I am bombarded on social media by charities and charitable pages wanting me to like/share them. I am regularly phoned at home by charities wanting money. I receive begging letters from various organizations in the post, and I receive frequent emails about the same thing. I have volunteers at my door and I have charity people jumping at me with clipboards as I walk from meeting to meeting in town. When I say no, I am met with cool (and sometimes not so cool) frowns of displeasure. Sometimes people mutter under their breath at me. It has happened that I have received a lecture on not being so selfish.
I should state here that I do contribute. I contribute 1% of my income to the Roman Catholic Church, I volunteer at the local cat shelter as well as sponsoring a cage there, I pay for schooling for two children in South Africa, I financially support two wolf sanctuaries, I donate money monthly to Hope for Paws, The Fluffy Pet Foundation, Anti Rhino Poaching and Cancer Research. I buy hygiene products for a local women’s shelter once a month and donate all my unwanted clothes and other items to the local organisation for the homeless. I belong to a political party and I financially contribute there as well. When I die my entire estate is going to the local animal shelter (yes I am one of those!). I do not donate any clothes or household items for charities in Africa because these items are usually sold by local middlemen and form unfair competition to local businesses.
I honestly feel that is enough. If I gave to every single charity that was asking for money I would be so deep in debt it wouldn’t be true. And more and more organisations would be there with their hands out. Each of them expecting more and more. Where does it end? Charities just seem more about big business than anything else these days. Charity shops set ridiculously high prices on things, seemingly wanting to compete with the High Street – in fact in many areas in Britain these days, they ARE the High Street. The people on the other end of the phone seem to be employed or paid commission on donations the way they badger you. If you do give and go onto their list of donors, suddenly you are expected to give more and more and more. Each charity seems totally oblivious to the fact that they are only one of many bombarding each person with requests. As the charities grow bigger and bigger surely the operating costs eat up larger and larger percentages of the donations they receive?
Begging also seems to be on the increase everywhere. Coming from Africa as I do, I am quite hardened against the most pathetic looking people begging. If I am in a position to do so I usually offer people who are begging food instead of money. I sometimes carry sandwiches and spare clothing with me or I offer to buy the person a hot lunch. 95% of the time I am turned down. More than once my proffered food and warm clean clothing have been thrown into the bin in front of me. Other times I have been sworn at.
I just feel that somewhere it has to end. Are there too many charities these days fighting for the same piece of the pie? Have the people who are in need increased? Has the system failed them in a way it did not before? Do people expect the system to help where before the family and the community would have rallied around them? Have the number of diseases, disorders, and worthy causes outgrown the base which has to support them? Or does the explosion of social media mean that the message is everywhere all the time – not just charities but private people needing financial help with their sick pet/child or causes/diseases. Every month there seems to be another ‘Disease of the month’ where there are products and campaigns to support it. Do you know how many ‘ribbons’ (like the ones in the picture above) there are? 48. I often wonder how many of the Pink October products in support of breast cancer actually go to support breast cancer. I cynically believe that most of the companies just put boobs on a cake or make things in pink in October to jump on the bandwagon.
Whatever the reason, I am suffering from charity fatigue. I have no compassion left to give. All I am starting to feel now is increasing bitterness and resentment with each passing call. Is there anyone out there who feels the same or am I just a horrible, horrible person?