Author Topic: I Need to Grow a Backbone....  (Read 5064 times)

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Sparkle Star

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I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« on: May 12, 2009, 11:34:18 AM »
After reading a few of the threads here and seeing the envelope that just dropped through my door, it struck me it might be worth seeking opinions....

The envelope is for Christian Aid Week, delivered by a member of the local church. At some point in the next week, someone else will come and collect it - obviously it is supposed to have money or a cheque in, and it's pretty clear if it's empty.

I don't like feeling obligated to give to a charity not of my choosing. I support a number of charities willingly and feel resentful at being pressured into giving money to one I wouldn't freely select. In addition, my kids' schools frequently hold fundraisers - for themsleves or for charity - so a fair chunk of our cash goes to good causes, one way or another. (And, in fact, both are doing their own Christian Aid collections.)

I guess it's down to not wanting to be thought mean or a bad person because I've returned an empty envelope - and believe me, those who collect them are looking to see.

It's the same with regular charity events such as the Race for Life, where people ask for sponsorship. I've been asked by no less than 15 different people if I'll support them for one of these next month - what do I do? I've said I've already agreed to sponsor several people and can't afford any more, but it sounds weak and I over-explain in an effort to prove I'm not just saying it to get out of giving them money.

Does 'I'm sorry but that won't be possible' really cover it in this sort of situation?
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momof2weenies

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2009, 12:09:37 PM »
"I've already chosen where to direct my charitable contributions for this year, thank you."  Said nicely with a smile.
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ChristiKayAnn

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2009, 12:11:18 PM »
I don't see why I'm afraid that won't be possible isn't fine as an answer in these circumstances. If you want to add "I already made my donation to Christian Aid through my child's school" or "I've already agreed to sponsor X number of people in the race for life, and I'm afraid that is all my budget will allow at this time"  go ahead, but sorry I can't with no other explanation is just fine too.

Elfqueen13

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2009, 12:17:06 PM »
"I'm afraid it won't be possible" seems like a remarkably polite way to respond to someone who drops off an empty envelope and comes back in person to collect it, expecting it to be full of money.  To my mind, it takes a great, big brass set of...well, you know...to even leave the envelope in the first place.
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Frostblooded

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2009, 12:19:57 PM »
Use that line, it actually worked for me!

They have this yearly mailing here where they mail you a listing from a religious charity. Inside the envelope it promises you blessings and your prayers answered if you write what you want in the paper they provide in the envelope then put it under a rug in your livingroom/foyer. Then you send them money back in the envelope they provided. If that's not enough there is a follow-up, and the line worked great. Give it a try, I know it's hard, but if I could do I know you could.  :)

Sparkle Star

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2009, 12:55:44 PM »
I'm going to try this year, I really am.
I just find it hard when there's one of the great and the good from the local church actually standing there on the doorstep expectantly - I just cave in and shove some cash in the envelope before I hand it over.  :-[
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Shoo

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2009, 01:01:35 PM »
I'm going to try this year, I really am.
I just find it hard when there's one of the great and the good from the local church actually standing there on the doorstep expectantly - I just cave in and shove some cash in the envelope before I hand it over.  :-[

Throw the envelope away and then you won't be tempted.  This kind of thing wouldn't even get past my front door.  It would go into the trash immediately.  Try it yourself!

kschmid5

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2009, 01:11:22 PM »
I'm going to try this year, I really am.
I just find it hard when there's one of the great and the good from the local church actually standing there on the doorstep expectantly - I just cave in and shove some cash in the envelope before I hand it over.  :-[

try scripting a few lines to say. Such as "I was so pleased that my child's school was fundraising for CA.  We made our usual donation to CA to the school. I was so happy that the school would support CA like this. I certainly want it to continue supporting CA.  Have you heard the school is doing a fundraiser for (other fundraising)?  I am just pleased as punch that they are teaching the children the importance of giving to the community....

and on and on and on. When you finish with the "script," if the person is still at the door, you can say "oops! look at the time, I hadn't realized so much time had passed! I really must (pick my child up from school, go to the grocery store before picking my child up, attend to a pot of boiling water, get to work, etc).   And if the person asks for money again at this point, you could say, "oh sweetie, I thought I explained that I've already given to CA.  Shoot, I've really got to go. Good luck with your efforts!" and then back up, close the door, or escort them out of the house.

Sparkle Star

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2009, 01:48:10 PM »
Oh you're good, all of you, really good......  :D

Ok, I promise I'll be strong.
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I'mnotinsane

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2009, 02:14:42 PM »
"I'm afraid it won't be possible" seems like a remarkably polite way to respond to someone who drops off an empty envelope and comes back in person to collect it, expecting it to be full of money.  To my mind, it takes a great, big brass set of...well, you know...to even leave the envelope in the first place.

POD

Weez

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2009, 07:51:06 PM »
"I'm afraid it won't be possible" seems like a remarkably polite way to respond to someone who drops off an empty envelope and comes back in person to collect it, expecting it to be full of money.  To my mind, it takes a great, big brass set of...well, you know...to even leave the envelope in the first place.

"I'm afraid it won't be possible" would be a perfectly good response, as would "Sorry, I've already donated" or even "I prefer not to give to that charity", as long as they're said politely. 

From the other side: My Mum used to deliver and collect those envelopes on behalf of Christian Aid and I went with her a few times (never collected the envelopes myself, Mum was the authorised collector so it had to be her knocking on every door - I was just there to keep her company).  The door to door collection is organised through local churches and every collector is a volunteer.  My Mum definitely does not have a great, big brass set of anything; she's actually incredibly shy - but it's a cause that she supports and is willing to put herself out in order to support.  Nobody in our church expected everyone to donate; in fact the general assumption was that most people probably wouldn't donate - that was their choice, but everyone got thanked for taking the time to open their door to us. 

I actually prefer to receive the envelope through the door: it gives me time to (a) decide if I want to donate anything and if so, (b) exactly how much.  The alternative would be someone on my doorstep with a collection can or selling raffle tickets.  For some reason, I always feel more obliged to give when they rattle the can under my nose - maybe it's the element of surprise.

Sparkle Star - yes, I've known some folk helping with Christian Aid collections who will appear to make a mental note of who's given and who hasn't, I think every church has that type of person  ::).  They're not worth worrying about.  Other collectors, like my Mum, will just be grateful that you opened the door; doesn't matter whether you donate or not as long as you're polite.  Actually making a donation is a boost, but most of the people doing these collections are reasonable people and they understand that not everyone will want to support a particular cause.

BettyDraper

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2009, 07:58:45 PM »
I'm going to try this year, I really am.
I just find it hard when there's one of the great and the good from the local church actually standing there on the doorstep expectantly - I just cave in and shove some cash in the envelope before I hand it over.  :-[

Why can't you just throw away the envelope?  (or recycle it).  That's what I do when neighbors and strangers leave empty envelopes on my porch.  I give generously each year but to the charities I choose, not their pet causes.  Frankly if anyone shows up to dun you for the money I'd greet them with a cool expression, an arched eyebrow and the comment from the PP above about already having allocated your charitable contributions for the year.

You also should know that (perhaps not in this case but in the case of those outfits that send address labels and other claptrap) that they often are third-party fundraisers who keep up to 90% of what they collect, passing only 10% on to the actual charity.  It galls me to see how many elderly or gullible people are guilted into "paying for" those labels, keyrings and other trinkets.  Check out www.charitywatch.org for more info. 

Weez

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2009, 09:08:19 AM »
Frankly if anyone shows up to dun you for the money I'd greet them with a cool expression, an arched eyebrow and the comment from the PP above about already having allocated your charitable contributions for the year.
Why do you need the cool expression and the arched eyebrow?  Surely a polite refusal is all that is needed?  You don't even need to say that you've already donated (to this, or any other charity).

From experience with this particular charity, the collectors are unpaid volunteers doing this in their own time.  Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive but suggesting this particular approach seems to be bordering on rude.  This is just my opinion, so please correct me if I am wrong. 

I do agree with BettyDraper about the third-party fundraisers and 'charities' that persuade people to buy junk in order to support a charity and it's great that there is a resource such as the website given.  Sadly, here in the UK, we're not quite up to that standard yet - getting there slowly, by the look of it. 

BettyDraper

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2009, 10:11:50 AM »
Frankly if anyone shows up to dun you for the money I'd greet them with a cool expression, an arched eyebrow and the comment from the PP above about already having allocated your charitable contributions for the year.
Why do you need the cool expression and the arched eyebrow?  Surely a polite refusal is all that is needed?  You don't even need to say that you've already donated (to this, or any other charity).

From experience with this particular charity, the collectors are unpaid volunteers doing this in their own time.  Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive but suggesting this particular approach seems to be bordering on rude.  This is just my opinion, so please correct me if I am wrong. 

I do agree with BettyDraper about the third-party fundraisers and 'charities' that persuade people to buy junk in order to support a charity and it's great that there is a resource such as the website given.  Sadly, here in the UK, we're not quite up to that standard yet - getting there slowly, by the look of it. 

There's nothing impolite about a cool expression, and hopefully it would discourage future attempts on their part.  Door-to-door solicitation is rude no matter what the cause or motivation, and no matter how great the altruism of the unpaid volunteers.  I give plenty to charity but on my own schedule and I don't care to be interrrupted by people pounding at the door asking for cash. 

Weez

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Re: I Need to Grow a Backbone....
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2009, 07:11:24 AM »
There's nothing impolite about a cool expression, and hopefully it would discourage future attempts on their part.  Door-to-door solicitation is rude no matter what the cause or motivation, and no matter how great the altruism of the unpaid volunteers.  I give plenty to charity but on my own schedule and I don't care to be interrrupted by people pounding at the door asking for cash. 

To be honest, I suspect nothing will discourage future attempts.  It may work if it is someone from your neighbourhood, collecting from just their neighbours but in large scale collections, it's unlikely that the collector will even remember individual donors/non-donors.  In the case of this specific organisation, it's an annual event - next year it might be someone different coming to your door. 

Re. the part I've bolded, a genuine question: are charity collections really rude?  I've honestly never thought about it like that before.  Maybe I'm more generous in my feelings toward them because I have helped with charity collections and events myself, so I know how difficult it is for charities to raise money, but maybe I need to send myself to E-Hell?

I'm pretty sure that here in the UK, charities can't pay people to take part in collections so I guess I see it as someone, who really believes in the cause, trying to raise funds for their cause.   If it's the same person coming to your door every week, then I could see it getting annoying.  If I then ask them to stop coming to my door and they continue, then it would be rude.  If it's one person coming once a year, then I don't see it as rude.  Is it not similar to telephone solicitation/marketing?  Yes, it can be annoying to be disturbed, but I think I've seen it stated here that it's not rude for them to call once, it's only rude if they continue to call after you've asked them to stop.