Author Topic: Charity Guilt Trip  (Read 26749 times)

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ZoeB

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Charity Guilt Trip
« on: November 19, 2011, 06:08:04 AM »
This is something that happened quite some time ago, before I came across this wonderful website. I look back on it now, knowing that perhaps I could have handled the situation better. Your views are more than welcome :)

BG - I had recently left my previous job due to depression. Thinking back now, impulsively quitting my job was a careless thing to do but my illness prevented me from seeing clearly. The depression isn't relevent to the story at hand but I was unemployed for quite some time and at the time this event occurred, I was collecting Jobseekers allowance (UK version of collecting 'unemployment benefit' in the US). I hadn't recovered from my depression but I was ready to get back out there and start looking for work so I could feel *human* again. In order to do that, I needed some kind of income to assist with my job search. I needed money to get to and from interviews on public transport since I do not drive and I needed money to buy food. Of course, Money was tight and I was struggling to make ends meet. It got to the point where I was praying for someone, somewhere to give me a job because I had bills due that I was not able to pay and could barely afford to eat. It was a dark time.  END BG.

On this particular day, I was walking through town, on my way to do more job searching. As I was walking through, there were some employees from a children's charity stopping people in the street and asking for donations. A young man who was working for them, stopped me. The conversation was as follows:

Charity Man:  Hi there! You look like you have a friendly and caring face so I thought you'd be the person to stop and ask! Did you know *add statistic* children are in danger each day etc etc?

Me: Yes, I am aware of that :(

Charity Man: Well, YOU could change at least one child's life today by donating £8.50 to us every month. Would you be interested in that?

(At this point, I was stuck. I didn't want to say no because I didn't want to look heartless. I really DO admire the work done for any children's charity and always help out where possible, but my financial circumstances just wouldn't allow that to happen this time round. I was scraping pennies together to make ends meet and still wasn't succeeding. It just wasn't going to be possible).

Me: I'm sorry but I am unable to donate at this time. This is a charity I hold really close to my heart but it just isn't possible at this time. I will defiantly put my name down at a later date.

Charity Man: Well, why aren't you able to now?

Me: *Feeling 'put on the spot'* I'm not settled financially, I'm afraid I simply can't afford it at this time.

(I know that it was completely unnecessary to give details but like I said, I just didn't know what to do. It was very uncomfortable)

Charity Man: Well can't you cut back in other aspects of your life for this cause? For example, instead of buying bread when you go shopping, DON'T buy bread. Cut back on the amount of electricity you use and food you eat. Its totally worth it to save a child's life, wouldn't you agree? I approached you and suggested the lowest rate to pay. If you were some business man in a suit, I would have suggested £20.00 a month instead. It's definitely a fair price!

(At this point, I had inadvertently been made to feel as though I LOOK cheap. I just wanted to get away).

Me: *sigh* Where do i sign?

I ended up putting my bank details in to his hand held computer right there on the street and walking away feeling terrified at what I simply COULD NOT afford. As soon as I was out of the area, I phoned the charity and asked to please be taken off the list as I felt bullied in to joining. They took me off the list and apologised.

How else could i have handled that?

NestHolder

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2011, 07:58:41 AM »
You could have said, No.

Seriously.  A smile, a headshake, and walk on by, is the first way to deal with this.  I already donate to my own charities, and I resent being accosted in the street and asked for money.  So I don't stop.

If you can't escape, just say No.  Don't explain.  Don't participate in a conversation.  You're under no obligation to explain - in fact, it is none of the charity pusher's business whether you have the money to donate, or are a misanthrope who hates children.  None of their business.

Actually, it's probably more polite to say, No, sorry.  And walk on.

camlan

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2011, 08:41:16 AM »
Pod to Nestholder. It doesn't matter how worthwhile the charity is, if you don't have the money, you don't have the money. We all have to pick and chose where to spend our limited resources.

You could also come up with a standard line that you always use to avoid having to fork over money right then and there.

"I need to think about this. Do you have anything in writing that I can take home and look over?"
"My charitable contributions are already budgeted for this year. I wish you luck in meeting your goal."
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Venus193

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2011, 08:48:43 AM »
I agree with Nestholder.

I would be sorely tempted to contact the charity in question and tell them that their street intercept approach and guilt-tripping tactics are not going to work in their favor.  There are some charities who do this in my city and I always tell them "No; this is not possible at this time."

Having been unemployed for two years and currently living on my savings I avoid these people like the plague.  Caller ID is also one of my best friends.

ZoeB

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2011, 10:44:26 AM »
Thankyou so much for all your advice. I know that I will more prepared for a situation like this, should it happen again. I am now in a great job and have the depression under control therefore I am finacially able to donate to charities again. I will think twice about donating to organisations in a public place as I feel uncomfortable handing out my bank details anywhere that isn't private. I was 19 at the time, so I guess a few years worth of confidence building can also help me stay firm whilst remaining polite. I watch people being approached by these charities and the majority walk on by without even acknowledging the person speaking to them - which I find rude. I think its about getting the balance of declining without looking ignorant, uncaring and rude.

Whilst on the phone with this particular charity, I stressed how upset I was about the situation. The lady on the phone told me "we don't like our staff to pressure people, we will deal with him". I don't want him in any trouble as he is working for a fantastic cause, but feel you need to be careful how you go about requesting money from people.


kittyhugger35

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2011, 11:37:50 AM »
I have dealt with telemarketers for charities over the phone using a perhaps somewhat un-ehell way. When they get aggressive with me and rude trying to get me to commit to money for the charity that they work for I ask them for money right back explaining my difficulties as I am between jobs. Then I ask the telemarketer how much money they are making and could they please help me out since they are such a kind and charitable person. (I always say this stuff in a sweet plaintive voice without any hint of sarcasm! ;)) It's amazing how fast these people can shut you down and hang up the phone!  ;D -To be clear, I only do this after they have been rude and aggressive with me. If they are nice telemarketers then I am nice right back to them and polite while turning them down.
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mechtilde

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2011, 12:16:26 PM »
Urg. Them. I've run into them a few times and just say no thanks and keep walking.

In general terms- if you are cash poor and time rich then charities welcome volunteers- for all sorts of stuff. I started volunteering whilst I was jobhunting after the children had started school and found that it was a great way to get out, meet other people, boost my self esteem and boost my chances of finding paid work- whilst helping a charity as well. I tend to do admin these days, as well as working with refugees.
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Shores

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2011, 12:23:55 PM »
Def could have said "no." And it's probably a good idea going forward in life to put a moratorium on giving strangers your banking information on the street!
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wolfie

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2011, 12:25:01 PM »
I have once told one that I didn't have a job. Made him stop short and say goodbye. At that point what can they say? You should donate anyway? I haven't done that again because I felt bad and like karma will get me since I did have a job, I just wanted to get away from the high pressure tactic. Now I just say no thanks or don't even acknowledge them. I have the charities I want to give to all researched out. I am not looking for another at this time.

AmyBird85

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2011, 10:49:00 PM »
Ahh, charity workers- I've had plenty of encounters with them, and often find them tricky to brush off for fear of sounding rude and heartless. The worst ones are the ones that when you say "no thanks" to them and walk by, they start chasing after you! That really gets on my nerves (that and those annoying people with clipboards who try and get you to fill out a survey!) But I will not let anybody force me to donate to charity, I would much rather do so off my own back, knowing that I took the initiative. I shop quite frequently in charity shops, put money in collection tins and sometimes put in a donation when purchasing things from Ebay- this is to me is good for doing my bit for good causes!  :)

Swimmer_Heather

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2011, 02:29:45 AM »
Seconding the advice to say no and walk away.  I know it's hard to do, especially when people are pushy!  I think this particular person was rude.  It's okay to solicit for your charity, but you have no right to demand or to interrogate.  He had no way of knowing and no right to know your personal circumstances, whether you already donate to other charities, whether you disagree with some of the aspects of his particular charity, whether you think his charity isn't as effective as other charities, and so on.  Try to walk on.  In these types of situations you can at least console yourself that it's rude to waste the time of the charity person/salesperson/etcetera if you're not interested, even if they're rude first like in this case.  It can also be unsafe to give your card details out to someone in the street, even if you recognise their charity as a reputable one.

mechtilde

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2011, 05:39:04 AM »
One other thing- most of the people out on the streets soliciting for you to sign up to regular payments are paid by companies who then take a cut of the donations before passing on the rest to charity. They have targets to meet, which is why they can be so pushy. If you decide to donate to a charity, contact them direct and make sure you Giftaid your donations if you are a UK taxpayer so they can get the most from your gift.

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faithlessone

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2011, 05:57:08 AM »
Um, I would have totally reported this guy to the charity he was collecting for. I've done charity collections like this, and we are seriously discouraged from using such blatant guilt tactics as he obviously did.

If it happens again, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG with saying "Sorry, not right now." and walking away. You don't have to tell them why, or give them any details at all. If they start following you down the street, either duck into a shop or something, or (if you're feeling brave), you can say something like "Why are you following me? I said, sorry, not right now. This is just encouraging me to give my charity elsewhere."

People like this might get donations out of sheer guilt, but they do not give their charities good publicity at all. Also, it is far more likely that someone will only donate once, or cancel a monthly donation, if they feel like they've been put under undue pressure to make it.

atirial

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2011, 10:51:47 AM »
A white lie can be useful, and claiming you already donate puts some off.

Also remember that they are being paid to solicit you and often trained to ignore protests and try to override you, putting them on much the same level as hard-sell salesmen and the annoying people in the mall with the hand lotion. If you need a reason to say no, the only way to discourage charities from hiring these people is to not contribute. The other reason is credit card fraud - you are after all handing your details over to a stranger in the street and anyone can get a charity jacket and ID card printed these days.


Venus193

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Re: Charity Guilt Trip
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2011, 07:12:46 AM »
Last year an arts organization I support started calling me for additional donations.  I told the caller three times on three different calls that I'm unemployed and unable to contribute beyond what I had contributed already.  It was like she didn't hear me.

The fourth call was a different person.  Gee, I wonder why.

Now caller ID is my best friend.