Thursday, September 2, 2010

Timing Is Not Always Everything

Each year it seems as if holiday decorations get earlier and earlier. No matter what the holiday is, the decorations and candy are in the stores at least two months before the event. My children have also noticed that the Back to School sales start in July. In our state, the Back to School "tax holiday" was the first full weekend of August. Our county doesn't start back until September 7!

This is so much a part of the landscape now that it seems normal and we just chalk it up to China needing to keep all their people employed making stuff Americans don't know they need.

Now the non-profits and charities are jumping on the bandwagon. Yesterday I was accosted by the firefighters collecting for MDA and I got a little annoyed.

Raising money for MDA on a national scale started in 1955.  Jerry Lewis did the first MDA telethon in New York that year.  It went 16 1/2 hours and raised $600,000.  Since then, the telethon has expanded to encompass the entire Labor Day weekend. Each year it was bigger and flashier and goopier than the year prior.  And that's fine -- I don't watch TV and even if I did, I could turn it off or tune it out.

But in extension of the MDA telethon, several years ago the Firefighters across the country started their "Fill the Boot" campaign for MDA. They stand at major (dangerous) intersections and weave between cars collecting money for MDA. Around my house, to get to and from the places I go every day, I have to go through 3-4 of these intersections.

Let me say here that I have NO problem with people collecting for charities. And if the firefighters want to do this, it's a good thing. (If I were a competing charity I might question the use of county equipment and personnel for so singular a purpose, but I'm not a competing charity so we'll leave that argument for another day).

My beef is that they are now doing it for SIX days. If they start on Wednesday, and go through Monday . . . you do the math. When my kids were little and it was one weekend, it was fun to give them each a dollar to give to the boot. Now I'm just worn out from trying to avoid being a Scrooge.

The wiseGeek gives this as one of the reasons for donor fatigue:
In other instances, people grow frustrated with constant appeals for donation. Charities which constantly send out mailers, hold phone drivers, and use other tactics to ask for donations can tap out the patience of their potential donors, who start to feel irritated, rather than philanthropic. Many charities try to stick to one major campaign a year for this reason, although donations are of course welcome year round.

and they add:
Charities can take steps to avoid donor fatigue such as launching limited, concise campaigns and demonstrating the work that they do for interested donors.

So are the charities listening?  LIMITED. CONCISE.


quilly said...

I sent relief aid to Haiti through a fun raising effort my niece's daughter was involved in. since then the sponsoring company has sent me requests for more every single week! I get a couple post cards in my mailbox monthly and an email every Monday. I think they have spent all of the money I donated in an effort to get more money out of me.

Judy Sheldon-Walker said...

I have placed my phone no. in a do not call registry. With four children out of work, 25 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren my pocket already has too many hands in it. I am all for charities, but I'm tapped out!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Loved reading your blog...Have a great holiday weekend.
I have a GREAT HOLIDAY ORNAMENT GIVEAWAY on my blog...drawing on Mon.

SouthLakesMom said...

Quilly - I agree with this. When I ran a marathon in 2006 it was a major fund raiser for Leukemia & Lymphoma. All my family and friends, and friends of the mutual friend I ran in memory of, donated. They (and I) am still getting mailings. My grandmother was the smart one. She sent ME a check and told me to put it towards that rather than giving them her name and address.

Judy -- the Do Not Call registries do not apply to charities, although I've noticed since our number has been on such a registry the calls have dropped significantly. And if the charity has hired a fundraising agency (like all the cops do around here), then they're barred...still, some do slip through! I LOVE to give things away and I LOVE to be generous with things God has provided to us, but I think He gave me a brain to think and two knees to kneel on while I ask Him about it!

Teresa - thanks! I'm on my way over!

Pat said...

I so agree with you! The best way to donate to a non-profit organization is to go directly to their website, not to give when their hired agency calls you on the phone. When you give through the phone-caller, sometimes the charity gets as little as 15% of your gift!