Due to the recession, these groups are working extra hard to bring in donations, but they seem to be forgetting the very issue that is causing them to work so hard. That is, for the people who are out of work, donations may simply not be an option. If someone says 'No,' they probably mean NO. So, you'd think that these groups would move on. But not all of them.
Let's take the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as my example.
My mother's high school friend died of Leukemia. A British friend of mine is currently struggling with it. Therefore, I decided to make a donation to them this past March. Not huge. I think maybe $50? My husband's job was looking quite iffy at that point, so I didn't want to stretch it.
The first thing that struck me was that I almost threw away my receipt. It looked just like another solicitation,and I almost trashed it given I had just donated. But on a hunch I opened it, and in very small print was my receipt. I'm not even sure it said 'Thank You." If so, it was dwarfed by the huge "WE NEED MORE MONEY" above it.
We've gotten non-stop calls from them since then. My husband usually picks up the phone, so he's simply been telling them that I wasn't home. But this past week, I happened to be the one who picked up the phone. I was also the one who hung up on them 5 minutes later.
Here's a summary of our conversation:
LLS Caller: Hi, LLS needs more money.
Me: Didn't I donate to you already this year?
LLS Caller: Yes, but we need more money.
Me: Sorry, I only donate to each charity once a year. Call me back in 2010.
LLS Caller: You don't understand. We need more money
Me: No, you don't understand. I already gave you money.
LLS Caller: No, you don't understand. We have a donor who agreed to match all donations, so we need more money now.
Me: That's great. Hopefully that offer will still be on the table in 2010.
LLS Caller: No, it won't be. We need your money now.
Me: Sorry, it's not going to happen. My husband was laid off in May. I am working from a budget.
LLS Caller: I understand, but we need money now.
Me: I've already told you I am not going to give you more money this year. I'd like to end this conversation, now.
LLS Caller: We need your money. We can't wait
Me: I'm going to hang up on you, now.
LLS Caller: Don't you understand? We need your mon--
Maybe I'm not being sensitive to the urgent need. Maybe I'll be the one labeled as the Scrooge. But honestly, how much good am I doing to anyone if my family and I end up needing charity, ourselves?
Please, all you non-profits out there, please remember that you're not the only ones struggling. I recommend treating each donation as a gift rather than an entitlement. You might even get more money that way, in the long run.