Cancel Any Time!

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.


7 thoughts on “Cancel Any Time!

  1. I don’t think they should be allowed to set up outside shopping centres like they do. They set up a table right outside the door to my Woolworths so they can attack everyone who walks by, it’s really confronting and it puts me off supporting them. I just look at them and shake my head as I walk by and they don’t bother me.

    My mother has had the same problem since my father dies – the charities he supported keep ringing her asking for money – doesn’t seem to matter how many times she tells them no. Actually you just reminded me that I meant to get their details from her so I can ring them and tell them to leave her alone.

    • That’s terrible thay they’re hassling your mother. I wonder how many grief-stricken people get talked into continuing these donations.
      They’re always right outside supermarkets or right at the entry/exit of a shopping centre, there’s no excape!

  2. I used to be a charity fundraiser. I lasted nearly a month before being told I wasn’t aggressive enough, as I refused to ask broke people more than once if they could afford to support whatever charity. It’s a rubbish job- the charity you advocate for changes every month, and so you never actually have the chance to believe in any one of them. Sometimes you even get them mixed up.

    Also,we had the same problem after my granddad died, the exact same kind of letter actually. It was upsetting and we withdrew from supporting that charity altogether.

    it sucks, because worthy causes end up being ignored/ annoying/ unacceptable, just because they choose to have a bunch of shouty people harass the general public in this way.

    (end rant)

  3. I like charities where they at least do something or sell something like a teddy bear. When they accost me outside of a store and prey on guilt, it is more than annoying. Most stores seem to have someone there too, one week it is this then the next it is that..

    Don’t feel guilty for saying no, just smile and say no thank you and keep going. If you wish to donate to a charity, you can choose one at your leisure and make a more informed decision on how your money will benefit someone. Many “charities” don’t see much of what is donated, it is a bit disturbing.

    • Do charities have to hire out the positions they take outside of stores? I try to keep going but some of them sort of follow me, or it feels like they do, they’re really good at (briefly) reeling people in but they would do much better with a jar and a sign. Then people could just give some spare change and get going.

      • I would suspect each charity is different. Many are staffed with children if it is a children’s group. Either way, being accosted each time you enter a store becomes tedious. I know they need money to run their groups, but doing something to get the money adds more value to their cause I feel. They are good with guilt tripping.

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