage that she would be selling the glamorous Ralph & Russo suit.    

We can all make a difference

Amid a growing number of Australian and global businesses digging deep to pledge a percentage of their profits to various relief efforts, an unlikely small business owner’s unusual charity bushfire pledge attracted quite a bit of attention. 

Screenshots of what appears to be a mass text from a drug dealer pledging 10 per cent of all weekend sales to the bushfires went viral after satirical Instagram account, Brown Cardigan posted it to their page. 

“Not a joke,” the text said. 

“Actually being legit thank you all. Hopefully you guys can also donate would mean a lot thank you.”

Pro Bono News would also like to make clear we do not support the selling of illicit substances in any way.  

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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