07 October 2005

Minor gripe about the "kind and self-righteous"

I just wanted to bitch a bit about folks who are moved to charitable giving, but seem to feel that it's so incredibly magnanimous of them to want to give their money that the charitable organization they've chosen ought to bend over backwards to accommodate the manner in which they choose to give. I work with several organizations that help local homeless and low-income folks, and these donors that someone I know called "the kind and self-righteous" seem to be all too plentiful. It creates a huge amount of special work for organizations that want to make their donors happy, but aren't equipped to guarantee that certain monies go only to clients of a particular race, or that donors be billed not monthly or yearly, but on an irregular schedule, or that they be solicited once and only once per year.

So here's my cheeky advice for those who want to give. I don't care if you want to give $10 or $1M. If you want to help someone, find an organization that's helping and ask them how you can help. If their established ways of working don't suit you, then I suggest one of three options:

1) Look for another charity that suits you better,
2) Start your own aid organization, or
3) Get over yourself and just give as that organization is equipped to receive.

It's wonderful that you want to help others, but that doesn't make you a VIP. It makes you a real, blessed human being. Charity organizations are run on a shoestring, and they cannot make up new policies, procedures, and working models for every donor. Many of these organizations try to do that, but they shouldn't have to. In my opinion, donors have the right to expect exactly three things from the groups they donate to: that they be kept anonymous upon request, that they receive some form of thank-you, and that they get a receipt for tax purposes. Asking anything else is asking too much.

Anyway, that's my bitch for the evening. Take care.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

makes bucketloads of sense...

great to remember, as i'm about to give my annual $10M, and was hoping to get a separate receipt for each dollar given printed on a red M&M so i could be self-righteous while i snack.

seriously, i hear you -- it is such a waste of resources for a charity to have to accommodate people -- it must put them in a crazy predicament.