Just after shredding a whole lot of appeal letters seeking donations for all kinds of charity accumulated over the months, I got yet another one today.
It was actually a full-color newsletter full of heart-tugging tales, with the donation form tucked discreetly among its pages. Even then, I’m upset by it as I’m by others that come regularly.
Sure, there are other unsolicited letters too: from property agents, banks, developers, tuition centers, restaurants, plumbers, publishers, you name it.
Such letters I can discard without a second thought. Commercial solicitations can be dealt strictly with the head. I have no use for what you’ve to offer, so straight into the rubbish chute with you!
Not so letters asking for the charity $, especially when they come with pamphlets or brochures detailing the wretched disadvantaged lives of the sick, poor and aged — here or overseas — complete with photos.
I even feel guilty for thinking that whoever sponsored the literature and the postage might have done better to direct the money spent to those on whose behalf they are making the appeal!
Worse are those letters which come with unsolicited cards, key chains and other trinkets purportedly made or assembled by the would-be beneficiaries.
What should one do? Respond with a cheque? Return the goodies to the sender? Or just dump them? Or heaven forbid, unconscientiously use them and not pay?
Years ago, when I wanted to earn tax deduction benefits, I happily gave my name, address and other details whenever I made a donation.
I rue that free dispensation of those details because I continue to be dogged to this day by appeals from bodies I had once upon a time supported, making me wonder why charities are like bottomless pits.
I know the Bible says the poor are always with us; but it certainly never said the needy would grow exponentially year after year.
That’s why I prefer the direct giving which I practise nowadays. I see someone in obvious need — I give. That way, unless I commit again the faux pas of giving the price of a meal to a vagrant right outside my home, I won’t be hounded repeatedly at my front door or via my mail box — so that I often end up not giving, out of sheer exasperation or fear that it will ignite a new trail of appeals.
Maybe those working to raise funds for the deserving should consider how potential donors feel to be badgered from all corners — in the post, in addition to what they encounter in the media and yes, from family and friends who each champion their pet cause.