I support various charities when I can. By that I mean I’ll buy a pen, teddy bear or whatever else they happen to have or I’ll donate money. I haven’t got a lot of money of my own but I like to help out when I can and I don’t really miss $5 here or there.
I do not support the charity workers who approach me in shopping centres and try to get me to sign up to monthly donations. I try to be nice, I understand that they are probably working on commission and it can’t be nice having people try to avoid them all day. It always starts with a charming young guy or girl saying, “Hi! How are you today?” or, “Hi! Can I have a minute of your time?” When I stop and listen it turns into a bit of a sales pitch. I stop them when it gets to the part that it’s a monthly donation and I explain that I cannot afford to do monthly donations but I would be happy to make a one off donation. They say that they cannot accept one off donations but if I sign up I can cancel at any time. This isn’t always so easy.
Firstly, making phone calls is scary to me. Calling a charity to tell them I can no longer support them, after say one donation, sounds really intimidating.
Secondly, my grandmother supported various charities when she was alive and after she died, one charity still wanted donations. When my mother called them to explain that she had passed away, they said something like, “Oh, I am sorry, would you like to continue the donations for her?”
After I have tried to explain that I do not want to hand over my details and do not want to be signed up to a monthly donation, the tone of whoever approached me changes. They become less friendly, insist that it’s not much money and try to make me feel guilty. That’s why I generally try to avoid these people.
I have two main ways of avoiding these charity stands. I listen to music as I walk past but usually they talk anyway, which means I have to pull out my headphones and tell them sorry, I can’t help them. The other way is by developing a stare, far off into the distance. I pretend there is something really interesting which has caught my attention so I don’t have to talk.
I feel their eyes on me. I feel like they are judging me if I walk past with a bag of groceries. I’ve seen one girl roll her eyes when I said I couldn’t afford to sign up to anything.
Of course I would love to have the money to support many charities. I admire charity work and I understand what it’s like to need help, however if I ever have lots of disposable income, I’ll exercise my freedom to choose whom I donate money to.