Being charitable doesn’t come naturally, I get riled up every time I step onto Birmingham’s main street and prepare myself to run the gamut of chuggers waiting to accost the unaware shoppers. It’s like the Pamplona bull run but running at the herd instead of away from the clipboarding hoard.
If I was to be in a position where I didn’t have to work and I could turn myself into a much less rich Bill and Melinda Gates I’m not sure who I could help. As well as dealing with the workers of Charity Militant I also struggle with who I should choose to help.
It’s very mean of charities to ask you to decide between who is the most worthwhile cause. Pick between this sad child and this sad puppy, our cancer is worse than their cancer, which human rights abuse angers you most.
I have finite resources to be able to help those in need, I am not rich enough to donate to all and there is not enough time to lend a hand.
I was once called by a representative from an old people’s charity who wanted me to go around handing out leaflets one afternoon. The topic of the leaflet was for ways the elderly could be more mobile and self-sufficient and the cold caller was a bit confused as to why I wouldn’t book an afternoon off work to help. I’m not entirely sure she appreciated my suggestion that if the elderly wanted to be more mobile and self-sufficient then rather than spending the afternoon watching “Cash in the attic” with their paid for TV licence they could pop on the bus with their free bus pass and hand out some flyers themselves.
I’ve also had clashes with cancer charities who use emotional blackmail to extort a monthly Direct Debit from you because if you don’t you’re effectively a bad person. My argument that cancer (and lots more science) research should be paid for by the government and that charities help absolve them of their moral obligation wouldn’t help her meet her target sign up volumes.
This is the problem with a lot of causes, if you don’t contribute you are a shameful, selfish and uncaring individual. There have been institutions like this in the past that have challenged your sense of good and threatened eternal damnation upon your soul if you don’t contribute a regular tithe.
Perhaps that is the thing about causes, their chief weapon is surprising you on the street, surprise and fear of being a bad person, fear and surprise. The two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency with collecting Direct Debits. The *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the eradication of Panda cruelty. The*four*…no… *Amongst* their weapons…. Amongst their weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.