Oct 25, 2012

When charity comes calling

All of us, at one point or another, have been accosted by those selling charity. I am not being uncharitable in the alleged efforts of these people. I may not be the first to pay up, but when I see actual work happening and am convinced that my money is indeed being used for a cause, I will pay. What irks me, though, is when door-to-door salesmen of charity come calling and try to tug at your heartstrings hoping you will loosen your purse-strings!

A note to them all: It doesn’t work.

Why?

  1. High nuisance value: I don’t want to be disturbed when I’m at work. I don’t want to be disturbed on a Sunday afternoon. I am aware of your organisation and you walking into the office during the day or into my home on a Sunday will paint it negatively in my mind.
  2. Unnecessary emotional atyachaar: “You must surely be doing your bit already”, “These girls are just 17 and they have to work”. Yes, it’s sad. I know it’s unfortunate. But remember, I too have my limits. I too have a budget for just about everything. I would much prefer if you (after ignoring point 1) just came to the point and said “We are raising money for underprivileged children in XYZ. Would you like to help?”
  3. Don’t patronize me: You just walked into the office and started complimenting me on the staff (do you know any of them?), the decor, the company and our work (eh?). If anything, you just halved your chances of even getting me to listen to you. It doesn’t work for pesky salesmen and it sure as hell isn’t going to work even if you’re selling charity.

Charity, I believe, is a personal thing. It has to come from within. I am sure NGOs and other organisations have their reasons for sending such reps — btw, it would help if they had some identification just so I know I’m not being conned in case I do decide to pay up on the spot — and good luck to them. But I will do charity where I think it will help. Don’t try to make me feel guilty because I didn’t pay you Rs 50 or Rs 100.Charity has to come from the heart.

If you want me to respect your organisation, your work and your requirement, please, return the favour.

Again, I’m not against charity or charitable work. I am against this tactic of trying to raise money going door-to-door. I wish they wouldn’t try to commoditize it like it were socks.

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