And so the charitable begging, guilt trips begin

This is the time of year where anyone with a job, some form of income or just a beating heart is hit up for money, money, money. Give, give, give. And if you don’t you should feel bad, bad, bad. Problem is, I don’t.

The slow-moving images of abused dogs and starving children are cascading across TV screens in gut-wrenching commercials. They’re meant to compel you to donate for the holiday season. The thinking is that people feel charitable so now is a good time for them – us – to make a contribution.

Before you call me Scrooge, that’s not the case at all. I give in my own way. It’s with my time.

You see, the world’s problems can’t be solved with money. If they could, this would be a perfect world, wouldn’t it? Let the companies with millions and billions in their bank accounts pass around the cash. When I contribute, it’s through volunteer hours.

I’m unwilling to throw money at causes given what I know about charitable organizations. When CEOs and presidents of these so-called “non-profits” make upwards of a half-million dollars, I sense there’s a bit of profit there. It’s true, a lot of smaller, regional organizations do operate on a shoestring budget and don’t take advantage of the goodwill that donors extend. But I have my guard up.

Everyone has their struggles. If I had the nerve to blatantly ask for handouts, I would. While I’m not downplaying any of the hard work that these causes might be championing, I have my limits. I will give because I want to give. And if you feel that my money is worth more than my time, that also raises a red flag for me. If you don’t want me, then I’m not going to consider giving my money.

Let me see firsthand how my efforts are helping. Let me get in the trenches and make a difference. And I do. I have no problem sitting on the floor at an animal shelter and playing with the dogs or helping walk them. Just as I have no problem going to an elementary school every Tuesday afternoon and reading with kids who are below their grade level.

Both of these I do quietly and without any guilt or pressure to give more. Those on the receiving end are more than happy to express their gratitude for my efforts. I can make a difference without going broke.

I help where and when I want to. Bombarding me and trying to make me feel bad this holiday season will make me tune out and ignore your message altogether. If that’s your marketing strategy, well, bah humbug to you.

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