Donations: When enough is enough

I know we all struggle from time to time financially and realise it must be quite difficult for charities trying their best to make life easier for those they represent, but I had an experience last week in my small local shopping centre which still has me shaking my head.

I was making my way through the centre when a young man sitting at a table stopped me with a big smile and asked would I like to buy a raffle ticket for the paralympians. Of course I was happy to make a small donation. These people don’t get the same funding and exposure as our able bodied athletes, and let’s face it, it must be so difficult in some cases depending on the disability to even get to Olympic level.

So the young man started with his well-rehearsed speech, telling me the packages started from $500 – yes you read it right, $500 – and went down to $30.

I told him that amount did not suit my budget, but not to worry he told said, we have an EFTPOS machine I could use. I took my purse from my bag and gathered all my gold coins and told him I wasn’t too worried about the raffle tickets, but I was happy to make a donation. No, he said, I can’t take that, we don’t have a tin. I couldn’t believe he actually refused my donation.

It was only about nine dollars, but if everyone he stopped gave him nine dollars, or even one dollar, it was one dollar they didn’t have a minute ago, and I wonder what paralympians would think knowing there were donations being refused because they weren’t enough. I told him in that case we could not do business and walked off.

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My daughter worked for many years with a large national charity and told me they went down this route too. In the first year their donations dropped by almost half, because people objected to being told how much they would donate rather than what they wanted to donate. That is when my daughter left, as it got too much for the workers on the front line being abused by those who had been very good at donating for years, but were suddenly not given a choice as to how much they were going to donate.

Am I being too harsh? By the way the young man didn’t get around to telling me what the raffle prizes were. That could have been an incentive for some to buy one of the packages he had on offer.


What do you think? Have you been in this same situation? Share your thoughts below.