I had an interesting phone call the other day.
A very friendly woman, with a pleasing voice, was calling from a local community group to raise money by selling tickets to a concert. We talked about the weather. She thanked me for a past donation. She could not have been nicer. I let her do the pitch. When I explained my circumstances had changed so I could not contribute this time — her voice went from syrup to lemon. (A little fake empathy would have been nice.)
That got me thinking of all the ways people are trying to get our money. I am not against fundraisers or charities in any way. I know they are useful and helpful and necessary and I’m sure we all have causes that are near and dear to our hearts. Those are the ones we give to without having to be asked.
However, some of the ploys to get my money are getting out of control and on my last nerve.
I have a huge beef with the proliferation of those “GoFundMe” campaigns popping up all over the Internet.
It’s a social media obsession whereby anyone can raise money for anything.
I assume most are legitimate or at least some are legitimate.
I especially enjoyed the woman raising cash for her “spiritual and travel fund”. Then there was the woman who wanted money to get a “squirrel” tattoo. I actually did kind of cheer for the guy who asked for donations because “I’m Tired of Being Broke”.
Personally, I have given to about a half dozen of the online pitches that truly moved me either because I personally knew the people in need or the because the request spoke to my heart.
However, now it seems everyone and their dog (literally) has a money raising campaign going on. While every case is different I don’t believe it is my responsibility to raise money for your bill payments, medication, pet surgery, your new business venture or for your upcoming trip.
In one I Love Lucy episode Lucy and Ethel wanted to go to Europe so they set up a draw for a television and sold tickets for a fake charity “Ladies Overseas Aid” — the tv was donated and the girls were going keep the funds for their vacation. It was brilliant and also illegal! Heck, I want to go to Britain too but I don’t expect anyone but me to pay for it.
You stay home and the telemarketers get you. You go out and you are bombarded at the mall, the fast food restaurant and the grocery store.
I am not a big fan of cashiers asking if I want to tack on an extra few bucks to my order to go to this or that charity
“Do you want to add a dollar to your order?"
“Actually, I’d prefer you take 10 bucks off my order and give me a cookie.”
Of course, I don’t say THAT and more often than not say “okay” and then kick myself later for having no backbone.
I know the employees are urged or forced to ask, by their employer, but it makes me feel uncomfortable. If I say no will they squish my bread? Will they think I am a horrible cheapskate and gossip about me later?
I have tried to make myself a deal.
Give only to what you feel called to give to. Don’t be bullied or peer pressured into it.
Make the decision of what to donate to and how much based on your bank account and your passions.
Don’t apologize for what you CANNOT give. If $10 is what you can afford, then that’s the best you can do. If it’s a dollar then that’s a dollar more than the group had before you came along.
I believe we are called to be “cheerful givers” so I figure if I am doing it out of guilt, it doesn’t really count.
One other rule I learned from a very wise man is if you do a good deed or make a donation and then brag about it, it negates the goodness and if someone finds out about the gesture, it doesn’t count.
Give, of course, but not until it hurts!