Charity Giving Goes Wrong
One of my biggest pet peeves is when charity giving goes bad. You may have been there and done that… got the sore ego to prove it. Or… maybe you know someone who did what I am about to describe and you get a sour taste in your mouth.
Firstly, I am a huge advocate of charity. In my position, it’s important but it’s impossible to satisfy the numerous responses to get free yarn, publicity and much more to back up all the responses. Most times, I am contacted well after the charity has kicked off an event and essentially the email is doom or gloom. But WHY?
What appears to be happening with many organizations or individuals is the fact that their mission has lacked realistic goals to what can be achieved. Most of us want to make a difference in some way. For many, especially in today’s era, people are raising families, lack of income, lack of time or life just takes a wild turn into the wild west that wasn’t predicted.
More often than not is the unrealistic goals put into place. It’s nice to wish big, think big and suddenly create a monstrosity event but the questions remain.
- Are the goals realistic?
- Who is going to create the momentum for the drive?
- Who are the people that will be getting involved to raise money or products for the drive?
- Is there enough time?
- Is it the right time of year?
- Who will the drive benefit?
- Is the charity relevant for a select few recipients or for a general cause?
Any charity giving is appreciated but when the goals are set too high, we are automatically setting ourselves up for disappointment and failure. When telling the charity or organization about your mission, you need to be realistic. It’s okay to say… “I don’t know what the response will be but we are going to try our best!” If the organization doesn’t like that answer, which I cannot see possible, than you should re-think your strategy and move one to another organization that will appreciate your effort.
If a charity frowns upon you for not raising enough or meeting goals, you may need to re-think the goals of the organization because even the smallest contribution can make a difference in some way.
The Doom & Gloom Messages
A huge pet peeve of mine is the doom and gloom messages left on Facebook or sent to friends. Essentially, someone has made it a personal mission and is flailing in the wind. Their goals aren’t being met and about to have egg all over their face. They are under the self-pressure that they created and essentially want to guilt others to get involved because they are on a one way street and about to crash.
Do the homework first before launching a drive or campaign. It shouldn’t shock you that many people who commit to things will bail for one reason or another. It’s a fact of life and should be thought about in advance. Some reasons for bailing are really lame but we all have good intentions until we are required to put our verbal commitment into action.
My Mom’s Personal Goals
My mom taught me to be realistic with goals. She used to buy yarn at Lewis Craft, was a store that no longer exists. If you bought yarn, then made something, you could return back the finished item, get a refund for the yarn. She would buy more yarn and the cycle repeated over and over. She wasn’t part of any fundraiser or organization. She was a woman on a personal mission to make a contribution to society in her own way.
She didn’t have personal goals of how many items to make, she just knew she wanted to help others and did her best without pressuring herself to do it. She basically put her spare time to use and helped the less fortunate along the way. She probably helped 100’s of families on her own without requiring the praise, other than Lewis Craft thanking her for making a difference. She did her very best and that was self satisfying for her.
My mom’s example reminded me that 1 person can make a difference. It may not be as many as 10 people or 100 people. However, with larger campaigns and the number of people who bail when it comes down to the crunch, she was a 1 person knitter / crocheter who made a tremendous impact for people whom she never met. She in her own right, made a difference… even though she didn’t have a campaign or requiring the inflated gratitude of others to do it.
Most charities run ‘non-profit’ operations. Administrators either donate their time and/or a portion of the raised money pays the admins. I’ve seen many requests where people will help charities but are expecting the charity to give out free yarn and supplies in return. While I know those types of charities exist, which I am not going to say publicly who they are because these charities tend to give out to their local community and not mail out the yarn across the country, fact is, it’s either good people like you that buy the yarn and/or the organization buys it and freely give it out in the hopes people create things with it.
I know today, we expect a lot of things for free but let’s take off the rose coloured glasses for a minute. Nothing in life is ever free. Someone, somewhere is buying the product or funding it in some way. Let’s not deny that for one minute!
A charity should never have an ultimatum served against it. “I will help you but you need to take care of me first so I can help you!” It completely disregards the effort the charity is making by expecting something in return. The act of giving a gift shouldn’t come with strings attached.
One person can make a tremendous difference. 10 People can make ever more… 100 people is huge! We are in an era where bigger is better. We are losing the point of where 1 person can make a difference. It’s starts with 1 person and maybe others will get on the band wagon. If they don’t… you can be that person that didn’t allow a child to freeze in the winter or gave someone hope that you will have never had the opportunity to meet.