Charity begins at home not at checkout

"The world of charitable donations has unfortunately become quite competitive and one wonders who is truly benefitting?"

In a recent Maclean’s magazine article titled “Cash Register Charity Holdup,” I see the same things happening locally. The trend of being asked to give money at the checkout uses techniques of public humiliation, shame and catching people off guard and are hardly worthy methods of trying to illicit new charity dollars.

One is reminded of the very invasive trend of using unsolicited telephone calls to request donations for charities.

Another trend to soliciting funds that I have seen developing recently is the hiring of an individual to raise money – their salary or contract is evaluated by how much money they raise.  Apparently many “qualified” fundraisers are now on the job across Canada!  And yet they only exist to serve the community through volunteerism in time and effort and have had so many notable, positive impacts.

I am concerned that some worthy organizations which choose not to spend huge amounts of money on solicitation like the Salvation Army and community groups such as Food Banks, Shelters, Youth Support endeavors, etc., are being negatively affected by the identified trends in fundraising used by large, well-funded regional, provincial or national organizations.

These charities are becoming overshadowed in the evolving competitive, in-your-face world of chasing charitable dollars.

Increasing charitable donations in Canada is a worthy goal but increasing donations to groups that have some retailers onside, and that have money to spend on solicitation may not be the answer – perhaps donations from individuals will simply be redistributed because there are personal limitations on the amount each has to give?

What new sources of funding should be explored?  How much thought and effort has been given to going back to a collective approach to seeking donations?  (The United Way struggles to stay alive because various large organizations like Cancer and Heart and Stroke have pulled out to raise more money on their own.)

The world of charitable donations has unfortunately become quite competitive and one wonders who is truly benefitting?

Jackie Drysdale

Rossland