Working on Third Sector means that I talk about charities outside work much more than I ever did previously.
As a consequence, I’ve been on the receiving end of a little hostility, the level of which has surprised me.
You see, I have the gall to donate to animal charities.
It seems, from some people’s reactions, that giving money to organisations that help our four legged friends, is considered worse than not donating to any charities at all.
‘How could you’, ‘what a waste of money’, and ‘think of all the people you could help’, have been some of the reactions I’ve encountered.
After one person’s particularly vociferous reaction I even felt the need to reply: ‘But I support human charities too’ – but apparently it wasn’t enough. The fact I adopted a donkey has irreparably lowered me in that person’s estimations.
It got me to thinking…why do we think we have the right to dictate who someone else gives their money to? In almost every case, I’d imagine it comes down to a personal link to a particular cause area that prompts someone to donate regularly . And I appreciate that some people may be particularly moved by a particular charity and want to enlist as many supporters as possible, but we need to respect people’s right to choose their own cause.
When I find out a friend, colleague or acquaintance regularly donates to a charity, I’m immediately impressed. I’m not bothered what cause has prompted them to give away their hard-earned money because it doesn’t matter, and want to applaud them for doing what so many people don’t.
Maybe others are donating in silence, because they’re too worried about being judged for their choice of recipient. I’ve certainly been made to think twice about admitting to supporting certain animal charities. Or they’ve been berated before for choosing the ‘wrong’ cause, and haven’t done it again. But I think it’s time we appreciate that giving is a personal choice, and in these hard times any and all donations should be being celebrated.