Cowart's Common Room

How do you deal with charities? (Maybe we should have this as a homework). Of course what you give - in time or money - and who you give it to is something personal. I have a small selection of charities that I support via a monthly order - but then there are all the rest. Charity appeals fall out of newspaper and magazines, they are on the radio and television, they are on the street and come through the letterbox. They even ring the doorbell and demand you sign up (RSPCA) to a monthly standing order. Two teenage girls, they were and when I offered them a donation they said they couldn't take cash. They could only take standing orders.

On my pending pile I counted seventeen good causes the other day all asking for money and the trouble is if you fill in the form so that they can collect the Gift Aid then you are forever on their mailing list. But what I would like to know is whether I am a mean and stingy old git, or whether I am unduly generous or whether I am in the middle of the giving to charity spectrum in relation to my disposable income? I would also like to know whether it is better to concentrate giving to just one or two charities or should one share the pot? (I am thinking of the charities administration) And how do you judge between The Lifeboats, say, or Alzheimer's research, or Water Aid? I feel there ought to be guidelines for a concerned citizen to follow. And then when I see the government wasting so much money (we've just seen a road junction here costing over 1 million which no-one wanted and which just impedes traffic flow) I wonder what is the point of my bothering at all? Any ideas?

Posted at 30th Jul 2013 - 04:01PM   Posted by Fennie   Charities Comments: 9

KitKatCot's Avatar I don't know how I decide who to give to, but I do make a concious decision. If I don't want to I don't give no matter how much they shake the tin at me. I give to the RNLI although I don't particularly like the sea. I give to Wateraid because it was set up by a friend of mine. And although I never allow those young people (schools, clubs etc) who collect in supermarkets to pack my bags, I do give them a donation 'cos they're local. I always give to the Poppy Appeal.

I either give or I don't... and I don't give to anyone who shakes a tin at me.

Posted by: KitKatCot on 30th Jul 2013 at 06:33PM

Withy Brook's Avatar They are not allowed to actively shake a tin at you and they should be 'chastised'!
I have my short list of standing order charities. They are either associated - Arthritis Research and Multiple Sclerosis, or I have some connection like an Arabian children one in the Holy Land and of course the Church. Otherwise I seldom give one offs, unless they are friends who need sponsorship. Also to one of the major charities after disasters. Postal appeals go straight into the recycling, as do add on appeals from anyone I support regularly.
We cannot save the world, so just do what you can and do not be bullied or cajoled.

Posted by: Withy Brook on 30th Jul 2013 at 06:43PM

Blackbird's Avatar I have several, well, interests that I support a bit- not charities really but the library, a public botanical garden and several museums. In Seattle, there's been a day set aside in May where your financial support is matched in kind with corporate money and so I do my gifting then.

I hate door-to-door solicitors and also the ones who pester you in front of stories or on busy corners and have sometimes shopped elsewhere to avoid them.
I am a sucker for neighborhood children- either to sponsor them in an event or to buy a cookie. And disaster relief too- even without the cookie.

It does make you wish that you had more money to spread around- there is so much need.

Posted by: Blackbird on 31st Jul 2013 at 05:40AM

Faith's Avatar There IS so much need, but as Withy says you can't save the world. I think we all have different charities we support, maybe at different stages of our lives. Some days I might be feeling particularly broke and don't want to donate to anyone, and others, by chance I feel rich, and so the tin shaker is lucky, or rather the charity is. I have my particular charities like The Salvation Army that I support on a regular basis. As to neighbourhood children....there was a young boy with a violin in a quiet corner of the town the other day - probably he was collecting for himself, but I admire that sort of enterprise, so I threw 50p in this open case.

Posted by: Faith on 31st Jul 2013 at 07:45AM

Ivy's Avatar I work for a charity every fortnight ( church funded helpline for women/ mothers) and I sponsor a girl in India through a German based organisation that has a very good reputation. Our old clothes go to a local organisation that supports homeless people locally and I try to buy the street magazine from the same vendor when possible once a month. I often get tempted when I see those adds and requests for donations on TV but often don't pay in the end because I believe it is better to bundle your resources than give a little to everyone. But i am not 100% sure if that is the correct tactic. But I think one steady commitment is better than a short flash of good once in a while...
Also I don't quite understand how charities can buy so much space in magazines and for TV adds as the money they have comes from donations that were not intended for PR but for needy people. I do understand that they need to make their case known but not at that scale -I think--

Posted by: Ivy on 31st Jul 2013 at 08:07AM

Arosebyanyothername's Avatar I work one afternoon a week in the Dog's Trust shop. I give to WaterAid, and LendwithCare (a very worthwhile cause where you lend money to entrepeneurs in poorer countries so that they can build up a business to support their familes. You need only lend a small amount and you get it back in time ready to lend again to someone else). There is a website if you are interested.
I give the money to Big Issue sellers but never take the paper as it is just one more thing to throw away later.
We have frequent street collections here (as elsewhere) and I usually give to those.
I never buy anything from or give to anyone knocking on the door and I give short shrift to charity cold callers too. Too intrusive!

Posted by: Arosebyanyothername on 31st Jul 2013 at 10:16AM

Fairy Nuff's Avatar I have my own favourite charities who get donations regularly, the RNLI and our local Hospice.
Others get more occasionally or when something major happens through the likes of DEC.
Stuff that comes through the door or out of magazines just gets recycled along with all the advertising.
We get very few phone calls or door calls and are rarely in town so don't come across many street collectors.

If someone gets pushy I just switch off, however they are collecting and I can't stand mushy pull at the heart strings advertising either it also turns me off.

Posted by: Fairy Nuff on 31st Jul 2013 at 10:22AM

Fennie's Avatar Thanks for all these very interesting responses. It was specifically all the appeals that fall out of magazines that worry me and you seem to ignore most of these. Maybe I am too soft-hearted. Maybe bundling your resources - as Ivy says - is the best way and rather than give 10 to ten charities give 100 to one.

Posted by: Fennie on 31st Jul 2013 at 01:22PM

Camilla's Avatar I always support the NSPCC Charity which I have done for many years now, I pay by direct debit through my bank each month. Being a victim myself when youngerSadI feel very strongly about the need to help vunerable children who are abused. Although I support this charity I do on occasions at other times receive a letter in post asking if I would perhaps like to give another one off payment, sometimes I do.

I always support the Poppy Appeal every year. Soldiers who died fighting for our country so that we may live on.

RSPCA too as you know I am passionate about animals. When there is a Children in Need each year asking that could we give for this charity I always send a donation.

There are so many other charity's that I would like to give to but of course can't donate to all of them. As Withy says we can't save the world but at least we can help some of them.

I always give to Charity shops by way of second hand clothing now and then, The British Heart Foundation and the other is Cancer Support. I used to bag up second hand clothes into a bag that is either sent to me through the post or is dropped on my doorstep saying please leave bag of items on the front of your property for a certain day when the van will be in the area for collection. Until I heard that these people are not actually sending bags of items to charity's but are keeping for themselves instead.

Posted by: Camilla on 31st Jul 2013 at 01:31PM

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