As I was paying for my petrol this week I looked down at the little machine I’d popped my card into.
The screen was asking me if I wanted to add 25p to the total bill for a charity.
I stared at the screen.
I could tell the man behind the counter was staring at me.
So I stared up at him.
Then I stared back down at the screen.
And pressed, ‘no’.
I have a love/hate relationship with charity.
I suppose I dislike the fact that they have to exist in the first place.
But I understand that they do.
The passion of those that love the cause pulls against the inadequacies or indifference of whoever or whatever should be helping out.
Charity fills the gap.
I do feel guilty sometimes though.
For not supporting, well, everything.
But that just can’t be done.
By me or anyone.
However I do also get annoyed by the fact that, sometimes, when I do support something – there is follow up.
I don’t like the follow-up.
The systems they’ve developed to ask me, who has given money once, for more money.
Again, I understand it.
But I don’t like it.
And I actually think that it works against the ultimate goal of increasing donations over time.
I popped a couple of quid into an OXFAM bucket a wee while ago.
And gave them my mobile number so they could text me something, or so I could text them something.
I can’t remember.
But I do remember them calling me one night at 7pm about a week later to chat to me about helping out in some other way.
I really didn’t like that.
Their short term grabbery has scuppered any chance of my long term sympathy for their cause.
There are other charities I can move to.
Unless they do the same of course.
And if they do, I’ll move again.
What’s a better way?
I’m not sure.
Telling the story well.
Building the brand so I understand the change they are making.
Making me feel part of something.
Clarity about exactly where the money goes to.
All these things help I suppose.
And even though half of the world’s wealth is owned by just 1% of the world’s population, they – whoever they are – don’t seem to be doing that much.
So in the meantime, let’s all chose a charity or two and help out where we can.
Just until they start calling us at home in the evening, asking us for more money, when we’re relaxing with our families.
If they do that – they can sod off.