1 EAGLETON NOTES: Please Give To Charity....Or Else

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Monday, 24 November 2014

Please Give To Charity....Or Else

Don't get me wrong.  I support charities and I understand that they have to run appeals to get money.  However I prefer to support the charities of my choice and to whom I give and how much is entirely a matter for me and not for the rest of the world.  The only general exception I make is that I wear a poppy to remember and out of respect for those who lost their lives in war: celebrated on Armistice Day here in the UK and ANZAC Day in New Zealand.

Yesterday the annual Red Cross appeal (one of many by different charities) dropped through my letter box: Christmas cards for me to send together with a pen to write them and stickers to let my friends know that I support the Red Cross. What this really is, though, is blackmail.  We've sent you these things so you will feel obliged to pay for them.  Well I don't.  I actually resent it.  

What it amounts to is that if I send a donation to a charity I will be bombarded with even more requests.


Most Saturdays it seems there  are  bag packers collecting for their own local cause (they are often not charities but the local football club or whatever)  on the tills of the supermarkets.  Many of these I will happily support but some I certainly am not.  I also prefer to pack my own bags.  I really don't like someone putting a bag of potatoes on top of my tomatoes.  If I feel like supporting the cause I will do so but otherwise I won't but it takes quite a lot of nerve to walk away.

I doesn't stop there of course.  We are bombarded at every moment on TV and radio with please text DONATE  £10 to 66666 or whatever. And, of course, there's Bob Geldof (but that could be a post all of its own).

I could go on but I'm sure you can think of plenty more examples without my assistance.

I know that charities have to raise money and that in some cases much of it reaches the intended cause but I think it's all gone just a little bit too far.  Or am I just being a grumpy old man?

29 comments:

  1. My husband and I are with you on this. We get about 15 beautiful wall calendars free in the mail each year from various charities. We only need and use one! The others I give to friends and then at church. But if we gave $ to every charity that asks us, we would have zero money. Yikes. Also, the CEO/President of Red Cross is a woman who makes over $600,000 a year so we dropped them and give to 2 different ones (local plus Samaritan's Purse).

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    1. Terra I never use a calendar but then I don't get many either. The Red Cross does provide things on the Island but it is a hugely commercial organisation. One of the principal charities on this Island provides a large hospice nursing home. It is a completely local charity and hugely well supported.

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  2. No, not a grumpy old man at all. I hate the phone calls right on dinner time too. .. especially when they address you by name. Puts you at a real disadvantage. I just write " return to sender" on the package and put it in the post. That's double postage they have to pay but not my fault. ( in fact I refuse to donate to Red Cross as in previous donations here for flood victims the money reportedly went overseas. ) I've become disenchanted with the big charities- too much is lost on administration fees to CEOs with huge salaries

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    1. Ah, I see Terra snuck in there while I was writing my comment and feels the same way I do. These charities need to watch out or they will lose a lot of support.

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    2. Hells I have recently solved the problem of the many many unwanted calls. In the UK you can block calls originating in the UK with the Telephone Preference Service. Unfortunately most of the calls now originate abroad. British Telecom have, however, brought out a call blocking phone. It really works. I've gone from between 2 and 4 unwanted calls a day to none. I'm not sure that charities make many cold calls in the UK any more though because they are so deeply unpopular.

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    3. Oh dear. I was commenting on my brother's blog about the problems of the spillchucker and the fact that one notices the errors just as the send button is pressed. I don't thing the spillchucker liked whatever I typed for Helsie and Hells was the result. Many apologies.

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  3. You're not being a grumpy old man. Too many charity drives are farmed out to private interests who take most o the money for their fees. One has to be careful who you choose to support. Go for Bob Geldoff!

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    1. Thanks Red. I am careful these days. Bob Geldof soon!

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  4. It's not an old grumpy thing. I'm young and chipper and I dislike charity appeals as well.

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    1. It's been a long time Rae. It's good to see you. It's good to know that it's not just me being old!

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  5. In Germany, making such phone calls as described by Helsie are illegal (which does not mean they don't happen, but only very rarely). Most of those appeals come through the mail and of course on TV. I support one charity by a regular money donation and another one by giving my time and energy to their cause, working once a year at their booth at the Fair Trade show and once a year at the Christmas market. And I know several of the staff of that charity personally, knowing how much time and effort they put in, without ever receiving any money for it, instead giving it all for the cause.
    We have a man in our circle of friends/family who, after a long, painful history of illness, can not work full-time to support himself anymore. The pension he gets at his age (in his 40s) is ridiculous. So, whenever he needs something specific that we know he can not afford to buy, we buy it for him or give him the money to do so. That is our direct way to charity.

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    1. I was going to add that when possible I like to give directly to the person who needs help as you have mentioned Librarian.

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    2. Meike as I read on another blog (possibly yours!) there are few calls emanating from the Indian sub-continent probably because German is not a local language in the way that English is. I very much admire your approach.

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  6. Bag packers working for a donation ~ we don't have them here in AUS.

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    1. Nor in New Zealand I'm glad to say Carol. It does make a lot of money for local causes but I just don't like the blackmail aspect. Often, too, I don't actually have cash on me because I use a debit card to pay most of my supermarket transactions.

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  7. I'm certainly with you on the cards, stickers etc. Not only are they a form of blackmail but they must surely reduce the amount of money available for good causes as the cost of them has to come out of any donations that are made. I also never use the charity bags that fall through the door (other than for lining the kitchen rubbish bin) as I understand that most charities actually pay a company to drive around and collect them. If I want to donate money I will on my terms, any items I want to donate get carried to the local charity shop in person.

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    1. I wonder, Mark, how readily available the figures are for most charities showing the whole cost of raising money and administration costs compared with the money actually used for the core purpose of the charity.

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  8. I got a similar packet of cards from another charity organisation recently and felt the same. I realize they have to make themselves known somehow and remind people that they exist etc, but I don't like obtrusive or 'blackmailing' ways of advertising, whatever the purpose. Actually if they'd just advertised/sold the cards in a normal way I might well have bought some. But as I don't like their way of doing it, it has the opposite effect.

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  9. We are in perfect synchronicity on the charity issue Graham. My daughter was a "chugger" for a while in her "Save the Children" tabard, knocking on doors to try to persuade people to sign up for monthly payments. But really what it was all about was getting commission like the other chuggers. She only did it for a month before she found a proper job. I hate having to walk past charity people and Big Issue sellers in supermrkets. I go to supermarkets to shop - not to support charities - I will do the latter on my terms.

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    1. I'd never heard of a 'chugger' YP. We are certainly at one on this (as we are on many subjects despite our banter).

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  10. Too true, GB. Over here, charities seem to delight in sending out pre-printed return address stickers. I have literally hundreds of them. Not even St. Paul writing to the Corinthians needed so many stickers. By the way, I don't know how the law reads in the UK, but in the US, if someone sends you something which you did not order, it's up to you - use it if you want, or throw it away. But you don't have to pay for it. Sending it out unsolicited is a gamble they take. Some people send money, others don't. It depends on what the charity is, what my mood of the moment is, and if I have any spare cash or not. While I'm deciding what to do next, would you like a few hundred of my return address stickers? :) xoxo DeeDee

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    1. The law is the same here DeeDee. It's the attempted moral blackmail that they rely on. I abhor that.

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  11. Graham, I couldn't agree more. I never succumb to the blackmail, and bin those things I can't use. Like you, we give to,charity, but we don't give in to this. It's horrible.

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  12. I am in agreement with most of the others here too, I don't mind contributing to a charity but will not do so if blackmailed.
    I prefer to decide on my own which charity I will give my hard-earned money to and how much and of course I get to decide when I will give as well.
    However, 'tis the season for giving, and as the Salvation Army kettles like to remind us, "Sharing is Caring."

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    1. Well Virginia it doesn't look like there are many people who do like these tactics. I wonder just how successful they are.

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  13. I'm with you GB. While charities can create awareness and provide a means for helping people, it has become a business mostly. And whats more, they blackmail you and make you feel guilty if you don't donate! :((

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    1. Ruby someone today was telling me that's exactly how she feels. I've got over it: I no longer feel guilty.

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