The donation dilemma

I always felt terrible when I answered our phone and said, “Sorry, we aren’t donating in response to telephone calls anymore”.

The truth is, when both my wife and I were working full time and had high disposable income, we almost always donated to the many different organisations whose reps called. We never kept a track on how much we donated. It was a bit like bees to honey – it seemed that the more we gave, the more we were called; by the same organisations, month in and month out.

Was there a grape vine that linked all charitable organisations which, once one had donated, raised a green flag for all the others? It sure seemed that way. We became inundated with callers with the worst weeks having seven or more charitable calls.

Add to that the scam callers, you know, the calls purportedly from the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Federal Police, Microsoft Technical Department, and people trying to sell us a solar electricity system and it became too much.

The dozens of calls eventually killed the golden goose.

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We made a decision never to answer our land line. Anyone who called could leave a message if they wished and we would call back if we wanted to. It worked very well, although we occasionally forget to ignore the phone and answered. Most times it was a request for money.

If we didn’t need our phone for ADSL internet connection, we’d cancel it.

The dilemma with phone calls is that if you provide your credit card details, you may be playing into the hands of a fraudster as they are known to call representing charitable organisations in order to get your details.

If you don’t donate, organisations with a genuine need miss out.

Many charities would call us in the Northern Territory to donate to a charity that only provided services to people in their state. We still donated, but we often wondered why we would support a charity that was peculiar to one state – not ours.

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How did we solve this dilemma?

As a result, my wife and I have chosen several charitable organisations to whom we now regularly donate. One is a medical research fund which we chose because the innovations and discoveries they make will benefit not only people who live in the Northern Territory or some other Australian state, but everyone on the planet.

An ex-serviceman, I always donate to the Returned Services League and there are several others on our list.

We donate by accessing the internet sites of the relevant charities. The sites have secure transaction systems and we know where our money is going.

The point is, we are now on much lower fixed incomes so we need more control over the amount we are donating, to whom, and how often We have also eliminated the risk of providing credit card details to criminals and we aren’t getting any more calls.

The grape vine that worked so well between charitable organisations has also spread the word – don’t call the Henrys because they have stopped donating. That suits us fine, being able to control our own affairs much more closely.

Do you donate? How do you monitor the amount, frequency and charities to whom you donate?