It happens all the time. By mail. Over the phone. Via email. At your front door. As you enter your grocery store. When you are checking out of your favorite retail haunt.
“Would you like to donate to…..(fill in the blank)”
In the past few weeks I have been solicited by Habitat for Humanity, the March of Dimes, the American Kidney Fund, the Jimmy Fund, the American Diabetes Association (twice), Easter Seals, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (twice), the National Foundation for Cancer Research, St. Jude’s, the Make A Wish Foundation, the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Juvenile Diabetes Reseach Foundation International, a local children’s hospital, the United States Olympic Committee, the Alzheimers Association, and Susan G. Komen.
Mind you, this doesn’t include any of the local High schools and Churches that have knocked on my door.
Now, my challenge is that I would love to donate to EVERYONE, but, clearly, since I am not a multi-millionaire, that is not possible.
My weak spots are children’s charities, and ANYTHING supporting a friend or friend’s child who is fighting ANYTHING. A college friend has a team walking to fight diabetes this upcoming weekend. His 5 year old son was diagnosed with this terrible disease 4 years ago. This is from their JDRF page:
April 16, 2008 will mark the four year anniversary since he was diagnosed with this insidious disease. In that time C has proven again and again what a strong and brave little boy he really is. He never complains about getting his blood sugar checked, something we estimate that we have now done over 14,600 times since he was diagnosed. Imagine having to prick your finger to get a drop of blood 10 times a day, even in the middle of the night. He never complains about having his insulin pump set changed every 2 days. C now uses an insulin pump to regulate his blood sugars. He is tethered to it 24 hours a day, every day.
I donated immediately.
I am reminded how lucky I am to (so far) have healthy children. I will support this cause all day- every day.
Today, while buying a pair of sandals for Delaney, I was asked if I would like to add a dollar to my bill for the March of Dimes. I said yes. I can do a dollar. But I was curious: just how many people say ‘yes’, and how many say ‘no thank you’? I figured, since they were specifically asking for a dollar rather than an open-ended, “Would you like to donate?” they would have more takers. Apparently not. The woman behind the counter said they have not raised nearly as much as they had hoped. And the ‘yeses’ and ‘nos’ come in groups. If the first person in line says ok, the rest are more likely to do the same…the opposite is true as well.
Hmmmm, adult peer pressure. Interesting. And the guilt factor. Tough. I know I always feel bad when I say no, and I feel bad when I get the address labels in the mail and don’t automatically send a check. It is hard. I wish I could, but somehow I’ve ended up on a bizillion (yes, bizillion) charity lists… Rarely a day goes by that I don’t receive at least one solicitation in the mail.
All I can do is follow my heart. My heart says, “help the kids”, and “support the family and friends you love”.
Someday, when I’m a bizillionaire, I’ll help everyone.