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Why I feel bad about my latest charity donation…

I have signed up to support another charity – and am suffering already from donor remorse.

I was wandering around a consumer show yesterday afternoon when I was surprised to see a charity stand. It seemed incongruous among the other stalls, which were selling high price goods, although on reflection it made perfect sense – why shouldn’t they be there? 

The first mistake I made was to make eye contact with someone on the stand. Next, I engaged in conversation – an attempt to tell them I wasn’t interested. He responded by telling me they were way down on their expected number of sign-ups at that point in a show (about 60 per cent). I felt my resolve crumbling.

What really sealed the deal was the line -‘you don’t have to do it for long’, which I thought wasn’t allowed, and certainly isn’t a line that a charity would want promoted. But from that point on I was a goner.

To be honest, I felt a little bullied into it. I walked away from the stand a future £8 a month down and already regretting my decision. I was also calculating how long I could afford to support the charity and weighing up which of my other five charity donations I may have to cancel in order to accommodate this new direct debit.

I’m not naming the show or charity as I don’t want to get this individual into trouble. I was, in part, impressed and won over by his passion for the cause. He was directly employed by the charity and it showed.

But perhaps, because he wasn’t an agency personnel, he wasn’t as aware of the rules and regulations that govern face-to-face fundraising. He was also so desperate to increase the total number of sign-ups that he would resort to saying anything to overcome my shakey resistance.

I’ve decided to give them a few months and then review it later this year. But I don’t feel good about it. And surely that matters – doesn’t it?

  • Richard Chambers

    Now that Thatcher is gone I think everyone (even if they’d never say it) realises that she wrecked a public sector which used to do a significant percentage of the work that has since fallen upon charities.

    We are left with a world where you feel “guilty” about not giving to a charity, even though you already support FIVE others.

    I speak as a Charity Fundraiser of 18 years who is cheesed off (can you tell?) with the way we in which we have slid towards a Big Society attitude towards life. Charity was meant to be the Third Sector: a way in which people and animals could be helped in the absence of private or public sector provision.

    It has been reduced to a constant parade of school bake sales just so that children can have books, because our bankrupt, market-led, too-big-to-fail ‘economy’ can’t collect the taxes owed to the state (yes, STATE, I said it).

    Stop feeling guilty, Britain. You are the most charitable nation on Earth. But the limit has been reached.

    And, yes…I am available for children’s parties.

    • Richard Hogg

      Not sure that the limit has been reached! Just that there’s more and more asks – and what folk need to learn is to say no and just support causes that they actually care about rather than knee jerk reactions to stunning creative or sob stories from an animal charity at Grand Designs Live?

      I was taken aback when I saw them there as well – steered well clear of them and kept to the stuff I couldn’t afford!

  • Charlotte Parker

    Sometimes I feel like the more I give, the more I have to give! What makes one charity more worthy of my money than all the others? I find myself questionning whether the charities that I give regularly too should be the ones that I support, or whether there are more deserving causes out there. But I could never cancel any of my direct debits to charities – I would feel way too guilty!

    Similarly with friends doing sponsored events, should I choose which friends to sponsor based on the event that they are doing, or on the cause that they’re supporting? Either way I’ll be left with guilt for not sponsoring all of them.

  • Polly Gowers

    At Give as you Live we’ve seen some of this sentiment expressed in the initial 8,000-strong results of our Donor Survey (you can download the 2012 report at http://www.digitaldonorreview.com).

    I appreciate the complexities around donor fatigue – that’s why I believe it’s important for charities to actively support complementary ways to give, particularly with shifting consumer behaviours in the digital age.

    New ways of fundraising online, such as Give as you Live, can become additional revenue streams for charities without cannibalising existing donor activity, as an extra source of unrestricted and recurring revenue. We’re committed to becoming an established tool in the charity toolbox for those who, for many reasons, can’t or don’t give through Direct Debit.