I have donated both time and money to the local food bank. I’ve sorted food at the distribution center and written a check. And for this, I’m punished. Oh, not terribly punitive in nature, but I get begging snail mail at least every month asking for more. Apparently, since I’ve donated more than once, I must be an easy target.
It isn’t just these people. We had to actually threaten legal action to get March of Dimes to stop calling here. Dick was one of the Mothers who sent out mailings one year. It was disastrous in terms of actually collecting any money. We spent more on postage than we got back in funds and the charity would have received more money if we had just sent it all to them and called it quits. That doesn’t even take into consideration the time and effort behind the campaign.
Then they wanted him to do this again. He said no, I said no, we both said no and they called nightly asking again and again and again right up until we threatened legal action to finally get them to stop.
When you give to a charity, it means you get on their mailing list and will be bombarded with requests until the sun goes nova or perhaps our galaxy collides with another, which ever comes last. All the begging gets tedious and it must be expensive. I know how much it costs for us to print and mail things at work.
And it isn’t even just charities. Speaking of work, the corporate office has a list of “touches” that are supposed to make me feel like a valued customer and happy with the services provided. They recommend … now get this … fifty fucking “touches” per year which seems more like sadistic mauling, if you ask me. Our office does not do the fifty touches, but we send out more crap than I think is reasonable. I’ve tried to mention to the bosses how this is just spam as far as I’m concerned.
The corporate office cannot fathom why so many people opt out of email correspondence even while recommending that we carpet bomb clients’ inboxes with repetitive, useless, unread, deleted emails. Because these emails are important to the company, they feel they must be important to the clients. Just like all the other spam that reaches my inbox.
Honestly, all of us know how to find our favorite charities and donate to them. All of our clients are more than passingly aware of our presence since we are a money business and everybody is watching their money these days.
And that last part is a big piece of the charity problem. Even those of us who are lucky enough to have some spare cash have just come through (at least I hope we are through – they [whoever they are] keep saying things are better) a bad downturn in the economy. Those with money left over are less sure they aren’t going to lose it in another recession/crash/downturn or whatever other euphemistic name we give to “lose lots of your accumulated money” the next time it happens.
The uncertainty and the aging of America as the baby boomers finally retire, are drying up funds for the charity organizations. So they need to repeatedly ask for donations to keep funding their projects. And, because charity has become big business, they have lots of overhead which costs cash.
I’ve listened to the TED talk about the necessity of marketing for charities and how they must spend money to get money. I understand. But I’m far less likely to donate to even beloved charities if they are going to continually nag, badger, beg, or touch me for more funding. It feels like any check sent in to help now is making a lifelong commitment where they get access to my wallet or heartstrings. I feel like a cad each and every time I’m minding my own business and one of these people begins to beg. My answer isn’t based on that, however, it just ruins my day and makes me less likely to sign up for more of this with another charity in the foreseeable future.