Charity

This lunchtime Miss W was out on a walk and a fundraiser for a charity stopped her. Miss W usually stops to listen to fundraisers even if she doesn’t give to them, but today she was a bit stressed and wanted to enjoy her walk.

So this is how the conversation went:

Fundraiser: Hi, would you like to give to xxx clean water charity?

Miss W: No, sorry (whilst walking past holding her phone in her hand)

F: You only need to send a text to donate…

MW: No, sorry.

F: Go on, why not? *looks down at Miss W’s phone* but you’ve got an i-phone 6!

MW: And?!?

Miss W was extremely tempted to correct him and tell him that her phone is actually an i-phone 6s, but thought that would be really pretentious… So she didn’t. Miss W understands that poor Mr Fundraiser is just trying to do his job and get as much money as possible for the charity he represents, but as she walked away she felt a bit disgruntled.

Does owning the latest model i-phone immediately mean that you have a load of money to spare? I probably (like most other i-phone owners) have substantially more disposable income than the people Mr Fundraiser is raising money for, and I thankfully have clean water, a warm home and I live in a safe country. However, this doesn’t mean I can afford to give money to all those who ask for it every day.

I often struggle with this issue. Is it my duty to be charitable towards those who have less than me? Which of the millions of charities in the world should I give to? How much? How often? How do I know what the money I give is really going towards? If you ever want to check how charities in the UK are using their money you can go here.

When Mr Fundraiser mentioned my phone I felt like I was being shamed into giving just because I am a supposedly “well-off” person.

There comes a certain point when there are so many charities and so much misery that we get compassion fatigue. We just can’t handle talking to one more fundraiser, hearing about another disaster, or about any more refugees. It sounds callous, I know, but sometimes it is hard to care about everyone. The more you see charities asking the lower your resistance and your tolerance becomes.

Miss W was shocked and quite upset that a charity would use tactics like that to get people to donate to them. Charity should be about giving because we want to give, because we believe in the cause, because we feel compelled to do so, not shamed or obligated.

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