October 23, 2007

Charity by Peer Pressure

What moves you to donate to a charity? For me it's got to be something that I believe in before I throw down my time and money. I do a lot of research to make sure the organization is doing what it actually claims to be doing. Hope worldwide already had contacts in place so donating there when the tsunami hit seemed logical. Making wool socks that are carried by parents adopting children in Russia makes sense. Dropping off bags of cat and dog food to a local shelter seems to fill a need.

Having said this I really resent being propositioned in the grocery store every time I'm there to purchase something to "buy a sneaker for the food bank" or "a balloon for the children's miracle network" or "buy a scratch off for St Jude's". And then the store turns around and trumpets "We've donated $50,000 to St Judes." No you didn't. You collected $50,000 from your patrons and donated it.

My town had the unfortunate experience of having 2 men break into a house which ended in a triple homicide. Complete random act that could have happened to anyone. People in town don't know how to cope with something like this. It's a small town, very quiet. Nothing ever happens here.

So somewhere in the scheme of things someone decided to sell luminaries to raise money to donate to MS. The mother killed has MS and the family raised money for MS. This turned from a couple streets doing this to the entire town being solicited.

When they turned up on my porch to ask for money I said no. And my no was met with a look of disbelief, stammering, and the reply, "Do you even know what we're trying to do here? Can I explain this to you?" I said I understood and the woman scampered off my porch like I had the plague.

It's not the money. Certainly I can afford $1.00 at the grocery store. I've got the $10.00 to pitch in for luminaries. The reason I don't participate is that I feel it's charity caused by peer pressure. I don't want to support a cause because all the cool kids are supporting it.

What are your thoughts on charity?

16 comments:

Becky in Iowa :O) said...

I hate how the people asking for donations try to make you feel guilty for not donating. They don't take into concideration that maybe you can't afford to. Not even $5. I've gone long stretches where I wasn't working and the state aid was very meager. I would just much rather help out the people I know and I can see that I'm actually helping.

herself75 said...

ITA! and if I see one more kid with their hand out in front of the store I am going to smack it! at least have the decency to SELL something! no way in hades I am going to give even a penny to a bunch of rich kids for their after-prom just 'cause they have a hand out!

(Yarndemon) Anita said...

I agree with you!! So much of that money doesn't even get to the people who need it!! I much prefer to give directly to those in my area who need it. Last month we knew someone who's house burnt to the ground, I gathered all the clothing & blankets I could spare out of our closets and took to to them personally... that is my idea of a chairity worthwhile. Not giving it to someone who is going to use my money for marketing to get more & more money that never makes it to the ones who need it so badly! Grrrrrrr!!!!

Tabitha said...

When you are being solicited in the grocery line or outside the door of the Wal-mart, this is no longer charity. It has entered the realm of extortion in my opinion.

While I firmly believe that charity is a biblical concept that should be practiced, your attitude when giving is of the utmost importance. It you are giving grudgingly it cannot be considered true charity.

Lovs2Knit said...

I know how you feel. We were constantly being harassed by the fireman's association. We told them we didn't have the money which was no lie, we were flat broke and they kept up until I hung up on them. They were worse then telemarketers. I don't feel that you should have to bully or pressure someone to donate a charity.

herself75 said...

a lot of the solicitors for firefighters and police assoc. are PAID a percentage of what they can collect.. like a collection agency - and they use a lot of the same tactics too!

TeaMouse said...

I totally agree - when you are in line paying for your items and they want you to pay for this charity, or buy a hand/footprint whatever and if you don't, you feel like a schmuck as you obviously have money and if I'm buying non-necessities I feel like I'll look like a jerk if I say no...I mean they ask you in front of a whole line of pp. It's not that I mind donating to charity - I do it all the time, but I want to choose who I donate to and if I give them all a buck when they ask eventually it adds up - no $1 doesn't always seem like a lot, except when you get asked 10 times a day...lol!

Lynn said...

Oh I SOO get what you mean!! When I worked for a bank, once a year we would have United Way drives. It wasn't a charity I felt comfortable with, plus I don't like feeling pressured into donating, so I would always turn them down. I would then get a call from somebody asking that even though I couldnt give out of my paycheck (they would try to sign you up to get money from your wages), couldn't I at least afford $5? I would always tell them no. And when my boss would get in on the action (since each department would get extra parties if we were the highest giving, the higher the donations, the better the company looked) I flat out said no. The UW was NOT a charity I wanted to give to and if it was, I would NOT give thru the company since I was being heavily pressured into donating. BOY did I feel vindicated when the whole UW scandal came up![

That all being said, UW is NOT the only one who pressures people into donating and those just make me say no, not at this time. I prefer to give to those *I* know need it, the shelters (both animal and human), and also thru reliable means of transportation (ie having my things carried in a suitcase by an adoptive parent). There are too many scams out there that make you think twice abt where my donations go to.
Can you tell you hit a nerve?? LOL

sydney said...

One of the places I used to work had these charity drives every year where you felt forced to donate. It wasn't the charity but just that feeling that I had to donate that rubbed me the wrong way.

Just A Knit Wit said...

My biggest thing is the people who stand at the stoplights and then humiliate you in front of all the other cars when you won't give to their charities.

Or worse, how everything under the sun now is pink with the breast cancer awareness ribbon on it, but none of the profits are going to any BC charities.

Vivian said...

I'm very selective in who I support and donate to, in fact, I don't donate to most of the "charities" that come through my way. Also I'm much more inclined to donate my time and work than my money, because I think the fact that I'm willing to spend my precious time working my something is more meaningful than cold hard cash. I almost never donate money just because someone asked for it (like in front of Walmart or at grocery check out). My friend of mine worked for a summer for a "charity" when she was in college. The administrators would drop off the girls in a nice neighborhood with fancy brochures about how they spend the money in Africa for children's education. Guess what, the girls got 50% of what they collected! very profitable for a college student, but total robbery of the donors.

Maureen said...

I am completely in your corner. I too hate when people ask for money... I guess I never thought of it as peer pressure, but you are right! My husband will give to anything that asks and gives me a funny look when I turn people away at the door. On my own time is much better in my mind.

Mia said...

You're right. Charity is giving from the heart when you see the need. All those door to doors and buy a balloon things are usually done to make the "donor" look good, not so much because they care.

This world's gone crazy.

Dorothy said...

Recently my hubby and I started a fund. When it gets to a certain amount we sit down and decide where we want to donate it. If there is a pressing need at the moment, such as a family going through a difficult time, tsunami relief, etc. we make our decision. Then when asked, we just tell the solicitor that we gave already. We don't tell them to whom, but it lets them know we have done our part.

Dee said...

I pick and choose very carefully. Usually I will donate items to a food bank or clothing to the angel tree, rather than cash.

There is so much opportunity for cash to be mishandled.

Usually people would ask for the actual food or clothing unless they actually were in need (at least I think that is how it is).

I NEVER donate to people standing on the street corner OR people that come to my door that I don't know personally. Who the heck KNOWS where that money ends up.

Dee said...

Ooops ... I have a misspelling --- what I meant was ....

People wouldn't normally ask for food and clothing if they weren't truly in need.