Thursday, April 20, 2006

Guilt is not a good motivator.

If, like me, you have ever given money to any type of charitable foundation, (or even if you haven't) you have likely found yourself on a mailing list of various local and national charities. People mail you asking you to donate to all the wonderful and worthy (mostly) causes.

And many of these seemed premised on the idea if they can make you feel bad about not giving, this will make you want to give. (Instead of making you want to burn the mean envelope). Some I have received, have taken on a tone akin to that of a collection agency, along the lines of, "If you have still not sent in your donation..." Now mind you none of these are things I have in any way promised or indicated that I would be donating to. These are not follow ups to a campaign where I promised to send money at a later date. These are unsolicited calls for donations.

And I get that this is how these organizations survive. But now it is creeping into other areas of my life. It's one thing to fend off random folks through mail, email and by phone. But now co-workers apparently think these same guerilla tactics are acceptable to use with co-workers. If you are participating in a walk, race or other fundraiser, I have no problem with you putting the information out there for those who may be interested to let them know how they can donate and/or participate.

But do not tell me that I really need to participate. You don't have any idea what my financial or philanthropical situation is. You are not in a position to tell me what causes should be important to me. Certainly some such as the homeless or cancer may seem like no-brainers (and again, I'm not saying that these aren't wonderful causes). But as an adult, I get to decide if, how, when and to whom I make my donations. My decision to participate or not participate is completely up to me. And if I decide not to participate, that doesn't make me a heartless person who is contributing to the spread of cancer. For all you know, I have already donated thousands of dollars to cancer-related charities. I may dislike the charity you have chosen. I may have chosen a more direct donation, where a higher percentage goes to the cause. So, step back a bit. And remember, when this race, walk, fundraiser, etc, is over - we still have to work together.

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