Thursday, 18 June 2015

Charities

An elderly lady died here in the UK a couple of weeks ago.   She took her own life - she had health problems and her family said that the reason given in the newspapers was not nearly the only reason.   But the fact remains that for years she had been hounded by charities to give money.   Every day requests for more money had come through the post although she already contributed to such a lot by direct debits.

I think most of us here are hounded by charities.   I know they need the money.   I give to one or two chosen ones (RSPB and Great Ormond Street Hospital and Save the Children),  but I draw the line there, just adding one special one at Christmas depending upon what has happened during the year (last year a friend died of cancer during the  year and so it was Cancer Research).

But I also know - and again this is only my experience - that if I give to a charity they have been known to ring and ask me if I will increase my monthly subscription.

All charities need money constantly  and I realise that often the only way they can get it is to ask for it.   There are some (Lifeboats for example) which I feel should be totally funded by the Government, but money is spread thinly and it is often sorely needed.

But some of the 'big' charities do seem to pay their executives an awful lot of salary and do seem to use very swish, very new vehicles to run about in in places like Africa.

Over the years I have found that it is better to give a lot to one or two charities rather than to spread the money I can afford thinly.   The same applies to begging in the street, which thankfully we don't have up here in the Dales at all.   If I had a pound coin to spare I would put it all in one 'cap' rather than twenty pence in five 'caps' if you get my meaning.

There is also the problem of unscrupulous people.   I do a lot of puzzles in the Times - many of which need a pencil with a rubber on the end. The rubber wears out quickly but the pencil is still good.   I look at the twenty or so perfectly good pencils in my 'tub' and wish I could transport them to Africa to some school where pencils are in short supply.   But you so often read where shipments of goods for schools and such like are intercepted at ports of entry and the stuff is taken off and sold elsewhere.

Yes, charity of any kind is a problem.   Do we give to salve our conscience or do we give out of a geuine need to be helpful?  However poor we are here in the UK there is always someone poorer than ourselves who needs our support.

15 comments:

Tom Stephenson said...

Good points, Weave. Most charities are big business and are run by private agencies. It stinks. 'Charity muggers' on the streets are trying to make a living like everyone else. The worst charities here in Bath, and most towns (by worst' I mean the ones who give the least to the cause they are supposed to be fundraising for), pay one third of the business rates that their competitors pay, and all of their stock is donated for free. Most of the staff who work in them are 'volunteers', meaning that they don't get paid, so they can pay their directors a heck of a lot of money. The only one I always give to is the St Martin in the Fields one. You can see what they do with their cash, and it is not run by a load of ambitious business people.

Countryside Tales said...

I do a lot of voluntary work for Butterfly Conservation, a charity set up to look after Lepidoptera. I'm a member of that and several other conservation organisations (the smaller ones) and in addition we have two nominated charities we support each year- one for people, one for humans. We do get letters and phone calls from others, but I am very firm explaining that we nominate two each year and stick to that. What does annoy me is when you donate you then get a year's worth of letters which probably uses up the donation. I am tempted now just to drop cash into a box at Christmas with no hint of who's given it. The only charity I will always support is Crisis at Christmas, where £25 gives a homeless person a meal, hot showers, change of clothes and access to a doctor. Home is so important to me, I can't bear the thought of someone not having one.

Countryside Tales said...

That should have said one for people, one for animals! :o)

Bev said...

I am still smarting from a letter from the RSPB yesterday asking me to increase my donation. So the donation I already give is not good enough for them?
I am loathe to donate as it may well end up in the wrong pockets or as you say, in a big car. Any goods I donate go to the little local shops, usually the scruffiest on the block, supporting local charity.
I am a long time reader, love your blog, never comment, but this timely post and yesterday's letter really ruffled my feathers!

Cro Magnon said...

I am very wary of the majority of 'charities'; for good reasons I think.

However I do give to one. Orbis is a flying eye hospital service that restores sight to people of the third world. They are entirely non profit making, none of the eye surgeons is paid, and they do wonderful work. What more could one ask.

Heather said...

My husband rings up charities to ask what they pay their executives before making a donation! He also checks on what percentage of funds goes on administration. Sight Savers is one of our favourites as so little of their money goes on admin. - they seem to make use of every penny.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

It is documented that the Red Cross gives less than 3% of their monies to actual charities - the rest goes for a 3 figure salary for the popular or famous person who heads the charity - yet does no work but make a few appearances to solicit money and to show off. Cancer research donations, almost all goes to executives and I know personally a local head of the Boys and Girls club that makes 550,000.00 a year. He moved to a different area because he had only been making 250,000.00 a year and demanded an increase. He and his wife travel extensively for his business in the Boys and Girls Club and always are put up in the finest hotels (800.00 a night in some instances), eat at the fanciest restaurants and fly first class. Oh what they could do with all that money - teleconference to save travel expenses and a reasonable salary and the Boys and Girls Club would never have a shortage. Shame on them.

Mac n' Janet said...

We have several charities we contribute to. I use to give to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, a very worthy charity, that treats sick children for no charge. But they began calling me on the phone wanting me to contribute more and it angered me, so I don't contribute to them at all.

donna baker said...

I donate mostly to animal groups. But, if they call me, I immediately tell them to take me off their call list. Usually, they are very polite and do as I tell them. They still send mail, which I can't look at, but I still donate. Wasn't it Ayn Rand who said there is no altruism or something like that?

Joanne Noragon said...

My uncle was astounded, in cleaning up my grandmother's affairs, that she donated most of her income to a wide variety of scam charities. It answered the question why she was so fretful about the needs of all those Sunday morning churches on TV, begging money for the glory of the work and salvation of the world. That's where her money went.

Rachel said...

I think many people give to salve themselves judging by the amount of time they spend telling me about why they haven't sent me a Christmas card. I ask if they want a sainthood when they've finished. I really don't want to know. I give to beggars in the street and that is it. I choose who I want to give it to and if they want to buy a can of Special Brew and a KFC that's up to them. It makes their night on the pavement more bearable.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Quite a heartening lot of comments here. Perhaps we are all becoming much wiser in where we spend our money. There is also some good advice in what you say.

angryparsnip said...

I give to local charities for animals and one in Japan.
And toss the rest. I know where my money is being spent.
No big charities.

cheers, parsnip

Terry and Linda said...

We get hounded here also. All one has to do is give to ONE and then you are on the list.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
https://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/sherlock-boomer

Cro Magnon said...

Looks like a lot of the bigger commercial charities are their own worst enemies!