One of the things I dislike the most about going to the grocery store – and there are many – is the inevitable table immediately outside the entrance/exits to the building, populated by the Good Cause of the Day. Looking for money.
I totally get that these are worthwhile organizations representing disabled veterans, volunteer fire departments, school teams, girl scouts, boy scouts, church groups, etc. I like supporting them with a little here and there. But I hate having them look at me with their big puppy dog eyes, trying to sell me food or simply make a donation to support their cause. It’s not that they are bad causes, it’s just that they are everywhere, all the time.
I have donor fatigue.
Public radio has upped their quarterly fund drives to what seems like a week every month, each time pleading with me to help them meet their goal. I’ve been a supporter for years and always make a donation, but have to decide whether to give it all at once or spread it out through the year so I don’t feel guilty for not “pick[ing] up the phone and call now to speak with one of our volunteers.”
I give money to the Salvation Army and the food bank, and contribute regularly to Weather-Generated Crisis of the Month, such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. I buy school supplies to donate even though I’ve never even had a child much less been involved with public school since I graduated.
But my money only goes so far. I have a careful budget that always significant charitable contributions – but I don’t always contribute to the same causes every year. I wish they would just leave me alone to make my decisions. The more I hear from the American Cancer Society looking for my annual donation, the less I want to give them money – even though I know there is need.
The devastation in Pakistan caused by horrendous flooding, with impending disastrous medical complications, breaks my heart. But I have no more money left in the budget to contribute. Please understand. I feel horribly guilty that I can’t give to everyone who needs it, but there are always causes, people, emergencies that need support.
No one “makes me feel guilty” – I do that to myself. I make responsible choices but there are limits to what I can do. I just want to do more, but even that would never be enough for the need, especially in these difficult economic times.
I am only one person. Please help and give what you can where you can, within reason and with consideration. Include $40 or so to give in donations at the grocery store tables. They are underfunded, too. Being annoyed with them doesn’t make it any better, for them or for you. Or me.