Last week I wrote about how people expect me to hand over merchandise because they, well, deserve it for some reason. And this is the time of year where you give and receive. It makes us feel good, right? But are you having “giving” overload? Are you finding that people exploit the holiday season just to tug at your heartstrings?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy helping as much as I can. There is a problem when I am guilted into making a donation. Sure, if I am put on the spot I will give the obligatory dollar to help out, but when I am asked repeatedly at the mall entrance, inside the mall, inside the stores at the mall, the restaurant at the food court, leaving the mall – it’s just too frickin’ much.
It is not just a coincidence that these can-jingling, sticker-sticking people pop up this time of year. I get the timing of the whole thing and it actually repulses me.
I understand charity is important and there are many people in need this time of year. The problem is they are in need all year round so keep a presence every day of the year instead of a holiday blitz to catch shoppers loaded up with cash at the malls and stores around town.
A charity I respect is one that keeps public awareness and a name for itself in the community 365 days a year. If it pops up only at Christmastime, I don’t look at it any differently than a scam artist. That might be harsh to group all charities the same way, but if the organization is so important that they flood the sidewalks and hallways during the holidays, I expect to see them around in the spring, during summer and throughout fall.
Many charities also need to realize that PR goes a long way. If you push me too hard and not take no for an answer this year, your organization will stick out in my mind more than one using a gentle approach.
The worst thing an organization can do is get into aggressive begging this time of year because the reputation of a charity is on the line. Pouncing on people just because it is a certain time of year is slimy fundraising in my books.