When it comes to donations where do you draw the line?

I know we all struggle from time to time financially. I also realise it must be quite difficult for charities

I know we all struggle from time to time financially. I also 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.

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.

Originally published here

    • I don’t ask myself that .. I ask what impact that charity has on the world.

  1. Very common nowadays, I did the same as you. I pick two different charities each year to support and don’t feel bad giving a firm no to the rest.

  2. Anonymous  

    I only give to animal charities that can be seen to be doing good.

  3. We walk a Guide Dog puppy. It takes more time and work than most people realise – that’s our charity plus one other we choose to support financially

    • Lyn Schedue  

      I wanted to donate a pure bred Labrador puppy to Guide dogs when my two had a litter of ten and they refused to take it because I didn’t register them, now I see they even use mixed breeds. That pup turned out to be a beautiful and intelligent companion to the person I sold him to

  4. The charities that I supported before I retired keep hounding me for further donations of “only ten dollars per ticket” Ten dollars has to go a long way now. Then you hear that only a very small per cent goes to the charity the rest is in overheads. No thank you.

  5. Sounds fishy to me. I no longer give cash now. I give used clothes to local Hospice and donations of food to Foodbank. When you give a cash donation, such a high percentage of each dollar you give goes to administration, there’s very little actually gets through to the people.

    • So true Jean, I too have stopped giving cash. Can donate goods and time, but have experienced 1st hand how companies pay workers to collect . High cost to the charity

    • Do not give to collectors or to phone callers, but there are many charities doing very good work without massive admin costs. Do some online research.

    • I volunteer my time as my budget is tight. It amazes me some of the hard sells and antics some of the charities employ.

  6. Same thing happened to me here in England, only it was for the blind dogs. He wouldn’t take any cash, you had to sign up on a monthly basis. On television here it is hard not to see a group of ads without a begging one. And they are all for you to sign up, also on a monthly basis. I won’t donate to a charity if I don’t know how much actually goes to the people or animals. And, how much the CEO receives.

  7. Here in the UK there was a scandal when an old dear lady jumped off a bridge to her death. A factor was continual begging letters from numerous charities, who shared her details if she gave to one of them and she found it so hard to refuse. There are now investigations into these tactics ongoing here in the UK.

    • That’s sad. My mother in law in the
      uk is constantly pressured to donate either by phone or letter. She used to donate what she could afford til they all wanted her credit card details. Hence to say she no longer donates. Being a pensioner she couldn’t afford permanent committment. I think charities are getting greedy all over the world.

    • And its the CEO that benefit, not the needy. I have refused to donate at all except for Fire Brigades and SES. I did give every month to several charities when I was working. When I stopped working I couldn’t afford to donate as I needed every cent for living expenses and somehow one of these charities (who shall remain nameless but is a very prominent organisation and whom I thought was worthy) deducted monies out of my credit card account without my usual authorisation which was in the form of an invoice. Note that companies/organisations etc are supposed to delete all reference to credit card numbers/account numbers etc when processing donations/payments etc. Well that has put a rather nasty taste in my mouth so I do not give to any organisation anymore.

    • I remember reading about that poor woman. I also read articles about the reprehensible tactics some of these charities use to get money out of people. They are absolutely heartless.

  8. What gets me is the trend to blend charity and business. I got sucked in the first time I encountered this but not again recently. Whoever thought jamming charitable giving on to commercial sales was a good idea?? I’ll never return to these types of confused businesses.. A business is a business: a charity is a charity. Like other writers on here , I want to choose who if any org I give charity too. In fact I give very little hard cash but suppoert two charities of my choice in other ways.

  9. I draw the line when I read that CEO’s of some charities are on one hundred K and upwards of two hundred. Hello!!!!!

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