Photo: janineomg on flickr
Whenever possible, I try not to be a jaded American who consumes but never gives back.One of my deepest values is to give back, to donate my time and money when I have it to causes I care about.
Even when I’ve been busy and broke, I’ve made it a point to give a little something, but have been terribly frustrated with the state of charity.
There causes that are close to my heart- supporting children who have survived abuse and neglect, giving everyone access to food, shelter, education and healthcare and of course, rescuing pugs.
Well, I wanted to donate to a healthcare organisation that helps impoverished women until I found out that like most organisations- they could not ensure that my information would not be shared with other organisations. I decided immediately not to donate and closed the donation window on my browser, totally frustrated.
See, I already had more keychains, return address labels & window clings that I would ever ask for. I was sick of it.
I hate to ever say I made the “mistake” of donating to a friend’s team for a Leukemia walk a few months ago, but previously I was relatively “charity junk mail” free since relocating to Chicago. A few months after my small donation to her Leukemia walk, I began receiving donation letters to charities I had never heard of.
My measly $10 donation to my friend’s charitable walk got me on lists upon lists of non-profits who began sending me way too much junk mail. Keychains, stickers, bookmarks…all that cost money- namely donation money.
What are these charities trying to accomplish? Not only am I annoyed that I my information has been sold to charities I don’t have any interest in donating to (Hey, I’m all for saving the wolves, but I’m more about saving children), but I’m disenfranchised that my donation money would be used to send out additional keychains and stationary to other unsuspecting good Samaritans who are getting dragged into their net since they supported something else.
I don’t want my donation money to be used to send keychains and other crap. I don’t want my information to be shared with other organisations if I donate to one. I just want to know that I can do good without feeling bad about it and contributing to frustrated patrons and fuller landfills.
I know companies like TOMS get a lot of guff since they’re a for-profit company, but they seem to be succeeding where other organisations are failing. Where all of these worthy-causes are alienating people like me, at least TOMS gives people who care the respect to not hassle them after they donate or throw our information to the wind. You buy your shoes or sunglasses and you’re done, no surprises from 5 other shoe companies sending you catalogues 4 months later.
So what are we to do if charities don’t even have the option of opting out? In emailing several charities I wanted to donate to, none could promise or provide an opt-out option for those of us who don’t our information to be shared.
Additionally, I really want to send the message to non-profits that sending me junk is the absolute worst way to get me to donate.
Am I the only one who is totally fed up? I know there must be some way to do-good without feeling like you’re being scammed or harassed, could you help a sister out? What are your favourite organisations and how do you control your privacy?
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