Tuesday, 10 February 2009

More Charitable Than Thou.

I’m reading Jeremy Clarkson’s book ‘And Another Thing...’ and reached a section about the charity bashes he attends or is invited to. He said, while looking around at the waiters, bands, caterers and entertainment, he wondered how much it all cost. After making enquiries as to how much money actually made it to the charities, the answer was disturbing.

‘Not a lot’. Most charities get a mention in the paper or a tiny percentage. It’s almost as if rich people use the charity as an excuse to have a party, get themselves some publicity and raise their self-esteem in regards to their philanthropy.

Personally, I believe the Karma of public giving has already been balanced. Nothing has been banked. Sometimes the accrual falls short. If the giver receives more benefit from the act than the charity itself, it’s a pretty poor reflection on that individual, (or company), whether you believe in Karma or not.

We’ve managed to bypass the guilt-tripping, holier than thou, door-knocking, telemarketing annoyances who wait until you’re sitting on the toilet, or engrossed in work, to interrupt you with tales of woe. They still waste my time, (although I’ve stopped answering calls that aren’t on our pre-approved list), as we won’t give money to these collectors anymore.

But that doesn’t make us miserly, skinflints and hard-hearted bastards. We aren’t.

For all its faults, my Wife’s employer, a major Australian-owned company, has a system for donating that can be taken directly from an employee's pay. Better yet, they vet the charity to make sure the money goes to the right place. And amazingly they match employee donations dollar for dollar. Sometimes two for one.

But armed with this fact I still have to face down the dubious or outright scornful collectors leaving our doorstep empty-handed. I don’t even know these people, and I don’t know what they get out of making me feel like a child murderer. For argument's sake, so what if I am lying? That’s between me and Karma. Where’s the percentage in bringing their charity's name into disrepute with snide remarks?

We are completely fine with our level of support to the extended community, and we get offended at some charity's unprofessional volunteers. These tin-rattlers have had a crash-course in ‘bunging on the guilt’. We got a good one recently. “So you don’t care about brain damaged children?”

Answers to questions like that is nitrous to the engine and I’ve found revving up their self-righteousness doesn’t get them out of our yard any quicker.

I have a new strategy to avoid fist fights. I give them the Wife’s employer’s number, and ask them to add their charity to the approved list. Then I put it to them directly. Which is preferable? A double donation into a charity's bank account or ten bucks right now that has to make it past a collector’s conscience.

Stop. Stop. Stop. You’re bashing the keyboard to tell me a few things about tar and brushes.

GUARANTEED delivery of a donation or POSSIBLE filching by the ‘carton of beer for my trouble’ collector. Do the math.


Tanya said...

We like to support thrid world countries by putting our dollars straight into their economies - mostly at restaurants and tut shops. Some of my friends have probably paid a years worth of wages for someone at the Beer Laos factory. Buying that frosty goodness makes me feel warm inside...

Coops said...

A mutually beneficial, and Karma friendly, method of sharing your wealth. My hat goes off to you.

I believe we did the same in Vanuatu. I reckon they are much more aware of the Aussie's capacity for beer and ice-creams now.

Jason said...

I agree totally, private numbers or unknown interestate numbers are not answered in this household - except when the kids get there first. Then you have to diplomatically say NO. I bet they dont ring james packer.