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Giving to charity? Cash doesn’t seem to be welcome now…..

Surely any donation is worth having?......

I’m really intrigued to know what strategies the third sector are using to keep donations flooding in – are you?

The reason? In the last few months I’ve been heavily targeted by charities in order to get me to sign up, sign on or donate regularly – which is something I don’t want to do.

Recently I had a telephone call from someone claiming to be carrying out some research for a charity which has a shop in Swindon and they wanted my feedback on my experience of that establishment. Like an idiot, I answered the questions and then, hardly taking a breath, the young woman asked if I would sign up to £6 a month. When I challenged her that she had misled me initially, she denied this. I refused her offer, only for it to change to £3 a month for a longer period. She then launched into a really long spiel about being a private company which had pledged to raise blah, blah, blah for the charity and this company would be paid a fee of £75,000. That was some time ago and I blogged angrily about it at the time – I hate being cold-called, lied to and then when I say no, completely ignored.

But another local charity was collecting outside my local supermarket over the weekend. I do hate being accosted when I’m shopping and I get fed up when Sainsbury’s and others allowing customers to be hassled when doing a shop. But I can see it’s a legitimate way of fund raising. However, it is a matter of choice whether you give or not and I refuse to feel guilty for choosing not to give. On this occasion I was willing as it was Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

This organisation does fantastic, life-saving work and is deserving of our support. So I got out my purse and asked where I should put my donation of £5. I was then presented with a form and told that they couldn’t take any money today but I could only choose to sign up for a year or for a single donation of about £26.


How many people coming into or out of the supermarket that day would willing sign up to paying £26 minimum rather than give 50p or £1 or £5? Do they really find enough people who are willing to enter into a long-term commitment to give money to this charity? Is that better than getting people to ‘pay as you go’?

I know the air ambulance is losing a lot of funding shortly and that’s very worrying. But we are all in the same boat here and I believe the third sector should give people every single option when it comes to giving.

For me – I hate this ‘I’m going to make you commit’ approach. I don’t like to feel I’m being managed in this way, especially when it comes to money. As a business person, I ensure that clients or potential clients engage me in a way that suits their budget and cash flow. So some want long-term or medium-term support, others want to pay as you go.

So why didn’t this charity do the same? Many people who are out shopping are doing so on a restricted budget. Food bills have soared in the last couple of years. So I suspect that many shoppers would spare a pound or two, but will flatly refuse to give a much higher sum. Or they will take the paperwork and bin it at the earliest opportunity.

I’d be fascinated to know if this fund raising approach is working – maybe it is and I’m just being churlish. But experience of the third sector has taught me that people give the most when they have had a need, or someone they know has used an important service. That way people then do specific fund-raising events, sign up to a monthly commitment or leave something in a will.

What do you think?


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