I have a situation here and I really need your advice, and the advice of everyone else.
My in-laws are wonderful and generous people. They have many friends, but they are closest with “Fred and Ginger Smith”.
This past spring, Fred and Ginger Smith lost their daughter, “Lily” to cancer. She died at the age of 43 and left behind four teenaged children. It was a very sad time for Fred and Ginger, and my in-laws as well, as they consider the Smith family as their own family.
Fast forward several months, Fred and Ginger are coping and moving forward. One night my in-laws received a call from Fred saying that he and Ginger were throwing a Christmas fundraising party in Lily’s honour, and all money made would be going to a cancer charity.
The party will be held in a banquet hall, with food and drinks provided. Fred advised that the cost per ticket is $100. $80 will be going to pay for the food and drinks, and $20 will go to the charity. Fred asked my father in law if he would go. My father-in-law, being very generous, said he would buy 10 tickets and bring 10 people. The conversation does not end there. Fred then says, “That’s great, but can you see if you can get (gives the names of 4 of my father-in-laws friends) to buy tables as well? They are rich and they won’t miss the money. Also, it’s 10 chairs per table, and there will be a silent auction and prizes to bid on. Tell everyone to not only buy tickets but bring money too!”
My father-in-law was floored. He did not know how to respond to this. He was already generous in offering to pay $1,000 for the event by buying 10 tickets, but being asked to go ask his friends, whom Fred and Ginger don’t know, made him feel like he was being taken advantage of. My in-laws are rather put off by this (understandably) and don’t know what to do.
My question is, how does one tactfully deal with a scenario like this? The commitment to buy 10 tickets has been made, and my in-laws will follow through as promised, but I think what irks them is that Fred and Ginger did not seem to think it enough, and wanted them to do more.
I personally think spending $100 for a charity event, with only $20 going to charity, is ridiculous. I would rather give $100 directly to the charity. But how do you relay this sentiment? And how do you let them know that it’s not appropriate to be asked to recruit for their event?
I know Fred and Ginger are going through a hard time, as this will be their first Christmas without Lily, so how can you be tactful yet sensitive to their feelings? 1211-14
It does seem odd to me that potential donors must be enticed to part with their money for a good cause by means of being entertained. It’s as if the intrinsic value of financially supporting a worthy charity isn’t enough, the donor must receive something of value in exchange for his/her donation.
In the case of your in-laws, saying nothing in response to Fred’s “suggestions” for further donation possibilities is the right road to take and carry on with the original plan to buy 10 tickets. Having a polite spine means knowing what your spending limits are in regards to a specific charity, and being perfectly at peace with that dollar amount such that no one trying to manipulate you into more has any effect on your emotions or wallet.