The Simple Plan That Helps Me Deal With Donation Requests

Do you donate? If not, why not? This was a recent topic of conversation on CBC radio’s Ontario Today.

Nobody wants to admit that they aren’t givers. However, research shows that charities are relying on a shrinking pool of donators. Seventy-five per cent of donations come from people 50 years+. 

Younger generations aren’t as likely as their predecessors to part with their charitable cash.

Radio host Rita Celli posed the question, “Why are younger generations less likely to donate than older generations?”

If you don’t sit around sipping tea, listening to talk radio like I do all day, here’s the gist:

We’ve been duped and scammed and lied to by so many deceitful charlatans that we don’t know who to trust anymore. We’re jaded. So when asked to part with our hard-earned dollars to support whatever fundraising campaign, most of us respond with a suspicious, “not this time.” 

Most of the callers who weighed-in on the topic said they don’t feel comfortable not knowing for certain where their money is going. 

I totally get that.

I participated in a charity walk a few years ago and raised thousands of dollars. We later found out that only a small percentage of the money our team raised went to actual patients or to medical research. It was disheartening to say the least.

Still, I continue to participate in charity walks and runs and mud races because like some callers explained, when you have a limited income, it’s tough to contribute financially. 

It’s for this reason that several callers said they donate their time in lieu of money. 

Some added that they donate time and/or money, (whichever they can best manage) to set an example for their children. 

I get that too. 

My husband and I have a fairly specific charity plan that’s quite straight forward. Feel free to see if this works for you. 

Our Pretty Painless Charity Plan:

We donate used clothing and household items a few times a year. Usually spring and fall. This not only teaches kids about giving, it emphasizes the importance of reducing waste, by reusing and recycling. Bonus: it also helps clear the ever growing clutter in my house. 

We also donate our time when we can. This seems to be the biggest challenge at the moment. And it’s an area where we can absolutely improve. 

As for actual cash money… 

I always carry a few loonies in my purse and in my glove compartment. So when we happen upon a student collecting for something, we give them a loonie or two. And if we happen upon a lemonade stand, we’re ready. Or if we pass somebody in the street who is struggling and asking for change, we’re prepared. 

For me, it’s more the gesture than the dollar amount. 

And then there’s this—the foundation of our donation strategy and the element that takes the guesswork out of giving.

Every January we set aside a specific amount of money—this will vary depending on income and life circumstances. This money can go into a separate bank account or you can just keep track of it with whatever system works for you. Then, whenever somebody asks for a donation—a bike ride to raise money for xyz, a walk to raise funds for a new whatever, a charity auction in support of a thing… I just go ahead and donate. It’s a no-brainer.

How much? It depends on who’s asking and for what cause. Sometimes I’ll donate $10. Other times I’ll fork over $50. 

Again, it’s not the amount as much as the show of support and acknowledgement of the efforts being made. 

I’m currently fundraising for a charity mud run. This is my fourth year doing this race, and I feel like my fundraising sources have run dry. I don’t expect people to donate year after year. I also don’t expect people to hand over piles of cash.

FYI… My fundraising page is: http://ow.ly/R6lV30lySpI 🙂 

We’re asked repeatedly to donate to so many races and causes—people are totally tapped out. 

This is why I ask for a token donation

Most people can afford five dollars—the price of a fancy coffee. It’s not the dollar amount, it’s the, “I appreciate what you’re trying to do and I support you!” message that means the most. Sincerely. 

I used to worry about looking cheap by donating anything less than twenty-five dollars. I don’t know why that amount seemed acceptable to me.

However, I don’t worry about it anymore because I believe that giving, even just a little, feels better than ignoring the request. 

In our giving plan when the allotted money runs out, financial donations are shelved until the next year when the “giving pot” has been topped up. 

Ideally, this is when we start giving more of our time; this might be volunteering, neighbourhood clean ups, looking after a friend’s pet, or offering my writing services or social media support for good causes, free of charge. 

This year my daughter’s special abilities cheer team competed as Team Canada at the World Cheerleading competition in Florida. This was a first for Canada and for the sport of adaptive cheer. It was incredibly exciting. And expensive. We tried to fundraise, but the results weren’t great. Cheer families and coaches ended up paying the majority of the expenses. I’m not suggesting it was up to other people to pay our way, but the lack of support from businesses and corporations, and even on a personal level, was surprising. 

Fundraising is not fun. I don’t enjoy asking for donations. It’s awkward.

I posted about our team a few times on social media and several friends and family members (who saw the posts… I know not everyone sees every post amid the loud social chatter online) chipped in. And it really meant a lot. 

So when somebody asks me (and I know they hate asking too) I don’t hesitate. 

I feel the need to add, this post is not intended to shame readers into giving. We all have circumstances that sometimes require we put charity on the back burner. It’s totally okay. 

This post is intended to offer a glimpse into a solution that works for us. It’s not for everyone. Do what feels right for you.

Side note: I suspect I’m going to get a lot of “Do you want to buy some girl guide cookies?” or “Can you participate in my upcoming silent auction?” requests now. 😉 

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