I have to go to Petsmart later to buy dog food. Petsmart is one of those places that ALWAYS asks you to donate money to help homeless pets. The cashier doesn’t ask, it’s a little message that pops up on the payment thingy. Safeway is always asking for money, too. They seem to change their cause monthly, though. And the cashier actually has to ask you, “Would you like to give some money to ________?” I always feel guilty. I mean, I just spent $80 on dog food, why not give some money to help homeless pets?
I’m almost always very hesitant to donate because I just don’t trust those organizations to hand all of the money over. It’s sort of like getting calls from the “Fraternal Order of Police” or similar organization. That’s not actually a cop calling you. It’s someone who is being paid to call and ask for your money. A big chunk of what I would give would go to the business being paid to raise funds for the FOP. That bugs me.
If I’m being honest, and maybe this sounds selfish, it bugs me that they even ask. Not that they aren’t good causes. And not that I would not want to help. I just don’t trust that the money will actually go where they say it’s going. Heck, every now and then I will even post something on Facebook or here about a particular push from one of the two Brittany rescue groups I support needing money. Because I trust them. I have seen and even benefited from the good those groups do.
Am I a bad person because I’d more readily give money to a dog rescue group than participate in Safeway’s campaign to raise money for the cause-of-the-month? Wait, don’t answer that.
I think what it all comes down to is a trust thing. I am far more likely to kick money in when there’s no middleman. I don’t donate when the volunteer firemen call my house, but I toss money into the boots held out by firemen standing in the middle of the road (that’s a rural thing).
About a month ago, I told you about Jade, one of the people I “met” online. She’s in Thailand for a year with her husband supporting The SOLD Project, an organization whose mission is “To prevent child prostitution through culturally relevant programs for vulnerable children and to share their stories to empower creative, compassionate people to act.” I read Jade’s blog every day. It’s become part of my routine. Sort of like going to the office every morning and chatting with folks in the coffee room. Except it’s virtual.
I think what Jade (and others like her) is doing is very cool, but that’s not why I read her blog. She’s a fabulous writer, she takes lovely pictures, she’s got a very cute puppy, she tells interesting stories about her daily life/struggles in Thailand, etc. It really is like chatting with a co-worker. Funny, I’ve never thought about it that way. Anyhow… Jade had her blog before she got involved with SOLD and moved to Thailand. It has remained her blog, not her soapbox for SOLD. In fact, she doesn’t even talk about SOLD much. She doesn’t constantly ask for money. Heck, except for a tiny little banner on her blog, she never asks for money.
Every now and then I wonder about SOLD, but I don’t want to be all nosy and say, “Jade, what’s going on with SOLD?” I know she’ll share an update when warranted. Besides, I can just go to the SOLD blog and see for myself.
But then today, something in the upper left-hand margin caught my eye. A tweet. (I am not on Twitter. Jade’s tweets appear in the margin of her blog.) It was that one little sentence you see framed on your left here.
My interest was piqued. I clicked.
There are a variety of different methods you can choose if you want to help. A lump-sum contribution. A monthly donation of varying amounts. Click on the framed image if you want to learn more. SOLD even has a store you can visit if you’re the type who’d rather get something tangible in return for your donation.
I’m like that sometimes. If I don’t trust a person/group completely, if they’re selling t-shirts, magnets, mugs, etc., I’ll buy something. That way I know even if the money isn’t going where they said it would go, I didn’t get ripped off completely.
At the pet expo I went to back in January, the groups asking for money got a bit overwhelming. And I was there in support of American Brittany Rescue who had a booth there seeking donations. They weren’t just seeking donations, though. One of the primary reasons groups go to things like that is the visibility. You’d be surprised how many people have never heard of Brittanys, didn’t realize there are breed-specific rescue groups, etc. As I walked around, I couldn’t help but think, “Gosh, if I gave every group here in need of donations a dollar, I’d be broke.” So I had to give selectively.
I think that’s the secret. Selective giving. Be wary of handouts. You can’t just toss money at everyone who asks. You can’t help every cause no matter how noble. Make sure you know where your money going. Is the group real? Are they doing what they say they’re doing? Is it something you believe in? Are there other ways you can help?
So, tell me. Am I being horribly pessimistic not to trust stores like Petsmart and Safeway? When are you more likely to donate? Are there groups you refuse to help?